39 So.2d 804 (Fla. 1949), City of St. Petersburg v. Carter

Citation:39 So.2d 804
Party Name:CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG v. CARTER et al., RAILROAD AND PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.
Case Date:April 05, 1949
Court:Supreme Court of Florida

Page 804

39 So.2d 804 (Fla. 1949)

CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG

v.

CARTER et al., RAILROAD AND PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.

Florida Supreme Court

April 5, 1949

Lewis T. Wray, Harry I. Young, Frank D. McDevitt, and Adrian S. Bacon, all of St. Petersburg, for petitioner.

Lewis W. Petteway, of Tallahassee, for respondents.

HOBSON, Justice.

It is conceded by all parties to this proceeding that the City of St. Petersburg and Town of Gulfport, which the Street Railway System of the City serves, are cities or towns whose boundaries adjoin. The charter of the City of St. Petersburg grants unto said city the right to operate utilities including a transportation system within and without the limits of the city and also gives to the city the power to establish rates and charges for such services. It is our view that under such circumstances the

Page 805

Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission was not given, nor did the legislature intend that it should have, jurisdiction of this municipally owned and operated street railway system. It is true that chapter 350 does define the term 'railroad corporation' or 'railroad company' as meaning 'all corporations, associations, partnerships, receivers, trustees or any other persons now owning or operating or which may hereafter own or operate any railroad in whole or in part in this state * * *.' Said statute also defines the term 'common carrier' as 'all persons owning and operating railroads, wholly or partly within this state. * * *'

There is no express provision in Chapter 350, F.S.A.1941, which makes said chapter applicable to municipal corporations. Although persons versed in the law know that each city or town which has received a charter from the sovereign state is, technically speaking, a municipal corporation, even they (most legal text and reference books index municipal corporations under an independent heading) and certainly the public generally do not think of cities and towns when the word 'corporations' is used unless it is preceded by the word 'municipal.' The thought which the writer has in mind was aptly expressed by Mr. Justice Frankfurter in the case of Addison v. Holly Hill Fruit Products, 322 U.S. 607, 64 S.Ct. 1215, 1221, 88 L.Ed. 1488, 153 A.L.R. 1007, when he said 'After all, legislation when not expressed in technical terms is addressed to the common run of men and is therefore to be understood according to the sense of the thing, as the ordinary man has the right to rely on ordinary words addressed to him.'

It is generally held, and not without sound reason, that the word 'corporations' does not include municipal corporations unless they are either expressly included by apt words or there is a clear unmistakable intention that they be included. Donahue v. City of Newburyport, 211 Mass. 561, 98 N.E. 1081, Ann.Cas.1913B, 742; Wilcox v. City of Idaho Falls, D.C., 23 F.Supp. 626. Indeed, private corporations, even if quasipublic in their operations, are clearly intended when the word 'corporations' is used along with other words which connote private enterprise. Town of Kearny v. Mayor, etc. of Jersey City, 78 N.J.L. 77, 73 A....

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