B-130280, JUL. 12, 1957

B-130280: Jul 12, 1957

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE SHIPMENTS WERE ROUTED VIA "ROADWAY EXPRESS- STRICKLAND TRANSPORTATION CO. WY-312547 YOU CLAIMED AND WERE PAID $497.96. WY-312558 YOU CLAIMED AND WERE PAID $69.46. IN THE AUDIT OF THESE PAYMENTS OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION DETERMINED THAT THE CHARGES SHOULD HAVE BEEN $473.49 FOR BOTH SHIPMENTS. - AND THE RESULTANT OVERPAYMENT OF $93.93 WAS DEDUCTED FROM AMOUNTS OTHERWISE DUE YOU. YOU WERE ALLOWED $10.97 ADDITIONAL ON BILL OF LADING NO. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE CHARGES HAD BEEN OVERPAID IN THE AMOUNT OF $26.32. THE CITED AUDIT ACTION WAS TAKEN BECAUSE THE AGGREGATE OF INTERMEDIATE RATES TO AND BEYOND MEMPHIS PRODUCED LOWER CHARGES THAN THOSE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE JOINT ONE-FACTOR RATES FROM BELLBLUFF TO DALLAS.

B-130280, JUL. 12, 1957

TO STRICKLAND TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1957, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION IN THE PARTIAL DISALLOWANCE YOUR CLAIM FOR $93.93 ADDITIONAL FREIGHT CHARGES ALLEGED TO BE DUE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF TWO SHIPMENTS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY FROM BELLBLUFF, VIRGINIA, TO DALLAS, TEXAS, UNDER BILLS OF LADING NOS. WY- 312547 AND WY-312558, DURING APRIL 1952.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE SHIPMENTS WERE ROUTED VIA "ROADWAY EXPRESS- STRICKLAND TRANSPORTATION CO. INC.' AND FOR THE SERVICE PERFORMED UNDER BILL OF LADING NO. WY-312547 YOU CLAIMED AND WERE PAID $497.96, BASED ON A THIRD-CLASS RATE OF $3.61 PER 100 POUNDS APPLIED ON COTTON PIECE GOODS WEIGHING 13,794 POUNDS. FOR THE SERVICE PERFORMED UNDER BILL OF LADING NO. WY-312558 YOU CLAIMED AND WERE PAID $69.46, COMPUTED AT THE FIRST- CLASS RATE OF $5.13 PER 100 POUNDS APPLIED ON COTTON WEBBING WEIGHING 1,354 POUNDS. IN THE AUDIT OF THESE PAYMENTS OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION DETERMINED THAT THE CHARGES SHOULD HAVE BEEN $473.49 FOR BOTH SHIPMENTS--- EACH BASED UPON AN AGGREGATE OF INTERMEDIATE RATES CONSTRUCTED OVER MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE--- AND THE RESULTANT OVERPAYMENT OF $93.93 WAS DEDUCTED FROM AMOUNTS OTHERWISE DUE YOU. THEREAFTER, YOU RECLAIMED THE AMOUNT SO DEDUCTED AND BY CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. 678467, DATED DECEMBER 11, 1956, YOU WERE ALLOWED $10.97 ADDITIONAL ON BILL OF LADING NO. WY-312558, BASED ON A COMBINATION OF RATES TO AND BEYOND MEMPHIS, PUBLISHED IN SOUTHERN MOTOR CARRIERS RATE CONFERENCE TARIFF NO. 3-E, MF-I.C.C. NO. 483, AND SOUTHWESTERN MOTOR FREIGHT BUREAU TARIFF NO. 15-G, MF-I.C.C. NO. 180. ON BILL OF LADING NO. WY-312547, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE CHARGES HAD BEEN OVERPAID IN THE AMOUNT OF $26.32, BASED ON A COMBINATION OF RATES TO AND BEYOND MEMPHIS, PUBLISHED IN SOUTHERN MOTOR CARRIERS RATE CONFERENCE TARIFF NO. 3-E, MF-I.C.C NO. 483, AND SOUTHWESTERN MOTOR FREIGHT BUREAU TARIFF NO. 1-I, MF-I.C.C. NO. 171, WHICH AMOUNT REMAINS OUTSTANDING, ALTHOUGH REQUEST FOR REFUND HAS BEEN MADE.

