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Castle v. Hayes Freight Lines, 348 U.S. 61 (1954)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Hayes Freight Lines

Castle v. Hayes Freight Lines, 348 U.S. 61 (1954)
United States Supreme Court

From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
 
Case:   CASTLE V. HAYES FREIGHT LINES

Case #: 348US61


NO. 44.  ARGUED NOVEMBER 17, 1954 - DECIDED DECEMBER 6, 1954 - 2 ILL. 2D
58, 117 N.E.2D 106, AFFIRMED. 


WHEN AN INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIER HOLDS A CERTIFICATE OF CONVENIENCE
AND NECESSITY ISSUED BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION UNDER THE
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER ACT, A STATE MAY NOT SUSPEND THE CARRIER'S RIGHT
TO USE THE STATE'S HIGHWAYS IN ITS INTERSTATE OPERATIONS, AS PUNISHMENT
FOR REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF A STATE LAW REGULATING THE WEIGHT OF LOADS
OF FREIGHT THAT MAY BE CARRIED ON THE STATE'S HIGHWAYS.  PP. 62-65. 

(A)  PUNISHMENT OF THE CARRIER FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE STATE'S ROAD
REGULATIONS DOES NOT JUSTIFY DISRUPTION OF A FEDERALLY AUTHORIZED
ACTIVITY.  P. 64. 

(B)  THE PROVISION OF THE FEDERAL ACT WHICH LEAVES STATES FREE TO
REGULATE THE SIZES AND WEIGHTS OF MOTOR VEHICLES DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE
STATES TO REVOKE OR SUSPEND THE OPERATING RIGHTS OF INTERSTATE MOTOR
CARRIERS FOR VIOLATIONS OF SUCH REGULATIONS.  P. 64. 

(C)  THE STATE'S LACK OF POWER TO SUSPEND A MOTOR CARRIER'S
INTERSTATE OPERATIONS DOES NOT LEAVE THE STATE WITHOUT APPROPRIATE
REMEDIES FOR THE CARRIER'S VIOLATIONS OF STATE LAWS.  PP. 64-65. 

CASTLE, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL. V. HAYES FREIGHT LINES, INC. 

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS. 

MR. JUSTICE BLACK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT. 

THIS CASE RAISES IMPORTANT QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE POWER OF STATES
TO BAR INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIERS FROM USE OF STATE ROADS AS PUNISHMENT
FOR REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF STATE HIGHWAY REGULATIONS.  THE RESPONDENT
HAYES FREIGHT LINES, INC. IS SUCH A CARRIER TRANSPORTING GOODS TO AND
FROM MANY POINTS IN ILLINOIS AND SEVEN OTHER STATES.  (FN1)  THIS
EXTENSIVE INTERSTATE BUSINESS IS DONE UNDER A CERTIFICATE OF
CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY ISSUED BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER ACT.  (FN2)  HAYES ALSO
DOES AN INTRASTATE CARRIER BUSINESS IN ILLINOIS UNDER A CERTIFICATE
ISSUED BY STATE AUTHORITIES.  ILLINOIS HAS A STATUTE WHICH LIMITS THE
WEIGHT OF FREIGHT THAT CAN BE CARRIED IN COMMERCIAL TRUCKS OVER
ILLINOIS HIGHWAYS; THE SAME STATUTE ALSO PROVIDES FOR A BALANCED
DISTRIBUTION OF FREIGHT LOADS IN RELATION TO THE TRUCK'S AXLES.  (FN3)
REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF THESE PROVISIONS BY TRUCKS OF A CARRIER ARE MADE
PUNISHABLE BY TOTAL SUSPENSION OF THE CARRIER'S RIGHT TO USE ILLINOIS
STATE HIGHWAYS FOR PERIODS OF NINETY DAYS AND ONE YEAR.  (FN4)  THIS
ACTION WAS BROUGHT IN A STATE COURT TO RESTRAIN ILLINOIS OFFICIALS FROM
PROSECUTING HAYES AS A REPEATED VIOLATOR.  THE STATE SUPREME COURT HELD
THAT THE PUNISHMENT OF SUSPENSION PROVIDED BY THE STATE STATUTE COULD
NOT BE IMPOSED ON THE INTERSTATE OPERATIONS OF THE RESPONDENT HAYES. 
SUCH A STATE SUSPENSION OF INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION, IT WAS DECIDED,
WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER ACT WHICH IS THE SUPREME
LAW OF THE LAND.  (FN5)  WE GRANTED THE STATE'S PETITION FOR
CERTIORARI.  347 U.S. 1009. 

