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plough fire guards to prevent fire from running. With a fire once started it is negligence for the railroad not to stop it if it be feasible to do so. The law, whether Statute Law or otherwise, should be understood with relation to operation in any given State.
Freight Charges : Reasonable Rates. The common carrier may refuse to carry until the lawful charges are paid. Whether in advance or under the lien, the carrier has not the right to charge anything he pleases; he is entitled to a reasonable charge only. What is a reasonable charge or rate? What it costs the carrier for that carriage alone, over and above the cost of other business carried on, plus a bare profit, constitutes one limit with which the carrier is sometimes content; what the shipper can afford to pay for the service, and still make a profit, is another limit. Between these two limits the range is often very wide. For any class of traffic the carrier is entitled to some profit and ordinarily should receive enough to cover a proper allowance for interest on the cost of investment beyond the bare cost of carriage, certainly if the business is well handled. Where the charge or rate gives due weight to the ability of the shipper to pay and still make a profit, the charge is said to be based“ on what the traffic will bear," which is not synonymous ordinarily with "all the traffic will bear."
Classification. As a part of this system, the custom is well established of charging more for fine dry goods and wearing apparel, for furniture, and other goods of high value, and less for coal, building stone, lumber, grain, and other low priced goods, especially carried in carload lots. The principle of what the traffic will bear is involved. Classification” of this sort is in the interest of the shipper, and is not subject to serious criticism, unless as to the details of applying it. The United States Postal Service adopts this basis in its postal rates.
Proof of Unreasonable Charges. Under such conditions, few railroad officials can be sure that the rates charged are well adjusted; the problem is a difficult one. What chance has a shipper to prove that a rate charged him is unreasonably high? What will it cost him to try to prove it? What disadvantages may come from provoking the enmity of the carrier?
Personal Discrimination. Discrimination as to classes of goods, or “ classification” has been referred to. At one time there was much discrimination between individuals. One man or corporation in the same locality was charged more than another for service not distinguishable as differing one from another in character; this was “ personal discrimination,” clearly illegal, but very difficult to prove if the carrier and the favored shipper were discreet.
Local Discrimination. There existed also " discrimination as to localities " by which one town or city had lower rates than another where no sufficient natural cause existed to excuse it. Where competition with
water carriers or with other railroads existed there was often good reason for it; but sometimes, perhaps often, it was a matter of favoritism, or of apparent (perhaps real) advantage to the railroad to favor certain localities. The practice was nevertheless illegal in essence, but again difficult to reach and prevent through private effort.
Government Control of Rates; Commissions. To cure or to minimize these evils, the various States have passed laws in some cases directly regulating rates, but more often providing a railroad commission (not always with this name), a part of whose duties it is to determine what are reasonable rates. More often than not the rates so determined have been upheld by the courts; but legislatures and commissions have occasionally gone wild and prescribed rates which the courts have found to be in effect confiscatory and therefore illegal.
Interstate Commerce Act. The most important and best known of legislation of this character is the Interstate Commerce Act passed by the United States government to control all traffic passing from one State to another. Railroads sometimes charged ridiculously large sums for hauling freight across a State line, and over this neither State had jurisdiction. In many other ways some such law was needed. Nearly everything prohibited by this act was already illegal under the Common Law, but the remedy was ineffective. Under this Act penalties of fines and imprisonment are imposed, and shippers are allowed to bring their complaints to the Interstate Commerce Commission where simplicity of procedure and of action available to the commission are advantageous to the shipper.
Long and Short Haul Clause ; Pooling. Moreover, in its present form, the act provides that "it shall be unlawful ” “ to charge or receive any greater compensation in the aggregate for the transportation of passengers, or of like kind of property for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line or route, in the same direction, the shorter being included in the longer distance”: “Provided, however, that upon application to the Interstate Commerce Commission, such common carrier may in special cases, after investigation, be authorized ” “ to charge less for longer than for shorter distances." The law as originally passed used the term “under substantially similar conditions." This constituted new law, and while points where water competition existed were held not to come under “similar circumstances and conditions," radical changes in railroad operation as to charges became necessary, and the transcontinental lines terminating at the Pacific coast became nearly all (if not all) insolvent following it; their recovery later, however, has been complete.
Pooling. The Act also specifically prohibits the “pooling” of rates, which probably had always been illegal; the railroads apparently had never allowed a clear-cut decision of this case to be made by the courts.
