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Murphy, Morris & Co. vs.

Collector of Customs
[No. 4608. October 16,1908]
Submitted By: Chino Lee
Facts of the Case

JG White and Co. imported a One steam turbine, condensing


machinery, hot well and pumps, complete with parts and accessories.
The steam turbine and the condensing machinery was classified by the
collector of customs under Paragraph 257 letter (b), of the Tariff Act of
1901
Importers affirmed the classification as to the steam turbine and the
condensers but sustained the protest as to the pumps
Petitioner prays the court reversed the decision of the collector and
held that all the machinery should be classified under paragraph 250,
as machinery for the generation of power of electricity
The appellee contends that the turbine engine and generator being
one complete machine and designed to be used for the generating of
electricity, and for no other purpose, the turbine engine should be
classified as a component part of the generator
The Attorney General did not agree with the contention of the appellee
that every kind of machinery used in a an electric light and power plant
falls under paragraph 257 letter (b), of the Tariff Act of 1901 other
machinery for the generation of electricity
Issues:
1. Whether or not the steam turbine can be classified under the last
named paragraph as Other machinery and detached parts not
otherwise provided for
No. This contention cannot be sustained, for it was held by the
court in the case of Calder & Co. vs. U.S. that a portable steam
engine used as a motor for a rice cleaning plant must be
classified under paragraph 257 as other machinery because it
was no where specifically mentioned in the act. In this case, the
materials brought by the importers were not specifically
mentioned under paragraphs 250 or 257 of the Tariff Act of
1901.
2. Whether or not the steam turbines falls under Dynamos,
generators, exciters, and all other machinery for the generation of
electricity
No. The machinery imported was not a complete machine for
the generation of electricity because no dynamo was imported
with it. It must be therefore separated into its component parts
and must be considered separately.

Held:

Judgment of the court is reversed, and the case remanded with


directions to affirm the decision of the collector.
Statcon:

When a statute describes things of a particular class or kind,


accompanied by words of a generic character preceded by the word
Other, the generic words will usually be limited to things of a kindred
nature with those particularly enumerated unless there be something
in the context or the history of the statute to repel such inference.

Noscitur a sociis - the meaning of an unclear word may be known


from its accompanying words.
Important Laws / Provisions / Statutes / Sections

Tariff Act of 1901:


250. Dynamos, generators, exciters, and all other machinery for the
generation of electricity for lightning or for power, also transformers, N.
W., 100 kilos 5.00
257. Other machinery and detached parts not otherwise provided for:
(a) Of copper and its alloys, N. W., 100 kilos 4.00
(b) Of other material, N. W., 100 kilos 1.00