CONGRESS IN THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT ADOPTED A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR
REGULATING THE CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY MOTOR TRUCK IN INTERSTATE
COMMERCE.  THE FEDERAL PLAN OF CONTROL WAS SO ALL-EMBRACING THAT FORMER
POWER OF STATES OVER INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIERS WAS GREATLY REDUCED.  NO
POWER AT ALL WAS LEFT IN STATES TO DETERMINE WHAT CARRIERS COULD OR
COULD NOT OPERATE IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE.  EXCLUSIVE POWER OF THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAKE THIS DETERMINATION IS SHOWN BY SEC. 306 OF
49 U.S.C. WHICH DESCRIBES THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE INTERSTATE
COMMERCE COMMISSION CAN ISSUE CERTIFICATES OF CONVENIENCE AND
NECESSITY.  AND SEC. 312 OF THE SAME TITLE PROVIDES THAT ALL
CERTIFICATES, PERMITS OR LICENSES ISSUED BY THE COMMISSION "SHALL
REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL SUSPENDED OR TERMINATED AS HEREIN PROVIDED." 
BUT IN ORDER TO PROVIDE STABILITY FOR OPERATING RIGHTS OF CARRIERS,
CONGRESS PLACED WITHIN VERY NARROW LIMITS THE COMMISSION'S POWER TO
SUSPEND OR REVOKE AN OUTSTANDING CERTIFICATE.  NO CERTIFICATE IS TO BE
REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CHANGED UNTIL AFTER A HEARING AND A FINDING THAT
A CARRIER HAS WILLFULLY FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE
MOTOR CARRIER ACT OR WITH REGULATIONS PROPERLY PROMULGATED UNDER IT.
(FN6)  UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD BE ODD IF A STATE COULD TAKE
ACTION AMOUNTING TO A SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF AN INTERSTATE
CARRIER'S COMMISSION-GRANTED RIGHT TO OPERATE.  CF. HILL V. FLORIDA,
325 U.S. 538.  IT CANNOT BE DOUBTED THAT SUSPENSION OF THIS COMMON
CARRIER'S RIGHT TO USE ILLINOIS HIGHWAYS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF A PARTIAL
SUSPENSION OF ITS FEDERALLY GRANTED CERTIFICATE.  THE HIGHWAYS OF
ILLINOIS ARE NOT ONLY USED BY HAYES TO TRANSPORT INTERSTATE GOODS TO
AND FROM THAT STATE BUT ARE ALSO USED AS CONNECTING LINKS TO POINTS IN
OTHER STATES WHICH THE COMMISSION HAS AUTHORIZED HAYES TO SERVE. 
CONSEQUENTLY IF THE NINETY-DAY OR THE ONE-YEAR SUSPENSION SHOULD BECOME
EFFECTIVE, THE CARRIAGE OF INTERSTATE GOODS INTO ILLINOIS AND OTHER
STATES WOULD BE SERIOUSLY DISRUPTED. 

THAT ILLINOIS SEEKS TO PUNISH HAYES FOR VIOLATIONS OF ITS ROAD
REGULATIONS DOES NOT JUSTIFY THIS DISRUPTION OF FEDERALLY AUTHORIZED
ACTIVITIES.  A STATE'S REGULATION OF WEIGHT AND DISTRIBUTION OF LOADS
CARRIED IN INTERSTATE TRUCKS DOES NOT ITSELF CONFLICT WITH THE FEDERAL
ACT.  THE REASON FOR THIS AS POINTED OUT IN MAURER V. HAMILTON, 309
U.S. 598, IS THAT THE FEDERAL ACT HAS A PROVISION DESIGNED TO LEAVE
STATES FREE TO REGULATE THE SIZES AND WEIGHTS OF MOTOR VEHICLES.  BUT
IT WOULD STRETCH THIS STATUTORY PROVISION TOO MUCH TO SAY THAT IT ALSO
ALLOWED STATES TO REVOKE OR SUSPEND THE RIGHT OF INTERSTATE MOTOR
CARRIERS FOR VIOLATION OF STATE HIGHWAY REGULATIONS. 

