188 U.S. 491 (1903), 116, Williams v. Parker

Docket NºNo. 116
Citation188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559
Party NameWilliams v. Parker
Case DateFebruary 23, 1903
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 491

188 U.S. 491 (1903)

23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559

Williams

v.

Parker

No. 116

United States Supreme Court

February 23, 1903

Argued December 6, 1902

ERROR TO THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

OF THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS

Syllabus

So far as the federal Constitution is concerned, a state may authorize the taking of possession of property for a public use prior to any payment therefor, or even the determination of the amount of compensation, providing adequate provision is made for such compensation.

The statute of Massachusetts of May 23, 1898, providing that no building should be erected within certain limits in the City of Boston of over a certain height and also providing that any person owning or interested in any building then in course of construction who was damaged thereby might recover damages in an action commenced within two years from the passage of the act against the City of Boston for the actual damages sustained by them in the cost of materials and rearrangement of the "design or construction of the buildings" provides a direct and appropriate means of ascertaining and enforcing the amount of such damages, and for their payment by the City of Boston in regard to the solvency whereof no question is raised, and such statute is not in conflict with the federal Constitution.

On May 23, 1898, the Legislature of Massachusetts passed the following act:

SEC. 1. Any building now being built, or hereafter to be built, rebuilt, or altered in the City of Boston upon any land abutting on St. James Avenue, between Clarendon Street and Dartmouth Street or upon land at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Huntington Avenue, now occupied by the Pierce Building, so-called, or upon land abutting on Dartmouth Street, now occupied by the Boston Public Library Building, or upon land at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Boylston Street, now occupied by the New Old South Church Building, may be completed, built, rebuilt, or altered to the height of ninety feet, and no more, and upon any land or lands abutting on Boylston Street, between Dartmouth Street and Clarendon Street, may be completed, built, rebuilt, or altered to the height of one hundred feet, and no more: Provided, however, That there may be

Page 492

erected on any such building, above the limits hereinbefore prescribed, such steeples, towers, domes, sculptured ornaments and chimneys as the board of park commissioners of said city may approve.

SEC. 2. The provisions of chapter three hundred and thirteen of the acts of the year eighteen hundred and ninety-six, and of chapter three hundred and seventy-nine of the acts of the year 1897, so far as they limit the height of buildings, shall not be construed to apply to the territory specified and restricted in section one of this act.

SEC. 3. The owner of, or any person having an interest in, any building upon any land described in section one of this act, the construction whereof was begun, but not completed, before the fourteenth day of January in the current year, who suffers damage under the provisions of this act by reason or in consequence of having planned and begun such construction, or made contracts therefor, for a height exceeding that limited by section one of this act for the locality where said construction has been begun, may recover damages from the City of Boston for material bought or actually contracted for, and the use of which is prevented by the provisions of this act, for the excess of cost of material bought or actually contracted for over that which would be necessary for such building if not exceeding in height the limit prescribed for that locality by section one of this act, less the value of such materials as are not required on account of the limitations resulting from the provisions of this act, and the actual cost or expense of any rearrangement of the design or construction of such building made necessary by this act, by proceedings begun within two years of the passage of this act, and in the manner prescribed by law for obtaining payment for damages sustained by any person whose land is taken in the laying out of a highway in said city.

SEC. 4. Any person sustaining damage or loss in his property by reason of the limit of the height of buildings provided for in this act may recover such damage or loss from the City of Boston by proceedings begun within three years of the passage of this act, and in the manner prescribed by law for obtaining payment for damages sustained by any person whose

Page 493

land is taken in the laying out of a highway in said city.

Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, 1898, c. 452.

The building of plaintiff in error comes within the scope of this statute, and on September 17, 1898, the Attorney General of Massachusetts filed an...

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33 practice notes
  • 86 So. 625 (Miss. 1920), 21229, Scally v. Wardlaw
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 13, 1920
    ...of her bounty. Breadheft v. Cleveland, 108 N.E. 5, 110 N.E. 662; Alexander on Wills, par. 355; Lum v. Lasch, 93 Miss. 81; Leach v. Burr, 188 U.S. 501. We contend in the first place, that the evidence of the contestants was not sufficient to meet the prima-facie case made by the proponents; ......
  • 100 A.2d 532 (N.J. 1953), A-19, Abbott v. Beth Israel Cemetery Association of Woodbridge
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court of New Jersey
    • November 16, 1953
    ...the Legislature to condition the exercise of the power of eminent domain upon a prior payment of compensation. Williams v. Parker, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559 (1903); McGehee, Due Process of Law (1906), p. 291. In Williams v. Parker, supra, Mr. Justice Brewer stated: "So f......
  • 94 P. 1125 (Ariz. 1908), Civ. 1029, De Hansen v. District Court of Second Judicial District of Territory of Arizona
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court of Arizona
    • March 27, 1908
    ...U.S. 380, 16 S.Ct. 43, 40 L.Ed. 197; Backus v. Fort Street Union Depot Co., 169 U.S. 557, 18 S.Ct. 445, 42 L.Ed. 858; Williams v. Parker, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 562. OPINION Page 1126 [11 Ariz. 382] NAVE, J. -- Cochise county brought suit under the eminent domain law in the di......
  • 403 Mass. 79 (1988), Town of Wellfleet v. Glaze
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • July 20, 1988
    ...government." See Attorney Gen. v. Williams, 174 Mass. 476, 483, 55 N.E. 77 (1899), S.C., 178 Mass. 330, 59 N.E. 812 (1901), aff'd, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559 (1903) (Attorney General allowed to maintain a suit in equity to enforce a public easement in open air space in Co......
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31 cases
  • 86 So. 625 (Miss. 1920), 21229, Scally v. Wardlaw
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 13, 1920
    ...of her bounty. Breadheft v. Cleveland, 108 N.E. 5, 110 N.E. 662; Alexander on Wills, par. 355; Lum v. Lasch, 93 Miss. 81; Leach v. Burr, 188 U.S. 501. We contend in the first place, that the evidence of the contestants was not sufficient to meet the prima-facie case made by the proponents; ......
  • 100 A.2d 532 (N.J. 1953), A-19, Abbott v. Beth Israel Cemetery Association of Woodbridge
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court of New Jersey
    • November 16, 1953
    ...the Legislature to condition the exercise of the power of eminent domain upon a prior payment of compensation. Williams v. Parker, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559 (1903); McGehee, Due Process of Law (1906), p. 291. In Williams v. Parker, supra, Mr. Justice Brewer stated: "So f......
  • 94 P. 1125 (Ariz. 1908), Civ. 1029, De Hansen v. District Court of Second Judicial District of Territory of Arizona
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court of Arizona
    • March 27, 1908
    ...U.S. 380, 16 S.Ct. 43, 40 L.Ed. 197; Backus v. Fort Street Union Depot Co., 169 U.S. 557, 18 S.Ct. 445, 42 L.Ed. 858; Williams v. Parker, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 562. OPINION Page 1126 [11 Ariz. 382] NAVE, J. -- Cochise county brought suit under the eminent domain law in the di......
  • 403 Mass. 79 (1988), Town of Wellfleet v. Glaze
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • July 20, 1988
    ...government." See Attorney Gen. v. Williams, 174 Mass. 476, 483, 55 N.E. 77 (1899), S.C., 178 Mass. 330, 59 N.E. 812 (1901), aff'd, 188 U.S. 491, 23 S.Ct. 440, 47 L.Ed. 559 (1903) (Attorney General allowed to maintain a suit in equity to enforce a public easement in open air space in Co......
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