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SNEATH vs. SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY (COAST DIVISION).
At a regular meeting of the Board, held on May 15, 1889, the case of R. G. Sneath vs. Southern Pacific Company (Coast Division) came on for hearing, R. G. Sneath appearing in person and H. V. Morehouse for defendant. Case was partly tried.
The complaint, summons, return of service of summons, answer, demurrer to answer, and reply of Sneath to answer, defendant's argument, brief of Coast Division, defendant's points and authorities, plaintiff's demurrer to defendant's brief, plaintiff's subpoena, brief and argument of plaintiff, argument of defendant, comparative statements of defendants, are as follows:
San Francisco, April 19, 1889. To the Honorable the Railroad Commissioners for California:
GENTLEMEN: I beg to call your attention to the charges for transportation of freight, by the Southern Pacific Railroad, to San Bruno.
During the last twelve months to April 1, 1889, I have received over said road from various points about two hundred and sixty-four carloads of freight, of ten tons each, and considering the grades and location, I believe the discrimination against me is unjust.
About two thirds of this freight comes from San José, or in that direction, and consists of hay and grain. The road south of San Bruno is nearly a level grade, and north, or between San Bruno and this city-fourteen miles-is a very heavy grade, and an extra locomotive is often in use, to carry the usual train north from that point. In the comparative rates you will find appended hereto, you will find that I am charged from all points south the same rates as are charged to San Francisco, notwithstanding the fact that it is a very great relief to the railroad company to be able to drop off cars, and lighten their load at my station.
The lowest rate, you will observe, is 4 cents per mile, and the highest is 14.28—the latter being prohibitory-as it can be done for less by wagons.
The rate from San Francisco to San Bruno—7.14 per mile—is almost prohibitory as compared with teams, and prevents me quite frequently from purchasing in this market.
I will therefore ask at your hand, that a rate be established by your Commission by which San Bruno Station will have a concession of 50 cents per ton on all freight from points south, under the rate charged to San Francisco, and that the rate from San Francisco to San Bruno shall not exceed 5 cents per mile, or 70 cents per ton, for full carload lots. Yours respectfully,
R. G. SNEATH.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this twenty-third day of April, A. D. 1889.
R. D. McELROY,
Comparative rates of freight of the Southern Pacific Railroad, from San José, as between San Francisco and San Bruno, as terminals:
RETURN OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS.
Before the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of California.
Division), the said defendant:
Given under my hand and seal of the Railroad Commissioners of the State of California, this twenty-tifth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1889.
V. W. GASKILL, (SEAL.]
Secretary Board of Railroad Commissioners.
City and County of San Francisco. }
Before the State Board of Railroad Commissioners.
Now comes the Southern Pacific Company, and answering the petition filed herein,
That the rates on hay from San José and intermediate stations to San Francisco are necessarily low, and were established to meet the competition of schooners plying on the Bay of San Francisco, and the competition of the South Pacitic Coast Railway, which road was an active competitor for the carriage of all freight from San José and vicinity to San Francisco at the time said rates were fixed.
That in fixing the rates to San Francisco, defendant was compelled to recognize the fact that San Francisco is the principal and a competing market for the products of the entire State, and therefore sought to place in this market, at the lowest possible rates, the products of the country tributary to its line, thus stimulating production at a profit to the producer, upon whose prosperity depend the earnings of its line of road.
That an additional reason for the establishment of a proportionately lower rate to San Francisco than to San Bruno and other way stations, is the fact that there is a greater volume of traffic to and from San Francisco, and therefore, as a rule, defendant is enabled to secure return loads for its cars from San Francisco to San José or intermediate stations, when there will be no return loads from intermediate stations.
IV. Defendant admits that an extra engine is often required to assist trains over the grades north of San Bruno, and avers that the dropping off of a limited number of cars at San
Bruno from any one train would not enable it to dispense with the services of a helping engine.
V. Defendant avers that the cost of switching cars into and out of the train at San Bruno, or any other station, is a material matter for consideration, and further avers that, after cars used in and about the business mentioned in plaintiff's complaint have been unloaded at San Bruno, they usually have to be hauled empty to other stations, and that, considering the expense and the delay attending the hauling of empty cars, this constitutes more than an equivalent for the additional haul to San Francisco.