IT IS URGED THAT WITHOUT POWER TO IMPOSE PUNISHMENT BY SUSPENSION
STATES WILL BE WITHOUT APPROPRIATE REMEDIES TO ENFORCE THEIR LAWS
AGAINST RECALCITRANT MOTOR CARRIERS.  WE ARE NOT PERSUADED, HOWEVER,
THAT THE CONVENTIONAL FORMS OF PUNISHMENT ARE INADEQUATE TO PROTECT
STATES FROM OVERWEIGHTED OR IMPROPERLY LOADED MOTOR TRUCKS.  MOREOVER,
A COMMISSION REGULATION REQUIRES MOTOR CARRIERS TO ABIDE BY VALID STATE
HIGHWAY REGULATIONS.  (FN7)  AND AS PREVIOUSLY POINTED OUT, THE
COMMISSION CAN REVOKE IN WHOLE OR IN PART CERTIFICATES OF MOTOR
CARRIERS WHICH WILLFULLY REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH ANY LAWFUL REGULATION OF
THE COMMISSION.  (FN8)  IF, THEREFORE, MOTOR CARRIERS PERSISTENTLY AND
REPEATEDLY VIOLATE THE LAWS OF A STATE, WE KNOW OF NO REASON WHY THE
COMMISSION MAY NOT PROTECT THE STATE'S INTEREST, EITHER ON THE
COMMISSION'S OWN INITIATIVE OR ON COMPLAINT OF THE STATE.  (FN9) 

WE AGREE WITH THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS THAT THE RIGHT OF THIS
CARRIER TO USE ILLINOIS HIGHWAYS FOR INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION OF GOODS
CANNOT BE SUSPENDED BY ILLINOIS.  AFFIRMED. 

FN1  INDIANA, MISSOURI, MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA, OHIO, KENTUCKY, AND
TENNESSEE. 

FN2  49 STAT. 543.  NOW PART II OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, 54
STAT. 919, 49 U.S.C. SEC. 301 ET SEQ. 

FN3  ILL. REV. STAT., 1953, C. 95 1/2, SEC. 228. 

FN4  ILL. REV. STAT., 1953, C. 95 1/2, SEC. 229B.  THIS SECTION
PROVIDES FOR A 90-DAY SUSPENSION UPON A FINDING OF 10 OR MORE
VIOLATIONS.  IF THEREAFTER THE SAME CARRIER IS FOUND TO HAVE BEEN
GUILTY OF 10 OR MORE LATER VIOLATIONS THE SUSPENSION IS FOR ONE YEAR. 

FN5  2 ILL. 2D 58, 117 N.E.2D 106.  BUT THE STATE SUPREME COURT HELD
THAT HAYES' INTRASTATE OPERATIONS COULD BE SUSPENDED.  HAYES APPEALED
TO THIS COURT.  WE DISMISSED FOR WANT OF A SUBSTANTIAL FEDERAL
QUESTION.  347 U.S. 994. 

FN6  SMITH BROS., REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATE, 33 M.C.C. 465, 472.  SEE
UNITED STATES V. SEATRAIN LINES, 329 U.S. 424. 

FN7  49 CFR, 1954 CUM. SUPP., SEC. 192.3.  "EVERY MOTOR VEHICLE SHALL
BE DRIVEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS, ORDINANCES, AND REGULATIONS OF
THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH IT IS BEING OPERATED, UNLESS SUCH LAWS,
ORDINANCES AND REGULATIONS ARE AT VARIANCE WITH SPECIFIC REGULATIONS OF
THIS COMMISSION WHICH IMPOSE A GREATER AFFIRMATIVE OBLIGATION OR
RESTRAINT." 

FN8  49 STAT. 555, 49 U.S.C. SEC. 312. 

FN9  49 STAT. 555, 49 U.S.C. SEC. 312.  FOR CASES IN WHICH THE
COMMISSION HAS CONSIDERED VIOLATIONS OF STATE LAW IN PASSING ON THE
FITNESS AND ABILITY OF APPLICANTS TO OPERATE AS CARRIERS IN INTERSTATE
COMMERCE SEE SOUTHWEST FREIGHT LINES, INC., EXTENSION - GLASS PRODUCTS,
54 M.C.C. 205, 219; HAYES FREIGHT LINES, INC., EXTENSION - ALTERNATE
ROUTES, 54 M.C.C. 643, 659. 



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