Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 13 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR. 13
reasonableness of a rate so fixed by the Commission may be assailed. This
rule of evidence is established by section 5; and provides that in all actions
between private parties and railway companies brought under the law, the
rates prescribed by the Commission before the institution of such action shall
be held conclusive and deemed and accepted to he reasonable, fair and just,
and in such respects shall not be controverted until officially found otherwise
in a direct action brought for that purpose in the manner authorized in two
other sections of the law.
After the railway companies and all parties have been afforded an opportunity
to be heard before the Commission on the establishment of the rates,
they are simply prollibited from collaterally attacking the judgment of the
Commission. In this respect a well-established rule of evidence has been
observed. When exercising its power under the constitution and law, the
Commission is required to give all the railway companies interested a hearing
after due notice before it can legally establish a rate. After a rate has been
thus established by the Commission, it is no more nor less than a judgment
of a competent tribunal, within contemplation of law, that cannot be collaterally
attacked. To avoid any probable injustice that may be inflicted on the
interested railways by the judgment of the Commission in fixing their
schedule of rates, the law provides and gives them ample remedies through
the courts of the county named, by direct proceedings against the Commission.
To protect the citizen against expensive, harrassing litigation over the
issue as to whether the rate is reasonable when he brings an action to recover
a penalty prescribed by law, it simply denies the railroad company in that
action the right to raise the issue on that point On the one hand, should the
law deny the railway company the right of having the action of the Railway
Commission reviewed by the courts of the country, probable injustice
might be done them. On the other, if the law permitted a railway company,
after it had been afforded a full hearing before the Commission as a condition
precedent to the establishment of the rates, which are required under the law
to be reasonable, to answer in any case brought by a citizen to recover a penalty
prescribed by law for overcharge or discrimination, and there contest
the question which had already been p but if dissatisfied with the Commission's work,
either of them, being an interested party, has the right to sue the Commission
in a competent court of Travis county and have its work reviewed,
corrected, modified or abolished, according to the ends of justice. If dissatisfied
with the decision of this court the complaining company or citizen
is given the further right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Civil Appeals.
having jurisdiction. In all of the courts such case against the (ommission is
by law given precedence of all other cases then pending, so as to afford a
speedy termination of the issue.
Fourth. The last general division of the law of importance here to discuss,
defines extortion and discriminations and prescribes the penalties that may
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas., book, January 12, 1893; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5861/m1/13/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .