Plaintiff in error sued for amounts of reparation awarded by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Defendants in error demurred to the complaint, asserting that it failed to state a cause of action, and that the Commission's order was void for want of jurisdiction because it dealt solely with charges for transportation from a point in Canada to a point in the United States. The district court sustained the demurrer and gave judgment of dismissal. The case was taken to the Circuit Court of Appeals; and, after hearing the parties, that court certified certain questions concerning which it desires instructions for the proper decision of the cause. § 239, Judicial Code. U.S.C. Tit. 28, § 346.
The certificate shows that, June 28, 1923, plaintiff in error complained to the Interstate Commerce Commission against defendants in error and others that during the preceding two years it shipped numerous carloads of newsprint
The reports of the Commission set out in the certificate (95 I.C.C. 66; 102 I.C.C. 365) show that Thorold is a place in Ontario on the Canadian National Railways 30 miles from Black Rock, New York, where connection is made with the New York Central, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and other lines, and 12 miles from Suspension Bridge, New York, where connection is made with the New York Central, Lehigh Valley and other lines, and that Black Rock is 414 miles and Suspension Bridge is 447 miles from New York City. The rates complained of applied over several railroads from each of these junctions. No rates were made or published for the transportation from the international boundary to New York City. The Commission did not determine what would be just and reasonable rates for this transportation.
The questions certified follow.
"1. Where a railroad of the United States and a railroad of the Dominion of Canada unite in the publication
"2. Where a shipper or consignee of freight shipped to it at a destination in the United States from such point in the Dominion of Canada has paid at destination to the United States railroad the full published joint through freight rate thereon, has the Interstate Commerce Commission, upon a finding by it that such joint through rate was unreasonable and unjust, but in the absence of a finding that the charges for the transportation in so far as it took place within the United States were unjust and unreasonable, jurisdiction to make an order for the payment of damages to such shipper or consignee in the amount that the entire transportation charges on the basis of the joint through freight rate exceeded the charges which would have been assessed on the basis of the joint through freight rate found by the Commission to have been reasonable?
"3. When the Interstate Commerce Commission has made such an order against the United States carrier alone for the payment of damages arising from its finding of the unreasonableness of such published joint through rate, can a suit thereon, under section 16 of the Interstate Commerce Act, be maintained solely against the United States carrier?
"4. Did the District Court err in sustaining the demurrer to the said petition?"
As to question 1. — The Interstate Commerce Act applies to the lines that carried, and to the transportation of, the paper from the international boundary to New
As to question 2. — The Commission did not specifically find whether the portions of the charges fairly attributable to transportation within the United States were excessive to the extent that the through rates were found unreasonable. While the findings seem to indicate that the Commission held the entire excess should be charged against the American lines, we shall consider the question on the basis therein stated. The Canadian lines furnishing the transportation from Thorold to the international boundary were not before the Commission
As to question 3. — The statement of the case and what has been said as to questions 1 and 2 make it plain that this question should be answered in the affirmative.
As to question 4. — Section 239 authorizes the Circuit Court of Appeals to certify to this court "any questions or propositions of law concerning which instructions are desired for the proper decision of the cause." It is well-settled that this statute does not authorize the lower court to make, or require this court to accept, a transfer of the case. The inquiry calls for decision of the whole case. It is not specific or confined to any distinct question or proposition of law, and therefore need not be answered. The Folmina, 212 U.S. 354, 363; United States v. Bailey, 9 Pet. 267, 273-274; United States v. Mayer, 235 U.S. 55, 66, and cases cited.
Question 1 is answered "Yes, for the ascertainment of damages."
Question 2 is answered "Yes."
Question 3 is answered "Yes."
Question 4 is not answered.