Results on Rates. The results of legislation have been to largely do away with the evils connected with discrimination in rates, and also to bring the general level of rates to a point where the railroads, rather than the shippers, have cause for complaint.
Safety Appliances. Acts supplementary to the Interstate Commerce Act have required the introduction and use of safety appliances in the interests of both the public and the employees. Prominent among these are automatic brakes and automatic couplers. The complete regulation of signals has not yet come about, but has at times seemed imminent.
Accounts and Statistics. This Act also provides for methods and forms for keeping accounts, and also for the filing of statistics. Requirements similar in character are made by State laws or the regulations of State commissions, which also provide for the inspection of bridges and other structures, and for such other regulation as may seem necessary. A force of civil engineers and of inspectors is employed by many State commissions.
Valuation. A complete valuation of all the railroads of the United States has been provided for and is well under way in this year, 1917. This work is carried out under the Interstate Commerce Commission. The purpose of the valuation is still somewhat obscure; its requirements are quite rigid. Some advantage will come to the railroads through the enforced taking account of stock, which, however, is an expensive process.
Workmen's Compensation. Another United States law provides for the compensation of railroad employees injured while engaged in interstate commerce. Many States have similar laws which apply to employees generally, railroad employees among them not singled out.
Eight Hour Day. An Act known as the Adamson Law, passed by Congress in 1916, provides that an eight hour day shall be the basis for payment of train employees and perhaps of other railroad employees, and forbids an immediate decrease of pay. This law was passed while a strike of four powerful brotherhoods of train employees was imminent and at the demand of the brotherhood heads, who refused arbitration of their demands, and has been held by the Supreme Court to be constitutional.
State Laws. Not only are there United States laws governing and regulating interstate commerce, but the individual States have passed a multitude of laws regulating rates, taxation, and various other matters.
Separation of Grades. As has been noted above, much work has been done in recent years, especially in more populous communities, in separating the grades of highways and railroads, and some of the States have made provision for the apportionment of the expense, and for the appointment of special commissions to determine the details as well as to pass upon general schemes presented for such projects.
Demand on Officials' Time. The various laws requiring action by railroad officials and the many hearings before legislative committees and commissions constitute a serious drain upon the time and strength of the higher railroad officials. In addition to the requisite knowledge of the technical railroad matters under their charge, these officials must have a considerable understanding of the law applying to railroads, the greater part of which is Statute Law, and which shows changes almost every year, sometimes changes of great importance. A careful study and a good working knowledge of the laws of the States in which a railroad operates is of great importance to the operating or managing official who, however, can better appreciate Statute Law if he has a good comprehension of the Common Law as a groundwork, which it is the purpose of this treatise to afford.
There are questions of consolidation, leasing of lines, taxation, land grants, municipal aid, federal, State, or municipal regulation, and many others concerning which the services of an experienced lawyer are proper and necessary, and which can feasibly be referred to him.
THE ENGINEER'S LEGAL RELATIONS WITH OTHERS
Engineer's Positions and Relations. The engineer may occupy the position of employer of other engineers; he may be the employee of another engineer; he may be the employee of a municipality, of some other corporation, or of some person, or of some association of persons. As an engineer in general practice, he may be the agent of others, whether corporations or individuals; he may engage in construction work as contractor. As a manufacturer of machinery, apparatus, appliances, or structures, he may occupy the position of seller. As a user of such articles he may be a buyer. He may exercise the special function of an expert witness in court or in hearings before some commission. He may be selected as arbitrator to settle some dispute. As consulting engineer, he may be an adviser of his client upon many business questions.
The nature of the operations directed by him also brings him into such relations with the general public that the engineer's duties and the public's rights must be properly understood and regarded. The relaticns of the engineer to others are thus extensive and varied, and the chapters preceding are intended to deal somewhat with these relations and the rights and duties connected with them; both the engineer's own rights and duties and those of others with respect to him.
Contracts for Services. Unless the engineer is a manufacturer, his income depends upon some sort of express or implied contract for his services. His income or remuneration may be upon a salary basis; for a bill rendered, dependent upon the amount of service of the engineer and his employees; for a lump sum; based upon a percentage of cost; or upon a contingent fee. There may be other unusual forms of compensation.
In many cases, a written contract for services seems desirable. When a young engineer is employed by the day or week or month without a specified term of service, a written contract is not very necessary.
The rate of wages is soon established and permanent employment has not been agreed to.
Formal Contracts. When an important position, at a large salary, is to be assumed, either a formal contract should be made, or an equally