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WRIGHT v. CHICAGO

October 17, 1963

EVELYN WRIGHT AND EVA WRIGHT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY RAILROAD COMPANY, AND JOHN F. HEALY, RAMONA HAYES HEALY, D/B/A VANDERBILT BETTER TOURS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph Samuel Perry, District Judge.

This cause came on to be heard upon the Second Amended Complaint and Answer thereto. A jury was waived and the evidence and arguments of the parties were heard by the Court.

The plaintiffs were two well-educated Negroes, a mother and a daughter. They alleged that on May 2, 1960, they went to the offices of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company (hereinafter called "Burlington") in Chicago to purchase an escorted tour advertised in a pamphlet of tours displayed by the Burlington, which tour was conducted by John F. Healy and Ramona Hayes Healy, husband and wife, doing business as Vanderbilt Better Tours, both defendants (hereinafter called "Vanderbilt").

The plaintiffs charged that they chose to go on a tour advertised by Vanderbilt leaving on July 3, 1960; that instead there were sold to them tickets for an unescorted tour leaving on July 2, 1960, and that they were led to believe they were getting the same services as on the advertised tour. They complained that when they arrived on July 2, 1960 there was no escort and they then refused to take the tour. All the sum of money paid by them for the tour was returned to them except the sum of $8.40. They returned on July 3, 1960 and saw the escorted tour leave.

They alleged that they were refused tickets on the July 3, 1960 Vanderbilt escorted tour solely because they were Negroes; that they were humiliated and suffered pain and anguish as a consequence, and that the defendants refused to sell them tickets upon said tour of July 3, 1960 because of malice and thereby discriminated against them on account of their race and deprived them of their statutory rights contrary to the provisions of the statutes of the United States of America as set forth in 49 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., the pertinent parts of which provide as follows:

    Section 3(1). "It shall be unlawful for any common
  carrier * * * to subject any particular person * * *
  to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or
  disadvantage in any respect whatsoever * * *."
    Section 8. "In case any common carrier subject to
  the provisions of this chapter shall do, cause to be
  done, or permit to be done any act, matter, or thing
  in this chapter prohibited or declared to be
  unlawful, or shall omit to do any act, matter, or
  thing in this chapter required to be done, such
  common carrier shall be liable to the person or
  persons injured thereby for the full amount of
  damages sustained in consequence of any such
  violation of the provisions of this chapter, together
  with a reasonable counsel or attorney's fee, to be
  fixed by the court in every case of recovery, which
  attorney's fee shall be taxed and collected as part
  of the costs in the case."

Plaintiffs charged that they were damaged and filed suit seeking damages of $100,000.00, including attorney's fees, and for the $8.40 travel insurance which had not been refunded.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Defendant, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, with ticket offices at 105 West Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois, is a common carrier for railroad passengers.

2. John F. Healy and Ramona Hayes Healy, d/b/a Vanderbilt Better Tours, located at 67 East Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois, a partnership, is a travel agency which conducts escorted railroad tours advertised and sold to the public through its own offices, and the ticket offices of Burlington, and other railroads.

3. The Burlington, and other railroads, belong to a voluntary association of railroads for the purpose of promoting and selling passenger transportation. Said association is known as the Rail Travel Promotion Agency (hereinafter referred to as "RTPA"). The RTPA contracts with travel agencies (called RTPA Contract Agents) and permits them to buy tickets of RTPA members for rail tours and to receive a commission thereon; RTPA Contract Agents may reserve rail space in advance to accommodate persons to whom they may sell tickets.

4. Vanderbilt is an RTPA Contract Agent privileged and permitted to deal with, and to sell, Burlington rail transportation space, reserved and set aside to it, from year to year, by Burlington for such purposes.

5. Burlington's ticket agents and other RTPA members' ticket agents receive a commission from Vanderbilt, and other such RTPA Contract Agents, whenever they sell the services of such RTPA Contract Agents.

6. On April 22, 1960, the plaintiffs, wishing to buy an escorted tour to California, went to Burlington's ticket office where a discussion was held with Burlington's ticket agent, Robert L. Miller, regarding Vanderbilt's V-12 guided tour to California. Thereafter, or on or about May 2, 1960, Burlington through its ticket agent Robert L. Miller sold plaintiffs a round-trip tour to California, which plaintiffs were led to believe was the V-12 regularly scheduled escorted tour to California operated by Vanderbilt. For said tour, plaintiffs paid to Burlington the sum of $790.10, the price of an escorted tour. Said payment included rail tickets, travel agent's fee, side-trip ...


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