126 So. 374 (Fla. 1930), State v. Love

Citation126 So. 374, 99 Fla. 333
Opinion JudgeBROWN, J.
Party NameSTATE ex rel. DAVIS, Atty. Gen. v. LOVE, Circuit Judge, et al. (Two cases).
Attorney[99 Fla. 336] Fred H. Davis, Atty. Gen., and B. A. Meginniss and W. J. Oven, both of Tallahassee, for relator. Watson & Pasco & Brown, of Pensacola, and Cooper, Knight, Adair, Cooper & Osborne and Marks, Marks & Holt, all of Jacksonville, for respondents.
Judge PanelTERRELL, C.J., not participating.
Case DateFebruary 14, 1930
CourtSupreme Court of Florida

Page 374

126 So. 374 (Fla. 1930)

99 Fla. 333

STATE ex rel. DAVIS, Atty. Gen.

v.

LOVE, Circuit Judge, et al. (Two cases).

Florida Supreme Court

February 14, 1930

In Banc.

Two original proceedings in prohibition by the State, on the relation of Fred H. Davis, Attorney General, against % e. c. l/ove, one of the Judges of the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, sitting in and for Leon County, and others.

Peremptory writs granted in each case.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

Court may be prevented by prohibition from exercising jurisdiction over subject-matter or parties conferred by unconstitutional statute. Where a court's jurisdiction of the subject-matter, or of the parties, is attempted to be conferred by a void and unconstitutional statute, such court may be prevented by writ of prohibition from attempting to exercise such supposed jurisdiction.

Attorney General may through prohibition petition invoke Supreme Court's supervisory powers to prevent circuit court entertaining suit against state under unconstitutional statute. The Attorney General may as relator in a petition for writ of prohibition invoke the supervisory powers of the Supreme Court over inferior jurisdictions to prevent a circuit court from entertaining and adjudicating a suit against the state under the supposed authority of an unconstitutional statutory provision purporting to waive the immunity of the state government, or of an agency which forms a component part thereof, from suit.

State agency or department may be appropriate pleading question constitutionality of statute under which suit was filed. When an agency or department of the state is sued, it may, by appropriate pleading filed in court, question the constitutional validity of the statutory provision under which the suit was filed, without conflicting with the rule that an administrative board cannot refuse to perform a duty imposed by legislative act merely because the members of such board, who have no personal right or interest involved, deem such act to be unconstitutional.

Statutes in derogation of state sovereignty are strictly construed (Const. art. 3, § 22). Statutes in derogation of state sovereignty are to be strictly construed.

Statute relating to general subject may be so restricted by title language as to indicate matters connected with general subject are not treated, thereby failing fairly to apprise Legislature thereof (Const. art. 3, § 16). An act purporting to relate to a general subject may be so restricted by the language of its title as to indicate that matters connected with the general subject are not to be treated of in the act, thus failing to fairly apprise the members of the Legislature, and the people to be affected, of such matters.

Waiver of state's immunity from suit is recognized by Constitution as distinct subject of legislation (Const. art. 3, § 22). Under section 22 of article 3 of the Constitution, providing that 'provision may be made by general law for bringing suit against the state,' the waiver of the state's immunity from suit is recognized and treated as a distinct and independent subject of legislation.

Waiver of state's immunity from suit by special or local laws, or by merely incidentally embracing provision in acts dealing with other subjects, whose titles give no indication thereof, would be unconstitutional (Const. art. 3,§ 22). It would be inconsistent with the intent of section 22 of article 3 of the Constitution to deal with the subject of waiving the state's immunity from suit either by special or local laws, or by merely incidentally embracing provisions pertaining thereto in acts dealing with other subjects, whose titles give no indication of any intention to waive such immunity.

Statute provision authorizing suit against state road department on contract claims held invalid as not within title; statute provision authorizing suit against state road department on contract claims held invalid as not complying with constitutional provision authorizing statute waiving state's immunity (Laws 1923, c. 9312, § 4; Const. art. 3, §§ 16, 22). The title of chapter 9312, Laws of 1923, is 'An Act Relating to the State Road Department Imposing Certain Duties Upon Said Department and Conferring Certain Powers Upon the Same,' and the statute itself is a general law, but section 4 of said statute, providing that suit could be brought against said department on claims arising under contracts for work done, is held to be invalid and to be regarded as eliminated from the act, as being included therein in violation of sections 16 and 22 of article 3 of the Constitution.

