Schackleford, justice – Supreme Court of Florida, 3/12/1917
(J., “ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION, et al., Plaintiff in Error, v. THE STATE OF FLORIDA, Defendant in Error,” 73 Fla. 609; 74 So. 595; 1917 Fla. LEXIS 487)
There would seem to be no occasion to discuss whether or not the Railroad Commissioners had the power and authority to make the order, requiring the three specified railroads running into the City of Tampa to erect a union passenger station in such city, which is set out in the declaration in the instant case and which we have copied above. [***29] It is sufficient to say that under the reasoning and the authorities cited in State v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 67 Fla. 441, 458, 63 South. Rep. 729, 65 South. Rep. 654, and State v. Jacksonville Terminal [*631] Co., supra, it would seem that HN14the Commissioners had power and authority. The point which we are required to determine is whether or not the Commissioners were given the authority to impose the fine or penalty upon the three railroads for the recovery of which this action is brought. In order to decide this question we must examine Section 2908 of the General Statutes of 1906, which we have copied above, in the light of the authorities which we have cited and from some of which we have quoted. It will be observed that the declaration alleges that the penalty imposed upon the three railroads was for the violation of what is designated as "Order No. 282," which is set out and which required such railroads to erect and complete a union depot at Tampa within a certain specified time. If the Commissioners had the authority to make such order, it necessarily follows that they could enforce a compliance with the same by appropriate proceedings in the courts, but [***30] it does not necessarily follow that they had the power and authority to penalize the roads for a failure to comply therewith. That is a different matter. HN15Section 2908 of the General Statutes of 1906, which originally formed Section 12 of Chapter 4700 of the Laws of Florida, (Acts of 1899, p. 86), expressly authorizes the imposition of a penalty by the Commissioners upon "any railroad, railroad company or other common carrier doing business in this State," for "a violation or disregard of any rate, schedule, rule or regulation, provided or prescribed by said commission," or for failure "to make any report required to be made under the provisions of this Chapter," or for the violation of "any provision of this Chapter." It will be observed that the word "Order" is not mentioned in such section. Are the other words used therein sufficiently comprehensive to embrace an order made by the Commissioners, such as the one now under consideration? [*632] It could not successfully be contended, nor is such contention attempted, that this order is covered by or embraced within the words "rate," "schedule" or "any report,' therefore we may dismiss these terms from our consideration and [***31] direct our attention to the words "rule or regulation." As is frankly stated in the brief filed by the defendant in error: "It is admitted that an order for the erection of a depot is not a 'rate' or 'schedule' and if it is not a 'rule' or 'regulation' then there is no power in the Commissioners to enforce it by the imposition of a penalty." It is earnestly insisted that the words "rule or regulation" are sufficiently comprehensive to embrace such an order and to authorize the penalty imposed, and in support of this contention the following authorities are cited: Black's Law Dictionary, defining regulation and order; Rapalje & Lawrence's Law Dictionary, defining rule; Abbott's Law Dictionary, defining rule; Bouvier's Law Dictionary, defining order and rule [**602] of court; Webster's New International Dictionary, defining regulation; Curry v. Marvin, 2 Fla. 411, text 515; In re Leasing of State Lands, 18 Colo. 359, 32 Pac. Rep. 986; Betts v. Commissioners of the Land Office, 27 Okl. 64, 110 Pac. Rep. 766; Carter V. Louisiana Purchase Exposition Co., 124 Mo. App. 530, 102 S.W. Rep. 6, text 9; 34 Cyc. 1031. We have examined all of these authorities, as well as those cited by the [***32] plaintiffs in error and a number of others, but shall not undertake an analysis and discussion of all of them. While it is undoubtedly true that the words, rule, regulation and order are frequently used as synonyms, as the dictionaries, both English and law, and the dictionaries of synonyms, such as Soule's show, it does not follow that these words always mean the same thing or are interchangeable at will. It is well known that the same word used in different contexts may mean a different thing by virtue