VI. Defendant avers that cars used for the shorter hauls mentioned in the petition are practically in service as long as in the movement from San José to San Francisco, as defendant is deprived of their use from the San Francisco station.
VII. Defendant avers that the rate of $1 per ton for carload freights from San Francisco to San Bruno cannot be reduced and leave defendant any margin of profit for the service; and avers that the rate complained of is not a prohibitory one; and defendant, on information and belief, avers that plaintiff has a large number of teams constantly employed in hauling the products of his dairy at San Bruno to the San Francisco market, and that they usually go back empty. That by means of said teams, plaintiff could do his hauling, and would do it if the service by rail were not cheaper.
VIII. Defendant avers that its rates from the vicinity of San José to San Bruno are reasonable and just, and are maintained and business is done under them while there is active competition by water between said points.
IX. Defendant avers that a reduction of 50 cents per ton on all carload freights from San José to San Bruno would make the rate on hay (the distance being thirty-six miles) $1 per ton, or 277. cents per ton per mile; a lower rate than is charged for the longer haul to San Francisco, to wit: 3 cents per ton per mile; and avers that such a reduction would be arbitrary and a reversal of the principles ordinarily governing freight rates.
X. Further answering the petition, defendant avers that it never has intended to and never has, in fact, discriminated against the plaintiff, as charged in the petition, or in any other manner whatever.
XI. Defendant avers that its rate on hay, in carload lots, from Mayfield to San Francisco, a distance of thirty-five miles, is $1 46 per ton; that its rate on hay, carload lots, from Mountain View to San Francisco, a distance of thirty-nine miles, is $1 50 per ton; and that the rate from San José to San Bruno, a distance of thirty-six miles, is $1 50 per ton. Defendant further avers that shipments of hay from Mayfield and Mountain View are very large, and that the business done between these points and San Francisco is in direct competition with schooners, and yet San Bruno Station and the residents thereabout, including the plaintiff, enjoy substantially the same rate for the same distance.
XII. Defendant avers that the comparative rates set out in the exhibit attached to the petition, from various points to San Bruno, are not correct. It avers that on the contrary the highest rate between any of the points named and San Bruno is 11 N cents per ton per mile, and avers that where the distance from station to station on any line of railroad is very short, it is impossible for such railroad to compete with teams in the transportation of freight over such short distance, as when the freight is once loaded on teams for hauling to the initial station the haul can usually be continued to the next station, if the distance is short, at less cost than the shipment can be made by rail.
And further answering plaintiff's petition, defendant avers that the charges complained of by plaintiff, and all of the charges, afford but a reasonable and just compensation for the service, and that it has not in this respect or in any other been guilty of any unjust discrimination; and hence it prays that the said petition be dismissed.
H. S. BROWN, Counsel for Defendant.
City and County of San Francisco. } ss. A. C. Bassett, being duly sworn, deposes and says, that he is the Superintendent of the Southern Pacific Company, defendant above named; that he has read the foregoing answer, and knows the contents thereof, and that the same is true of his own knowledge, except as to the matters which are therein stated on his information or belief, and as to such matters that he believes it to be true.
A. C. BASSETT. Subscribed and sworn to before me, this tenth day of May, 1889. [SEAL.]
E. B. RYAN,
DEMURRER TO ANSWER.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 14, 1889. To the Board of Railroad Commissioners:
GENTLEMEN: Your notice of the eleventh instant, that you desire my presence on the fifteenth instant, did not reach me until yesterday, the thirteenth, and being engaged in the Superior Court, Department 3, in a matter of large importance, I could not then even answer your notice.
I desire to demur to the answer of the defendant, and supplement my complaint somewhat, and will require a few days to do so; and I desire to be present personally, but cannot do so until the matter referred to in Court is determined, as I am a constant witness in the suit.
I will inform you immediately when released from the Court service, so that there will be as little delay as possible in the matter before your Board. Yours respectfully,
R. G. SNEATH.
REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S ANSWER.
Before the State Board of Railroad Commissioners.
