30 S.E. 239 (W.Va. 1898), McEldowney v. Wyatt

Citation:30 S.E. 239, 44 W.Va. 711
Opinion Judge:BRANNON, P.
Attorney:Wiley & Keifer and Hall & Hall, for appellant. Robt. McEldowneY and T. P. JACOBS, for appellee.[44 W.Va. 712]
Case Date:April 09, 1898
Court:Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

Page 239

30 S.E. 239 (W.Va. 1898)

44 W.Va. 711




Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

April 9, 1898

Submitted February 7, 1898

Syllabus by the Court.

1. A statute relating to persons or things as a class is a general law; one relating to particular persons or things of a class is special.

2. If the title of an act is broad enough to cover its enactment, and give fair and reasonable index to the purpose of the act, it need not descend to particulars of the enactment.

3. Where title to property has vested under the statute of limitations, no act can, by extending the statute or reviving the remedy, impair such title. It would be unconstitutional, because depriving one of property without due process of law; but where the demand is on contract, or any class of action where the statute merely gives a defense, and does not vest property, there is no vested right to such mere defense, and the legislature may, by repeal of the statute or otherwise, revive the action, and deprive one of such defense.

Appeal from circuit court, Wetzel county; Romo H. Freer, Judge.

Bill by John c. McEldowney against J. N. Wyatt for an injunction and equitable relief. From a decree for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Reversed.

Wiley & Keifer and Hall & Hall, for appellant.

Robt. McEldowneY and T. P. JACOBS, for appellee.[44 W.Va. 712]


J. N. Wyatt was sheriff of Wetzel county, and, as such, held tax bills, for the years 1889, 1890, 1891, and 1892, against John C. McEldowney, and the right to levy had become barred by lapse of time. Wyatt instituted an action of assumpsit in the circuit court to recover the taxes, and later the legislature passed chapter 63, Acts 1897, giving sheriffs whose terms expired in December, 1892 and 1896, further time until 31st December, 1899, to levy unpaid taxes for the years 1889 to 1892, inclusive. After this act, Wyatt dismissed the action in court "without prejudice." Later McEldowney obtained an injunction against Wyatt to restrain him from a meditated levy and collection of said taxes, which having been perpetuated. Wyatt appeals. The case turns upon the question whether said act of the legislature is constitutional. It is claimed that it is unconstitutional, because it is special legislation; but as it applies to sheriffs of all counties, and such taxes therein, it does...

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