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Opinion of the Court.
Commercial Milling Co., 218 U. S. 406; West. Un. Tel Co. v. Crovo, 220 U. S. 364.
The statute in controversy in no way attempts to regulate interstate commerce. West. Un. Tel. Co. v. Pendleton, 122 U. S. 347, is not applicable and West. Un. Tel. Co. v. Commercial Milling Co., 218 U. S. 406, is.
The statute does not deny to telegraph companies the equal protection of the laws.
The statute does not conflict with the exclusive power of the Congress in the District of Columbia.
MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the
This is an action of tort brought by the party to whom a telegraphic message was addressed. The message was delivered to the Company in South Carolina, addressed to the plaintiff in Washington, D. C., and read "Come at once. Your sister died this morning.' It was forwarded without delay to Washington; but there, through negligence as the jury found, was not delivered. The declaration alleges that the failure caused the plaintiff to miss attending her sister's funeral in South Carolina, and subjected the plaintiff to mental anguish, which of itself is made a cause of action by a statute of South Carolina. Civil Code, 1902, § 2223. The defendants in error state that the action was brought under this section. There was a trial at which, by the instructions to the jury, a recovery was allowed under the act for the negligence in Washington irrespective of the law prevailing here. The jury found a verdict for $750, which was sustained by the Supreme Court of the State. 92 So. Car. 354. The plaintiff in error saved its rights under the Constitution of the United States (so plainly that it is not necessary to discuss the matter) and brought the case here.
Whatever variations of opinion and practice there may
Opinion of the Court.
have been, it is established as the law of this court that when a person recovers in one jurisdiction for a tort committed in another he does so on the ground of an obligation incurred at the place of the tort that accompanies the person of the defendant elsewhere, and that is not only the ground but the measure of the maximum recovery. Slater v. Mexican National R. R. Co., 194 U. S. 120, 126. Cuba R. R. Co. v. Crosby, 222 U. S. 473, 478, 480. (A limitation of liability may stand on different grounds. The Titanic, 233 U. S. 718.) The injustice of imposing a greater liability than that created by the law governing the conduct of the parties at the time of the act or omission complained of is obvious; and when a State attempts in this manner to affect conduct outside its jurisdiction or the consequences of such conduct, and to infringe upon the power of the United States, it must fail. The principle would be illustrated by supposing a direct clash between the state and Federal statutes, but it is the same whenever the State undertakes to go beyond its juridiction into territory where the United States has exclusive control. Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Chiles, 214 U. S. 274; see also Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Commercial Milling Co., 218 U. S. 406, 416.
What we have said is enough to dispose of the case. But the act also is objectionable in its aspect of an attempt to regulate commerce among the States. That is, as construed, it attempts to determine the conduct required of the telegraph company in transmitting a message from one State to another or to this District by determining the consequences of not pursuing such conduct, and in that way encounters Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Pendleton, 122 U. S. 347, a decision in no way qualified by Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Commercial Milling Co., 218 U. S. 406.
234 U. S.
THE PIPE LINE CASES.1
APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES COMMERCE COURT. Nos. 481, 482, 483, 506, 507, 508. Argued October 15, 16, 1913.-Decided June 22, 1914.
The provision in the Hepburn Act, amending the Act to Regulate Commerce by making persons or corporations engaged in transporting oil from one State to another by pipe lines carriers within the provisions of the act, applies to the combination of pipe lines owned and controlled by the Standard Oil Company and to the constituent corporations united in a single line, although the only oil transported is that which has been purchased by the Standard Oil Company or by such constituent corporations prior to the transportation thereof. As applied to existing corporations, the pipe line provision of the Hepburn Act does not compel persons engaged in interstate transportation of oil to continue in operation, but it does require them not to continue to transport oil for others or purchased by themselves except as common carriers.
The fact that the article transported between interstate points has been purchased by the carrier, is not conclusive against the transportation being interstate commerce; and in this case, held that interstate transportation of oil purchased from the producers by the owner of the pipe is interstate commerce and under the control of Congress.
While the control of Congress over commerce among the States cannot be made a means of exercising powers not committed to it by the Constitution, it may require those who are common carriers in substance to become so in form.
