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Murphy, Morris & Co. vs. Collector of Customs (Pu) should have been classified as one machine.

• The Attorney General ​did not agree with the contention of the appellee that
October 16, 1908 | Willard, J. | Ejusdem Generis- ​generic character preceded
every kind of machinery used in a an electric light and power plant falls
by the word "other”.
under paragraph 257 letter (b), of the Tariff Act of 1901 “other machinery for
the generation of electricity”
PETITIONER:​ Murphy, Morris & Co.
Issues:
RESPONDENT: ​The Collector of Customs
1. Whether or not the steam turbine can be classified under the last
named paragraph as ​“Other machinery and detached parts not otherwise
DOCTRINE/S:
provided for”
Main doctrine:
2.Whether or not the steam turbines falls under Dynamos, generators,
exciters, and all other machinery for the generation of electricity.
• Ejusdem Generis -When a statute describes things of a particular class or
kind, accompanied by words of a generic ​character preceded by the word
Held:
"other,"​ the generic words will usually be limited to things of a kindred
1. Whether or not the steam turbine can be classified under the last
nature with those particularly enumerated, unless there be something in the
named paragraph as ​“Other machinery and detached parts not otherwise
context or history of the statute to repel such inference.
provided for”
------x
Also mentioned in the case:
➢ 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
• Noscitur a sociis - the meaning of an unclear word may be known from its
motor for a rice cleaning plant must be classified under paragraph 257 as
accompanying words.
“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.
Facts: 2. Whether or not the steam turbines falls under Dynamos,
• On October 29, 1904 JG White and Co. imported a “ One ​steam turbine, generators, exciters, and all other machinery for the generation of electricity.
condensing machinery, hot well and pumps, complete with parts and
accessories.” ➢ No. The machinery imported was not a complete machine for
• The steam turbine and the condensing machinery was classified by the the generation of electricity because no dynamo was imported with it. It must
Collector of Customs under Paragraph 257 letter (b), of the Tariff Act of be therefore separated into its component parts and must be considered
1901 separately.
• Importers affirmed the classification as to the steam turbine and the
condensers but sustained the protest as to the pumps Statcon:
• Petitioner prays the court reversed the decision of the collector and held that • When a statute describes things of a particular class or kind, accompanied
all the machinery should be classified under paragraph 250, as machinery for by words of a generic character preceded by the word “Other,” the generic
the generation of power of electricity words will usually be limited to things of a kindred nature with those
• The machinery was imported for use, and is now actually used by the particularly enumerated unless there be something in the context or the
Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company in its plant in Manila, and it is history of the statute to repel such inference.
apparently ​claimed by the importers that it constitutes a complete • Noscitur a sociis - the meaning of an unclear word may be known from its
machine for the generation of electricity, and no other purpose and accompanying words.
stationary engines may be used for marine purposes, while the locomotive
We think that the steam turbine was properly classified by the Collector engine is not adapted to such purposes. The language of the section supports
under the last-named paragraph. No mention is made of the condensers in the this view. Marine engines therefore will be held to mean steam motors."
brief of the appellee and we are of the opinion, also, that these were properly
classified by the Collector under the same paragraph. This contention can not be sustained, for it was held by this court in the case
of Calder & Co. vs. The United States (8 Phil. Rep., 303) that a portable
WHEREFORE, The judgment of the court below is reversed, and the case steam engine used as a motor for a rice-cleaning plant must be classified
remanded with directions to affirm the decision of the Collector. No costs under paragraph 257 as "other machinery" because it was nowhere else
will be allowed to either party. specifically mentioned in the act.

Important Laws / Provisions / Statutes / Sections


(this part is FOR REFERENCE*): • Tariff Act of 1901:
• 250. Dynamos, generators, exciters, and all other machinery for the
Attorney-General: generation of electricity for lightning or for power, also transformers, N. W.,
"Where a statute describes things of a particular class or kind accompanied 100 kilos 5.00
by words of a generic character preceded by the word 'other,' the generic • 257. Other machinery and detached parts not otherwise provided for:
words will usually be limited to things of a kindred nature with those (a) Of copper and its alloys, N. W., 100 kilos 4.00 (b) Of other material, N.
particularly enumerated unless there be something in the content or the W., 100 kilos 1.00
history of the statute to repel such an inference. This is on the principle of
noscitur a sociis, which is held applicable to revenue laws as well as penal
enactments. (Adams v.s. Bancroft, 3 Sumner, 384; 1 Fed. Cases, 84 ) . . . The
application of these rules of statutory interpretation and construction to the
present case makes it very clear that the classi cation dynamos, generators,
exciters, and all other machinery for the generation of electricity for lighting
or for power, also transformers,' would not include a steam turbine and
pumps and condensers because these are not of the same class or kind of
machinery as dynamos, generators, and exciters."

The evidence taken before the Collector and that taken before the Court of
First Instance shows ​that the machinery was not intended for use in a ship​,
that this engine could not reverse, and that the essential feature of a marine
engine is that it be reversible. If this engine were placed in a ship it could not
operate it; it would be necessary, as a witness said, to add auxiliary parts to it
for the purpose of making it a reversing engine.

A further claim is made by the importer to the effect that, even if it is not
technically a marine engine, yet as long as stationary engines are not
anywhere mentioned in the Tariff Act of 1901, "it was the purpose of the
legislature to make but two classes of steam engines: one, the locomotive or
traction engine, and the other, the stationary or marine engine, because all