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All-american Transport v. Howlett

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 6, 1978.

ALL-AMERICAN TRANSPORT, INC., N/K/A ALL-AMERICAN, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

MICHAEL J. HOWLETT, SECRETARY OF STATE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied March 7, 1978.

All-American Transport, Inc., now known as All-American, Inc. (plaintiff), brought an action under the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.), to review a decision by the Illinois Secretary of State, Michael J. Howlett (defendant). After an audit of plaintiff's records, defendant assessed certain tax items against plaintiff. On review, the trial court reversed this decision and defendant has appealed.

There is no dispute concerning the factual basis of the controversy. Plaintiff makes no point concerning the amount of the assessment of $22,273.59 for additional fees due the State of Illinois, $1166.80 for interest thereon and auditors' fees of $491.36, a total of $23,931.75. The assessment is based upon 14 alleged violations during 1971 and 8 during 1972. It is undisputed that during these years all of plaintiff's vehicles involved in the controversy had valid foreign base plates and valid Illinois prorate decals. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 95 1/2, par. 3-701(2).) It is agreed between the parties that the decisive issue here is whether the 22 acts of transportation engaged in by plaintiff should be classified as interstate or intrastate operations.

• 1, 2 Each and all of the transactions in question can be subdivided into three categories:

(1) Trailers were loaded in Waukegan, Illinois, with freight which originated within Illinois. Plaintiff's equipment moved these trailers from Waukegan to plaintiff's terminal in Chicago. There the trailers were unloaded and freight was sorted and loaded into other trailers consigned to destinations outside of Illinois.

(2) Additional trailers were loaded at plaintiff's terminal in Chicago with freight which had its origin outside of Illinois. Plaintiff's equipment transported the trailers to Elgin, Illinois. There, the freight was unloaded and placed on other vehicles, apparently not operated by plaintiff, for delivery to various points within Illinois.

(3) In the third category, one trailer was loaded at plaintiff's terminal in Elgin, Illinois, and transported by plaintiff's equipment to plaintiff's Chicago terminal. There, the trailer was unloaded.

The legal nature of these various categories and their classification into intrastate or interstate commerce depends upon a proper interpretation of the applicable statutes. These enactments have remained the same from 1971 to this date. The statute provides (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 95 1/2, par. 3-402A):

"* * * `Intrastate' or `intrastate commerce' means transportation originating at any point or place within this State and destined to any other point or place within this State, irrespective of the route, highway or highways traversed, and including transportation which passes into or through another State before delivery is made within this State, and including any act of transportation which includes or completes a pickup within Illinois for delivery within Illinois.

`Interstate' or `Interstate commerce' means transportation between 2 or more States or transportation originating in one State and passing into or through other States for delivery in another State, and which is not `intrastate'."

See also Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 1-133, 1-134.

Defendant is vested with the power and duty of administering the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-101). This includes power to promulgate rules and regulations as necessary to carry out the law in the public interest. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-104(b).) During the years 1971 and 1972, which are involved in this appeal, a rule adopted by defendant provided (Rule 3-402C):

"The following movements of commercial vehicles are all deemed but without limitation, to be `intrastate', and must be made with motor ...


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