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UNITED STATES v. A & P TRUCKING CO. - 358 U.S. 121, 79 S. Ct. 203 (1958)

Rule:

18 U.S.C. § 835 provides that whoever knowingly violates any Interstate Commerce Commission regulation pertaining to the safe transport of dangerous articles shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Section 835 makes such regulations binding on all common carriers engaged in interstate commerce. And 1 U.S.C.S. § 1, part of a chapter entitled Rules of Construction and in light of which § 835 must be read, provides that in determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise --the words person and whoever include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.

Facts:

Two partnerships, as entities, were charged in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 835, imposing criminal penalties upon "whoever" knowingly violates Interstate Commerce Commission regulations for the safe transportation in interstate commerce of explosives and other dangerous articles. One of the partnerships was also charged with violations of 49 U.S.C. § 322(a), imposing criminal penalties upon "any person" knowingly and wilfully violating any provision of Part II of the Interstate Commerce Act. The District Court dismissed the informations on the ground that a partnership entity cannot be guilty of violating the statutes involved.

Issue:

Could a partnership entity be guilty of violating the federal statutes?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court held that (1) the partnerships as entities could be proceeded against under both 18 U.S.C. § 835 and § 222(a) of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, 49 U.S.C. § 322(a), because in effectuation of the purpose of the statutes it made no difference how the carrier that committed the infraction was organized.

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