For the prosecutors Independent Warehouses, Inc., and James Thompson, Collins & Corbin (Robert J. Bain, of counsel).
For the prosecutors Pennsylvania Coal Company and Erie Railroad Company, Hobart, Minard & Cooper (Duane G. Minard and G. Addison Hobart, of counsel).
For the defendants, Chandless, Weller & Kramer (Ralph W. Chandless, of counsel).
Before Justices Case, Bodine and Porter.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
PORTER, J. The writs of certiorari in these two cases bring before us for review the convictions of the prosecutors Independent Warehouses, Inc; and James Thompson, its employee, for violation of section I of an ordinance of the defendant municipality on a charge of storing coal in a warehouse without having first obtained a license therefor. The ordinance in question provides for the licensing of the business of conducting the storage of personal property in a warehouse for hire and provides a penalty for violation of the said ordinance of imprisonment not exceeding ninety days or a fine not exceeding $200, or both. It is not denied that Independent Warehouses, Inc., was operating such a business on premises within the municipality at storage yards commonly called Coalberg and that Thompson was employed by it.
Independent Warehouses, Inc., is a corporation of New York, authorized to do business in New Jersey, and is engaged in storing goods for hire in ten states, including the warehouse at the Coalberg plant. It has operated this plant since June 20th, 1939, in the storage of coal shipped in interstate commerce, for the benefit of and at the expense of Erie Railroad Company, and has shipped over that road exclusively as an in-transit facility for interstate shipments of coal.
The Pennsylvania Coal Company is a corporation of Pennsylvania where it mines and sells anthracite coal. It holds title to the Coalberg property.
The Erie Railroad Company is a common carrier by railroad engaged in interstate commerce. Independent Warehouses, Inc., and Pennsylvania Coal Company are subsidiary corporations of Erie Railroad Company, the capital stock in both corporations being wholly owned by it. The Pennsylvania Coal Company and Erie Railroad Company were allowed to intervene in these proceedings. For the purpose of this litigation they have been, and will be, treated as one entity.
It is the practice of the prosecutors to store large quantities of anthracite coal in their yard at Coalberg in the defendant municipality. This yard has a capacity of storing about 400,000 tons of coal. It is convenient, if not indeed necessary,
in marketing this coal and transporting it to the ultimate consignee to have a place of storage in which to accumulate it during the slack season, it not being possible or practical to deliver it directly from ...