I. In reply to Section 3 of the defendant's answer, as follows: "As a rule defendant is enabled to secure return loads for its cars from San Francisco to San José, or intermediate stations,” plaintiff offers the correspondence of A. C. Bassett, and Messrs. Geil & Morehouse, attorneys, in relation to your order of November 22, 1887, reducing freight rates at Tennants, Gilroy, Millers, Sargents, Pajaro, and Watsonville, 10 per cent, and wherein they claim that the defendant" hauls empty cars one way, and has the expense of running its cars both ways, while it has paying freight but one way," and which proves conclusively the claim of the plaintiff, that on account of the heavy grade (two hundred and ninety-three feet above tide) between San Bruno and San Francisco, and the fact that a large portion of the cars went empty from the city, it would be a great relief to the defendant to drop off loaded cars, coming north, at San Bruno, and for which about 50 cents per ton should be allowed on all freight coming from the south.
"Referring to defendant's answer, Section 10: “Further answering the petition, the defendant avers that it never has intended to, and never has in fact discriminated against the plaintiff, as charged in the petition, or in any other manner whatever."
Plaintiff, in proof of the contrary, offers Section 489, Deering's Civil Code, California Statutes, which provides the discrimination allowed under our laws:
"All railroad corporations must fix and publish their rates of charges for freightage and fares from one depot to another on their various lines of road in this State, graduated as follows: "First-Une rate of charges per mile for a distance of one hundred miles or over.
"Second-One rate for a distance of seventy-five and less than one hundred miles, charging not exceeding 10 per cent per mile more than the first rate.
*Third-One rate for a distance of fifty and less than seventy-five miles, charging not exceeding 15 per cent per mile more than the first rate.
"Fourth-One rate for a distance of twenty-five and less than fifty miles, charging not exceeding 20 per cent per mile more than the first rate.
"Fifth-One rate for a distance of not exceeding twenty-five miles, charging not exceeding 25 per cent per mile more than the first rate.
“But in no case, nor in any class of charges hereinbefore named, shall any railroad corporation charge or receive more than 10 cents per mile for each passenger, nor 15 cents per mile for each ton of freight transported on its road. For every transgression of these limitations the corporation is liable to the party suffering thereby treble the entire amount of fare or freightage so charged to such party. In no case is the corporation required to receive less than 25 cents for any one lot of freight for any distance.
III. The difference as fixed by the law between long and short haul rates is arbitrary after the first rate of one hundred miles or over has been fixed, and to illustrate this, plaintiff offers the rates now established for the first one hundred miles or over from San Francisco, and to the following stations, on defendant's line of road south, on hay and grain:
Or an average for the four stations of $25 80 per car of ten tons for hay, and $29 40 for grain. Fixing the lowest charge for one hundred miles for hay. In this manner the legal charges on the same article for less distances can be readily ascertained, as follows, in carload lots of ten tons each, at $0 25.80 per car per mile:
Tres Pinos to San Bruno, 87 miles, at 25.8 cents per mile..
It will be noticed that there is a marked discrimination against San Bruno as between the legal rates and those charged at present of from 10 to 300 per cent—that from San Mateo being nearly four times as much as it should be, and from San Francisco to San Bruno more than twice the legal rate.
IV. Plaintiff further avers that the defendant, notwithstanding its line of road extends immediately along the waterfront of San Francisco for a long distance, at Mission Bay, where the ship and rail are together, has persistently refused, and now refuses, to allow hay to be transferred directly from vessels to its cars, thereby discriminating against the plaintiff and prohibiting commerce in that direction.
V. Referring to defendant's answer in Section 7, reading as follows: "Defendant avers that the rate of $1 per ton for carload lots from San Francisco to San Bruno cannot be reduced and leave defendant any margin of profit for the service; and avers that the rate complained of is not a prohibited one; and defendant on information and belief avers that plaintiff has a large number of teams constantly employed in hauling the products of his dairy at San Bruno to the San Francisco market, and that they usually go back empty; that by means of said teams plaintiff could do his hauling, and would do it if the service by rail were not cheaper." " Plaintiff admits that he has four four