Statute provision authorizing suit against state road department on contract claims held not invalid merely because extending privilege of suing state to limited class, or because in nature of special law (Laws 1923, c. 9312, § 4). Said section 4 is not held invalid merely because it extends the privilege of suing the state to a limited class, thus discriminating against other classes; nor because said section itself is in the nature of a special law.

Legislature may by general law prescribe classes of cases and conditions on which state may be sued (Const. art. 3, § 22). If the Legislature sees fit to permit the state to be sued, it may, by general law, prescribe the class or classes of cases and the terms and conditions upon which suit may be brought.

Constitutional provision authorizing statute waiving state's immunity from suit by general law does not deny Legislature's power to make reasonable classifications (Const. art. 3, § 22). Section 22 of article 3, while it confines the Legislature to dealing with the subject of suits against the state only by general law, does not deny to the Legislature its usual power to make reasonable classifications.

Method prescribed by Constitution for doing act is exclusive. When the Constitution prescribes a method by which an act may be accomplished, that method is exclusive.

Constitutional provision authorizing statute waiving state's immunity from suit 'by general law' does not require statute dealing with subject only by comprehensive legislation covering all classes of cases (Const. art. 3, § 22). Section 22 of article 3, when it says that provision may be made for suits against the state 'by general law' (not by a general law) does not mean that the Legislature must deal with the subject only by one comprehensive law, covering all classes of cases. 'General law' may mean one law, or several laws.

Purpose of constitutional provision authorizing legislation waiving state's immunity is to leave Legislature untrammeled respecting liabilities, limiting method of exercise of power to general, rather than special or local, laws (Const. art. 3, § 22). The purpose of the constitutional provision, section 22 of article 3, as a whole, is to leave the Legislature untrammeled in legislating on the subject as to 'all liabilities now existing or hereafter originating,' but to limit the method of the exercise of the power to the passage of general, rather than special or local, laws.

COUNSEL

Page 375

[99 Fla. 336] Fred H. Davis, Atty. Gen., and B. A. Meginniss and W. J. Oven, both of Tallahassee, for relator.

Watson & Pasco & Brown, of Pensacola, and Cooper, Knight, Adair, Cooper & Osborne and Marks, Marks & Holt, all of Jacksonville, for respondents.

OPINION

BROWN, J.

Both of these cases turn upon the same questions. They arise out of separate petitions for writs of prohibition directed to Hon. E. C. Love, as circuit judge, and C.J. Lytle, as respondents in one case, and to the same judge and the Massachusetts Bonding & Insurance Company, as respondents in the other case, seeking peremptory writs of prohibition to restrain Judge Love from proceeding to hear and determine two certain suits pending before him in the circuit court of Leon county, Fla., in which Lytle and the bonding company, respectively, are plaintiffs and the state road department is defendant. Alternative writs of prohibition were issued by this court in each of the cases, and in due course Judge Love filed his separate answers in each case, and Lytle and the bonding company respectively filed motions to quash the alternative writs, and likewise filed, subject to the motion to quash, answers to the alternative writs.

[99 Fla. 337] Each of the two suits pending in the circuit court of Leon county was a suit on 'claim arising under contract for work done,' within the meaning of section 4, of chapter 9312, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1923, which purports to authorize the maintenance of suits against the state road department on claims of that character.

Each of the petitions for writs of prohibition were filed by the state, on the relation of the Attorney General, and each of them alleged that the state road department by its attorneys had appeared specially in such circuit court and moved to quash the writ of

Page 376

summons ad respondendum issued in each of said causes and to contest the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that no lawful provision had been made for the maintenance of suits against the state road department, which department was an agency and component part of the state government; which motions to quash the said judge had overruled, and had required the respective defendants to plead or demur on or before a named date. The petition further alleged that, unless prevented from so doing, the respondent circuit judge would proceed to entertain said causes and thereby put members of the state road department to great expense and inconvenience in preparing for and attending the trial, including the gathering of witnesses, the taking of the employees from the various...

