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St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. v. Williams

251 U.S. 63 (1919)

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St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. v. Williams

United States Supreme Court

251 U.S. 63 (1919)

Facts

The St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. (defendant) charged 66 cents more than the rate set by state statute in Arkansas for a particular fare. The passengers (plaintiffs) who were charged this illegal fare filed a lawsuit under the state statute, which permitted private lawsuits and set a penalty of between $50 and $300 for the violation. The statute also authorized the award of attorney’s fees to a passenger that prevails. The trial court granted judgment to the passengers and awarded the plaintiffs $75. The railway company appealed, arguing that the statutory penalty was excessive and violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Devanter, J.)

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