2 of 9 DOCUMENTS
NEW YORK CENTRAL AND
HUDSON RIVER RAILROAD
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
212 U.S. 481; 29 S. Ct. 304; 53 L. Ed. 613; 1909 U.S. LEXIS 1832
Argued December 14, 15, 16, 1908.
February 23, 1909, Decided
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DIS-
TRICT OF NEW YORK.
THE facts are stated in the opinion.
Defendant, a corporation, sought review of a decision of the Circuit Court of the United
States for the Southern District of New York, which convicted defendant and its assistant traffic manager for the pay-
ment of rebates upon shipments from the City of New York to the City of Detroit, Michigan.
Defendant, a corporation, and its assistant traffic manager were convicted for the payment of rebates
upon shipments from the City of New York to the City of Detroit. The court affirmed defendant's conviction, finding
that the act of the agent, while exercising authority delegated to him to make rates for transportation, could be con-
trolled, in the interest of public policy, by imputing his act to defendant and imposing penalties upon defendant. The
court held that rebating under the federal statutes was a crime which could have been committed by a corporation. The
court found there was no good reason why corporations could not be held responsible for and charged with the know-
ledge and purposes of their agents, acting within the authority conferred upon them. If defendant had not been found
criminally liable merely because it was a corporation, many such type of offenses would have gone unpunished. The
court found that the statutes against rebates could not be effectually enforced so long as only individuals were subject to
punishment for violations of the law when the giving of rebates inured to the benefit of corporations of which the indi-
viduals were but the instruments.
The judgment of the lower court was affirmed on the basis that defendant corporation could have been
held responsible for and charged with the knowledge and purposes of its agents, acting within the authority conferred
upon them. The giving of the rebates inured to the benefit of the corporation. Statutes against rebates could not be effec-
tually enforced so long as only individuals were subject to punishment for violation of the law.
rebate, railroad, indictment, traffic manager, shipment, sugar, interstate commerce, carrier, pounds,
shipper, transportation, sugar refining, freight, commit, legal rate, interstate, common carrier, public policy, published
rates, criminally, omission, fine, equal rights, presumption of innocence, particularity, commerce, criminal prosecution,
criminal offenses, authority conferred, commit a crime
[HN1] See the Elkins Act, 32 Stat. 847.