We have been asked, in this case, to determine whether the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to set aside a reparation order of the Federal Maritime Commission which was before it upon the consolidated appeals of the shipper and the carrier, the shipper asking that the award be increased and the carrier asking that it be set aside. In addition, we have been asked to determine whether the Court of Appeals applied the proper standard of review when it set aside the reparation award. We answer the first question in the affirmative and the second in the negative. Accordingly, we reverse.
Flota Mercante Grancolombiana, S. A. (Flota) is a common carrier engaged in carrying bananas from South America to the United States. In July 1955, it entered into an exclusive two-year carrying contract with Panama Ecuador, a banana shipper, and gave Panama Ecuador an option to renew the contract for an additional three years, subject to its meeting the rate offered by any other shipper. This exclusive contract was executed after the Federal Maritime Board, in June 1953, had ruled that Flota's competitor, Grace Line, was a common carrier of bananas and had violated the Shipping Act, 1916, §§ 14 Fourth
The Court of Appeals held that it had jurisdiction to consider these appeals. It affirmed the Board's finding that Flota had violated the Shipping Act but remanded to the Board the issue of reparations so that it could "consider whether, under all the circumstances, it is inequitable to force Flota to pay reparations . . . ."
The first question we have is whether the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction of the appeals filed by Consolo and Flota.
The Court has previously held that an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission denying a shipper's reparation claim is subject to direct review at the instance of the shipper, United States v. Interstate Commerce
As for Flota's appeal, much of what we have said in Interstate Commerce Comm'n v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., decided today, is pertinent to our consideration here. In that case, where direct review had not been sought by the shipper, we held that the carrier may have review of a reparation order of the Interstate Commerce Commission only in connection with the shipper's enforcement action under § 16 (2) of the Interstate Commerce Act. Section 30 of the Shipping Act, 39 Stat. 737, as amended, provides for a similar action by the shipper to enforce a reparation award by the Maritime Commission and extends certain procedural advantages to the shipper generally comparable to those provided by § 16 (2) of the Interstate Commerce Act. He has a wide scope of venue; he is not liable for costs unless they accrue on his own appeal; he is allowed reasonable attorney fees if he ultimately prevails; he is the beneficiary of broad service of process and joinder provisions; and the findings and order of the Commission are given prima facie effect in the enforcement action. These advantages were given to the shipper because he was considered generally to be the weaker party in the controversy and he serves an important
Here, however, the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals has been invoked by the shipper, who seeks to increase the amount of his damages. In these circumstances, we find nothing in the Shipping Act or the Administrative Orders Review Act that would prevent the Court of Appeals from also considering Flota's request, either as a consolidated appeal pursuant to § 2 of the Administrative Orders Review Act or as an intervenor's cross-claim, to have the reparation order set aside or reduced, a result which will not, in our view, substantially impair the procedural advantages intended for a shipper under § 30.
Concerning venue, the shipper will still be able to select the forum. Although the venue provisions governing an appeal are somewhat different from those governing an enforcement suit, the shipper still has relatively wide opportunities to find a convenient forum. Section 3 of the Administrative Orders Review Act (64 Stat. 1130, 5 U. S. C. § 1033 (1964 ed.)) enables the petitioner to bring suit in the judicial circuit where he resides, where his principal office is located or in the District of Columbia. By requiring that the carrier's review proceeding be brought in the court selected by the shipper for his appeal, all the issues in the controversy will be tried in a relatively convenient forum for the shipper.
The minimal disadvantages resulting to the shipper from permitting the carrier to attack the reparation order are more than offset by the desirability of a prompt and efficient determination of the validity of the Commission's order. Many of the arguments a carrier might make in defense against a shipper's suit to increase the award could also be advanced to show that the award should be reduced or set aside entirely. And, once the carrier intervenes in the shipper's appeal, all the parties interested in the complete resolution of the validity of
With the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals properly invoked by the shipper, there is, therefore, every reason to permit the carrier not only to litigate the amount of the reparation order but also to insist upon a determination of the validity of the Commission's order, both with respect to the carrier's violation of the Act
In short, although a shipper may lose some of the procedural advantages given him by § 30 if he is forced to defend the validity of the Commission's order in conjunction with his appeal, these losses generally will not be substantial. To the extent that he is disadvantaged, this is the result of a conscious choice he has made. And from the point of view of the enforcement of the Shipping Act, it is certainly less important that the shipper be assisted in his efforts to obtain a greater award than it is to assist him in his efforts to enforce an existing award. The Court of Appeals was correct in sustaining its own jurisdiction to hear Flota's appeal.
We turn, then, to the standard of review used by the Court of Appeals when it reversed the Commission's reparation order.
The Court of Appeals rejected the Commission's finding that it would not be inequitable to award Consolo reparations because it felt this finding "ignores . . . the substantial weight of the evidence . . . ." 119 U. S. App. D. C. 345, 347, 342 F.2d 924, 926. It then concluded that the Commission abused its discretion in ordering reparations because "of the substantial evidence showing that [the reparations] would be inequitable." Id., at 352, 342 F. 2d, at 931. In effect, the standard of review applied and articulated by the Court of Appeals in this case was that if "substantial evidence" or "the substantial evidence" supports a conclusion contrary to that reached by the Commission, then the Commission
Section 10 (e) of the Administrative Procedure Act (60 Stat. 243, 5 U. S. C. § 1009 (e) (1964 ed.)) gives a reviewing court authority to "set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be (1) arbitrary, capricious, [or] an abuse of discretion . . . [or] (5) unsupported by substantial evidence . . . ." Cf. United States v. Interstate Commerce Comm'n, 91 U. S. App D. C. 178, 183-184, 198 F.2d 958, 963-964, cert. denied, 344 U.S. 893. We have defined "substantial evidence"
Congress was very deliberate in adopting this standard of review.