of the coloring which the word [*633] takes on both from what precedes it in the context and what follows after. Thus in discussing the proper constructions to be placed upon the words "restrictions and regulations" as used in the Constitution of this State, then in force, Chap. 4, Sec. 2, No. 1, of Thompson's Digest, page 50, this court in Curry v. Marvin, 2 Fla. 411, text 415, which case is cited to us and relied upon by both the parties litigant, makes the following statement: "The word restriction is defined by the best lexicographers to mean limitation, confinement within bounds, and would seem, as used in the constitution, to apply to the amount and to the time [***33] within which an appeal might to be taken, or a writ of error sued out. The word regulation has a different signification -- it means method, and is defined by Websterin his Dictionary, folio 31, page 929, to be 'a rule or order prescribed by a superior for the management of some business, or for the government of a company or society.' This more properly perhaps applies to the mode and form of proceeding in taking and prosecuting appeals and writs of error. By the use of both of those terms, we think that something more was intended than merely regulating the mode and form of proceedings in such cases." Thus, in Carter v. Louisiana Purchase Exposition Co., 124 Mo. App. 530, text 538, 102 S.W. Rep. 6, text 9, it is said, "The definition of a rule or order, which are synonymous terms, include commands to lower courts or court officials to do ministerial acts." In support of this proposition is cited 24 Amer. & Eng. Ency. of Law 1016, which is evidently an erroneous citation, whether the first or second edition is meant. See the definition of regulate and rule, 24 amer. & Eng. Ency. of Law (2nd Ed.) pages 243 to 246 and 1010, and it will be seen that the two words are not always [***34] synonymous, much necessarily depending upon the context and the sense in which the words are used. Also see the discussion [*634] of the word regulation in 34 Cyc. 1031. We would call especial attention to Morris v. Board of Pilot Commissioners, 7 Del. chan. 136, 30 Atl. Rep. 667, text 669, wherein the following statement is made by the court: "These words 'rule' and the 'order,' when used in a statute, have a definite signification. They are different in their nature and extent. A rule, to be valid, must be general in its scope, and undiscriminating in its application; an order is specific and not limited in its application. The function of an order relates more particularly to the execution or enforcement of a rule previously made." Also see 7 Words & Phrases 6271 and 6272, and 4 Words & Phrases (2nd Ser.) 419, 420. As we held in City of Los Angeles v. Gager, 10 Cal. App. 378, 102 Pac. Rep. 17, "The meaning of the word 'rules' is of wide and varied significance, depending upon the context; in a legal sense it is synonymous with 'laws.'" If Section 2908 had contained the word order, or had authorized the Commissioners to impose a penalty for the violation of any order [***35] made by them, there would be no room for construction. The Georgia statute, Acts of 1905, p. 120, generally known as the "Steed Bill," entitled "An act to further extend the powers of the Railroad Commission of this State, and to confer upon the commission the power to regulate the time and manner within which the several railroads in this State shall receive, receipt for, forward and deliver to its destination all freight of every character, which may be tendered or received by them for transportation; to provide a penalty for non-compliance with any and all reasonable rules, regulations and orders prescribed by the said commission in the execution of these powers, and for other purposes," expressly authorized the Railroad Commissioners "to provide a penalty for non-compliance with any and all reasonable rules, regulations and orders prescribed by the said Commision." [*635] See Pennington v. Douglas, A. & G. Ry. Co., 3 Ga. App. 665, 60 S.E. Rep. 485, which we cited with approval in State v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 56 fla. 617, text 651, 47 South. Rep. 969, 32 L.R.A. (N.S.) 639. Under the reasoning in the cited authorities, especially State v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., [***36] supra, and Morris v. Board of Pilot Commissioners, we are constrained to hold that the fourth and eighth grounds of the demurrer are well founded and that HN16the Railroad Commissioners were not empowered or authorized to impose a penalty upon the three railroads for failure to comply with the order for the erection of a union depot.
Regulation is strictly distinct from restriction of production