THE CITED AUDIT ACTION WAS TAKEN BECAUSE THE AGGREGATE OF INTERMEDIATE RATES TO AND BEYOND MEMPHIS PRODUCED LOWER CHARGES THAN THOSE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE JOINT ONE-FACTOR RATES FROM BELLBLUFF TO DALLAS, AND THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION HAS HELD THAT JOINT RATES WHICH EXCEED THE AGGREGATE OF INTERMEDIATE RATES ARE PRIMA FACIE UNREASONABLE.

UNDER THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF 1921, 31 U.S.C. 71,"ALL CLAIMS AND DEMANDS WHATEVER BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR AGAINST IT, AND ALL ACCOUNTS WHATEVER IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED, EITHER AS DEBTOR OR CREDITOR, SHALL BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.' IN THE SETTLEMENT OF SUCH ACCOUNTS, DUE CONSIDERATION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE TERMS AND PROVISIONS OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, AS AMENDED, AND TO THE INTERPRETATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF THAT ACT BY THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION AND THE COURTS. COMMON CARRIERS BY MOTOR VEHICLE, ENGAGED IN INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE, ARE REQUIRED TO ,ESTABLISH, OBSERVE, AND ENFORCE, JUST AND REASONABLE RATES, CHARGES, AND CLASSIFICATIONS, AND JUST AND REASONABLE REGULATIONS AND PRACTICES RELATING THERETO" BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 216 (B) OF THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 1935, AS AMENDED, 49 U.S.C. 316 (B), AND ALL CHARGES MADE FOR SERVICES RENDERED "SHALL BE JUST AND REASONABLE, AND EVERY UNJUST AND UNREASONABLE CHARGE FOR SUCH SERVICE OR ANY PART THEREOF, IS PROHIBITED AND DECLARED TO BE UNLAWFUL.' 49 U.S.C. 316 (D).

IN A NUMBER OF CASES, THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION HAS STATED THAT A JOINT THROUGH RATE WHICH EXCEEDS THE AGGREGATE OF INTERMEDIATE RATES IS PRIMA FACIE UNJUST AND UNREASONABLE TO THE EXTENT THAT IT EXCEEDS SUCH AGGREGATE. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, KINGAN AND COMPANY V. OLSON TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, 32 M.C.C. 10, 12; VICTORY GRANITE COMPANY V. CENTRAL TRUCK LINES, 44 M.C.C. 320, 324; STOKELY FOODS, INC. V. FOSTER FREIGHT LINES, INC., 62 M.C.C. 179, 182. TO SANCTION THE PAYMENT OF PUBLIC FUNDS IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE SIMILAR RATES IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE BEEN DECLARED BY THE COMMISSION TO BE PRIMA FACIE UNREASONABLE WOULD APPEAR TO VIOLATE THE DUTY IMPOSED BY LAW UPON US TO CONSIDER, IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS, SUBSTANTIVE DEFENSES IN LAW. IN THIS SITUATION THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IN THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS AUTHORIZED DUTIES TO "SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL ACCOUNTS," WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE JUSTIFIED IN HOLDING PUBLIC FUNDS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF PRIMA FACIE UNJUST AND UNREASONABLE CHARGES, WHICH ARE EXPRESSLY "PROHIBITED AND DECLARED TO BE UNLAWFUL.'

ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL CHARGES ON THE INVOLVED SHIPMENTS WAS PROPER AND MUST BE SUSTAINED. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO REMIT THE AMOUNT OF $26.32 TO LIQUIDATE THE OVERPAYMENT MADE IN CONNECTION WITH BILL OF LADING NO. WY-312547, AS EXPLAINED ABOVE.