court can find no force to this asserted defense.
Defendant next raises the contention that the transportation was not performed in vehicles owned and operated by defendant, but rather was performed by reason of certain trip-leases entered into by 'owner-operators' and the defendant.
While it is true that in each of the violations proved, the movement was by truck leased by defendant, this fact, in the face of all the proofs, does not work out in defendant's favor.
Where the lease of vehicles to a carrier is under such terms and conditions as will make the operations conducted by such vehicles the operations of the lessee carrier, the lessee carrier will be liable for any breach of its operating authority. Compare United States v. Steffke, D.C., 36 F.Supp. 257.
In the instant proceeding the proofs amply demonstrate that the operation of the trucks on which these movements were made was under the control and direction of the defendant, with the drivers acting as agents only. The shipping orders in each case were those of the defendant, as were the freight bills, and payments of all freight charges were to the defendant. All truck manifests were issued by defendant and the written truck leases provided that during the period of the lease the vehicles rented were to be 'solely and exclusively under the direction and control of the lessee'. Liability may not be avoided in the face of these facts on the ground that these vehicles were not owned and operated by the defendant.
Defendant next defends on the ground that, if in fact there was a deviation from defendant's authorized routes, such deviation was permitted within the provisions of section 208(b) of Part II of the Act, 49 U.S.C.A. § 308(b) cited supra.
Under this section, defendant contends, occasional deviation is permitted, and further argues that no evidence was produced to show that such deviation was not 'occasional' within the meaning of that provision.
Defendant, however, overlooks the concluding portion of the quoted section where in it is provided that occasional deviation from authorized routes is permitted only 'under such general or special rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe'. No such general or special rule, applicable to defendant has been shown, and without such showing, no deviation, whether occasional or otherwise, may be found to be authorized or permitted.
Defendant, similarly, seeks to defend on the provisions of section 203(b) of Part II of the Act, 49 U.S.C.A. § 303(b). That section, however, is applicable only to 'any person not engaged in transportation by motor vehicle as a regular occupation or business'. The court's conclusion that these operations were those of the defendant effectively precludes any defense based on the cited section.
Defendant's concluding argument is that the shipments were interlined with a connecting carrier between origin and destination. The proofs of such interlineation, however, are entirely lacking. Taken at best, the testimony elicited by defendant indicated that there might have been some arrangement for such interlining on particular occasions and for particular movement. Nothing, however, indicates that such interchange took place in the particular cases in this proceeding. Such notations as appear on several freight bills, indicating that an interchange might have taken place, were lined through, thus indicating, according to the testimony, that there was no transfer of shipment. No delivery receipt or other document indicates that any of the shipments were interlined. The testimony and evidence is completely lacking in anything of sufficient probative value to raise even a doubt as to a transhipment.
Accordingly, upon all the evidence adduced and proofs offered, the court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of unlawfully, knowingly and wilfully committing the offenses as charged in each count of the information.
The judgment of the court on each of the individual counts is that the defendant is guilty of knowingly and wilfully engaging in interstate operation without possessing a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
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