The provision in the Hepburn Act requiring persons or corporations engaged in interstate transportation of oil by pipe lines to become common carriers and subject to the provisions of the Act to Regulate Commerce is not unconstitutional, either as to future pipe lines or as to the owners of existing pipe lines, as depriving them of their property without due process of law.
1 Docket title of these cases: No. 481. United States v. Ohio Oil Company. No. 482. United States v. Standard Oil Company. No. 483. United States v. Standard Oil Company of Louisiana. No. 506. United States v. Prairie Oil & Gas Company. No. 507. United States v. Uncle Sam Oil Company. No. 508. United States v. Benson, doing business under the Partnership Name of Tide Water Pipe Company, Limited.
234 U. S. Argument for Interstate Commerce Commission.
Requiring a person engaged in interstate transportation of oil by pipe lines to become a common carrier does not involve a taking of private property, and the provision in the Hepburn Act to that effect is not unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment.
A corporation engaged in refining oil may draw oil from its own wells through a pipe line across a state line to its own refinery for its own use without being a common carrier under the pipe line provisions of the Hepburn Act, the transportation being merely incidental to the use of the oil at the end.
204 Fed. Rep. 798, reversed in part and affirmed in part.
THE facts, which involve the constitutionality, construction and application of the provisions in the Hepburn Act relating to interstate transportation of oil by pipe lines, are stated in the opinion.
The Solicitor General for the United States and Mr. Charles W. Needham for the Interstate Commerce Commission:
The pipe line amendment applies to these petitioners. Congress intended the act to apply to every interstate oil-carrying pipe line, and to compel every such interstate pipe line to become a common carrier as a condition precedent to engaging in interstate commerce. Whether any particular pipe line had or had not been a common carrier prior to the passage of the act is wholly immaterial.
The debates in Congress may be consulted to ascertain the evils at which the act was aimed, its legislative history, the amendments that were offered and rejected during its passage and the general history of the times. Am. Net. Co. v. Worthington, 141 U. S. 468, 473; Binns v. United States, 194 U. S. 486, 495, 496; Blake v. National Bank, 23 Wall. 307, 319; Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U. S. 457, 465; Jennison v. Kirk, 98 U. S. 453.
Here the debates show that the evil aimed at was the monopolization of the oil business by owners of private pipe lines. Amendments restricting the application of the act to pipe lines engaged in transportation "for hire" or
Argument for Interstate Commerce Commission. 234 U.S.
"for the public" were repeatedly rejected. 40 Cong. Rec. 6361, 6365, 6999-7009, 9254-9256.
The rule of construction followed in the Commodities Case, 213 U. S. 366, is not applicable here. That rule applies only when the statute is ambiguous. Employers' Liability Cases, 207 U. S. 463, 500.
The act is constitutional. It stands the test laid down in Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313, 320; C., B. & Q. Ry. v. Drainage Commissioners, 200 U. S. 561, 592; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 421, namely, that:
The object of the act is one for which the Federal authority may properly be exercised.
The means employed have in fact a real and substantial relation to the object sought. They are reasonable and not arbitrary or beyond the necessities of the case.
The object of the pipe line amendment, to regulate interstate commerce in oil by protecting well owners and independent refiners from duress by pipe line owners is one for which the authority of Congress may properly be exercised. Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U. S. 1; Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U. S. 86, 109; Central Lumber Co. v. South Dakota, 226 U. S. 157; Continental Paper Co. v. Voight, 212 U. S. 227, 271.
The private operation of pipe lines carrying oil in interstate commerce tends to monopoly. Standard Oil Case, 221 U. S. 1, 12, 42, 80-81; Tex. & Pac. Ry. Co. v. Int. Com. Comm., 162 U. S. 197, 210; Report on the Petroleum Transportation, 59 Cong., 1st Sess., House Doc. 812, pp. 29, 37, 62; Report of Int. Com. Comm., 59 Cong., 2d Sess., House Doc. 606, pp. 2, 5, 6, 14.
No other means of transportation can possibly compete with pipe lines. If a well owner cannot ship by pipe line he cannot (practically) ship at all. Without a pipe line the small producer is as truly shut in as was the mine owner in Strickley v. Highland Boy Mining Co., 200 U. S. 597, or the arid land owner in Clark v. Nash, 198 U. S. 361. Ohio.