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50 practice notes
  • 174 So. 843 (Fla. 1937), City of Hialeah v. State Ex Rel. Ben Hur Life Ass'n
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court of Florida
    • 14 Abril 1937
    ...the Governor, as matter properly connected with any statement of a subject expressed in the title of the act. See State ex rel. v. Love, 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374; Webster v. Powell, 36 Fla. 703, 18 So. 441; Wade v. Atlantic Lumber Co., 51 Fla. 628, 41 So. 72; and other cases where the title......
  • 188 So. 834 (Fla. 1938), State Ex Rel. Florida Dry Cleaning and Laundry Bd. v. Atkinson
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Noviembre 1938
    ...1456; Southern Drainage District et al. v. State of Florida et al., 93 Fla. 672, 112 So. 561; State ex rel. Davis v. Love, [136 Fla. 539] 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374; Kennard v. State Tuberculosis Board, 129 Fla. 619, 176 So. 872. So the question arises: 'What is the force and effect of the pr......
  • 198 So.3d 69 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2016), 1D15-213, Barati v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals
    • 23 Febrero 2016
    ...to the people .... “ The Attorney General is the principal law officer of the state.” Id. [State ex rel. Davis v. Love, 99 Fla. 333] 126 So. [374] at 377 [ (1930) ]. We conclude that under these powers granted by the Florida common law, statutes and case law, ......
  • 836 So.2d 1112 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2003), 3D02-957, State v. Franklin
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals Third District
    • 12 Febrero 2003
    ...v. Sullivan, 99 Fla. 1070, 128 So. 478, 480 (1930); Whitney v. Hillsborough County, 99 Fla. 628, 127 So. 486, 490 (1930); State v. Love, 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374, 378 (1930); McSween v. State Live Stock Sanitary Bd., 97 Fla. 750, 122 So. 239, 242 (1929); Jackson Lumber Co. v. Walton County,......
  • Free signup to view additional results
50 cases
  • 174 So. 843 (Fla. 1937), City of Hialeah v. State Ex Rel. Ben Hur Life Ass'n
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court of Florida
    • 14 Abril 1937
    ...the Governor, as matter properly connected with any statement of a subject expressed in the title of the act. See State ex rel. v. Love, 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374; Webster v. Powell, 36 Fla. 703, 18 So. 441; Wade v. Atlantic Lumber Co., 51 Fla. 628, 41 So. 72; and other cases where the title......
  • 188 So. 834 (Fla. 1938), State Ex Rel. Florida Dry Cleaning and Laundry Bd. v. Atkinson
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Noviembre 1938
    ...1456; Southern Drainage District et al. v. State of Florida et al., 93 Fla. 672, 112 So. 561; State ex rel. Davis v. Love, [136 Fla. 539] 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374; Kennard v. State Tuberculosis Board, 129 Fla. 619, 176 So. 872. So the question arises: 'What is the force and effect of the pr......
  • 198 So.3d 69 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2016), 1D15-213, Barati v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals
    • 23 Febrero 2016
    ...to the people .... “ The Attorney General is the principal law officer of the state.” Id. [State ex rel. Davis v. Love, 99 Fla. 333] 126 So. [374] at 377 [ (1930) ]. We conclude that under these powers granted by the Florida common law, statutes and case law, ......
  • 836 So.2d 1112 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2003), 3D02-957, State v. Franklin
    • United States
    • Florida Florida Court of Appeals Third District
    • 12 Febrero 2003
    ...v. Sullivan, 99 Fla. 1070, 128 So. 478, 480 (1930); Whitney v. Hillsborough County, 99 Fla. 628, 127 So. 486, 490 (1930); State v. Love, 99 Fla. 333, 126 So. 374, 378 (1930); McSween v. State Live Stock Sanitary Bd., 97 Fla. 750, 122 So. 239, 242 (1929); Jackson Lumber Co. v. Walton County,......
  • Free signup to view additional results