Ordinarily we would be inclined to remand to the Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the standard of review established by the Administrative Procedure Act. Universal Camera Corp. v. Labor Board, 340 U.S. 474; Labor Board v. Walton Mfg. Co., 369 U.S. 404. However, in view of the fact that this controversy already dates back more than eight years, that it has been before the Court of Appeals twice and that the relevant standard is not hard to apply in this instance, we think this controversy had better terminate now. See O'Leary v. Brown-Pacific-Maxon, Inc., 340 U.S. 504.
Section 22 of the Shipping Act, 1916, provides that "The Board . . . may direct the payment . . . of full reparation to the complainant for the injury caused by such violation." 46 U. S. C. § 821 (1964 ed.). (Emphasis added.) This contemplates that the Commission shall have a certain amount of discretion,
The Maritime Board determined, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that Flota had been guilty of "unfairly" or "unjustly" discriminating against Consolo and of giving an "undue unreasonable preference" to Panama Ecuador in violation of § 14 Fourth and § 16 First
Prior to Flota's rejection of Consolo's request for a fair portion of the shipping space, the Federal Maritime Board had decided only two cases relevant to this issue: Consolo v. Grace Line, supra, and Banana Distributors, Inc. v. Grace Line, supra. Both cases held invalid exclusive dealing contracts similar to the one in question here. The Court of Appeals would minimize these two cases as precedents because no order was issued in the first Grace Line decision and the second Grace Line decision was ultimately reversed and remanded by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Nevertheless, at the time Flota entered into the 1957 exclusive contract with Panama Ecuador and at the time it rejected Consolo's request for a fair share of the shipping space, these decisions were authoritative pronouncements by the agency primarily responsible for administering and interpreting the Shipping Act. And, although the second Grace Line decision was ultimately reversed and remanded, upon reconsideration the Board still found the exclusive contract there in question to be illegal and that
As further evidence of good faith, the Court of Appeals was of the opinion that Flota could reasonably have believed its situation was different from that presented to the Board in the Grace Line cases because of physical differences between its vessels and those owned by Grace Line. However, in its first decision affirming the Board's finding of a violation the Court of Appeals had affirmed that the record "adequately supported" the Board's finding that "the differences between Flota's vessels and Grace's vessels are not impressive." 112 U. S. App. D. C. 302, 307, 302 F.2d 887, 892. We think the Court's first judgment was the correct one. The record is adequate to establish that Flota took a deliberate, and we think substantial, risk when it gambled that the previous contrary precedent could be distinguished. We agree with the Commission that there is nothing inhering in this situation that would make it inequitable to require Flota to pay reparations.
Nor do we feel the record reveals that the reparation award is inequitable because Flota had asked for declaratory relief or because that request was pending before the Board for almost two years. In the first place, Flota did not request declaratory relief until after it had entered into the offending exclusive-dealing contract with Panama Ecuador and until it became clear that Consolo was going to sue anyway. Under these circumstances, the Commission was justifiably skeptical about Flota's motives in bringing suit. Further, although Flota's suit was pending for about two years, the record indicates that much of the delay involved in this case was at the request or approval of Flota. At any rate, it has never
Similarly, we do not believe that Flota acquired any "equities" by being caught between the conflicting demands of Consolo and Panama Ecuador. Not only was this a dilemma of Flota's own making, but in 1958 Flota rejected an opportunity to escape it. At that time Panama Ecuador announced that it was going to cancel the contract unless Flota reduced its rates. Although believing itself under no legal obligation to reduce rates, Flota nevertheless did so in order to perpetuate the illegal exclusive-dealing contract with Panama Ecuador. Finally, there was a provision in Flota's contract with Panama Ecuador that absolved Flota from liability for refusing to comply with the contract if it was illegal. Although absolution of liability depended upon the contract being declared, in fact, illegal, in light of the previous Grace Line decisions we think this would have been the more reasonable course of action.
Finally we reject the argument that Flota did not benefit from its policy of excluding Consolo and that Consolo lost "only" expected profits. There is evidence in the record that Flota considered its exclusive-dealing contract with Panama Ecuador more profitable than would have been a multiple contract with several shippers.
Without further belaboring this issue, suffice it to say that there is substantial evidence in the record considered as a whole for the Commission to conclude that, "Flota initiated and pursued the unlawful act without good cause and without a satisfactory showing of good faith, and we have been unable, except as noted, to find any equity in its contentions whether viewed separately or together." This being so, it was clear error on the part of the Court of Appeals to reverse the Commission's award of reparations.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
We do not read the opinion below as asserting that the Court of Appeals, in a direct review proceeding, may conduct a de novo review of the equities of a reparation award. We find nothing in the Shipping Act, the Hobbs Act, or the Administrative Procedure Act that would authorize a de novo review in these circumstances, and in the absence of specific statutory authorization, a de novo review is generally not to be presumed. 4 Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 29.08 (1958). See United States v. Carlo Bianchi & Co., Inc., 373 U.S. 709, 715; Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. O'Leary, 288 F.2d 542, 543-544.