61 S.W. 684 (Mo. 1901), Kansas & Texas Coal Railway v. Northwestern Coal & Mining Company

Citation61 S.W. 684, 161 Mo. 288
Opinion JudgeMARSHALL, J.
Party NameKANSAS & TEXAS COAL RAILWAY, Plaintiff in Error, v. NORTHWESTERN COAL & MINING COMPANY et al
AttorneyAdiel Sherwood for plaintiff in error. Ben Eli Guthrie and Dysart & Mitchell for defendant in error.
Judge PanelMARSHALL, J. Sherwood, Robinson and Brace, JJ., concur. Burgess, C. J., Valliant and Gantt, JJ., dissent. VALLIANT
Case DateMarch 26, 1901
CourtSupreme Court of Missouri

Page 684

61 S.W. 684 (Mo. 1901)

161 Mo. 288

KANSAS & TEXAS COAL RAILWAY, Plaintiff in Error,

v.

NORTHWESTERN COAL & MINING COMPANY et al

Supreme Court of Missouri

March 26, 1901

Error to Macon Circuit Court. -- Hon. N. M. Shelton, Judge.

Reversed and remanded (with directions).

Adiel Sherwood for plaintiff in error.

(1) While it is declared in section 20, article 2, Constitution, that "Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question of whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question and as such judicially determined without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public," still, section 14, article 12, declares that railroads are public highways and railroad companies common carriers and hence, section 20 of article 2 is limited so far as concerns railroads, and there is no question for the courts to determine, for the same power which declares that what is a public use shall be a judicial question, also declares that a use for railroad purposes is a public use. Thompson v. Railroad, 110 Mo. 160. Our courts will take judicial notice that the taking of private property for a railway is a taking for public use. Walther v. Warner, 25 Mo. 277; Thompson v. Railroad, supra; Dickey v. Tennison, 27 Mo. 376. (2) In the absence of any declaration such as is contained in section 20, article 2, Constitution, that what is a public use shall be a judicial question, which must be determined by the courts, the courts would so determine (St. Louis County Court v. Griswold, 58 Mo. 175); but when a determination is reached that a certain use is a public use, the judicial function is then exhausted, for the extent of the power and the person or corporation or classes of persons or corporations, to exercise the power, are legislative questions. Whether a proposed road will subserve the public need or convenience is a question for the Legislature and not for the judiciary. Sherman v. Buck, 32 Cal. 241. Discretion is vested in the officers of a corporation, possessing the power, to fix the location of the line of improvement. Railroad v. Railroad, 41 Fed 299; O'Hare v. Railroad, 139 Ill. 151; Struthers v. Railroad, 87 Pa. St. 282; Ford v. Railroad, 14 Wis. 609; Railroad v. Moss, 23 Cal. 323; Schmidt v. Densmore, 42 Mo. 225; Dietrich v. Railroad, 13 Neb. 361; In re Railroad, 53 N.Y. 574; Railroad v. Brown, 9 H. L. Cas. 246; Railroad v. Manhattan G. L. Co., 5 Hun (N. Y.) 201; Railroad v. Dunbar, 100 Ill. 112. The owner of land devoted to private use can not question the selection of his property; he can not urge that the land is not suitable or suggest engineering or financial difficulties in opposition; nor present questions of feasibility. Coffman v. Griffin, 17 W.Va. 178. Nor can he show that another location would be less harmful. Railroad v. Young, 33 Pa. St. 175; Eversfield v. Railroad, 3 DeG. & J. 286; Railroad v. Hannibal U. D. Co., 125 Mo. 82. The courts will hold the use public, unless it manifestly has no tendency to promote such use. Welton v. Dickson, 38 Neb. 767. When the use is public, the judiciary can not inquire into the necessity or propriety of exercising the right of eminent domain. Railroad v. Town of Lake, 71 Ill. 333. (3) The test of what constitutes a public use is the following: Will all persons upon demand be served by a corporation which claims to be fulfilling a public purpose, or use, and upon refusal can they enforce that demand in the courts? Varner v. Martin, 21 W.Va. 534; Canal Co. v. Bouleam, 9 W. & S. 27; Wood v. Railroad, 8 Phila. 94; Railroad v. Railroad, 41 F. 297; Mills, Em. Dom., sec. 14; De Camp v. Railroad, 47 N. J. L. 44; Board of Health v. Van Hoesen, 87 Mich. 533; Bonaparte v. Railroad, Bald. (C. C.) 205; Market Co. v. Railroad, 142 Pa. St. 580; Railroad v. Railroad, 41 Minn. 461; Belcher Sugar Ref. Co. v. St. Louis Elevator Co., 82 Mo. 121; Lombard v. Stearns, 4 Cush. 60. If all of the people of a state or all of the people of a small community have the right to demand and receive service, which that corporation holds itself out to the public as intending and able to furnish, then the use or purpose is a public use, notwithstanding the fact that but a small portion of the people of a state or but one or two people in a small community desire to avail themselves of the privilege. Talbot v. Hudson, 16 Gray (Mass.), 417; Railroad v. Railroad, supra; Railroad v. Moss, 23 Cal. 324; De Camp v. Railroad, supra; Bloomfield N. G. L. Co. v. Richardson, 63 Barb. 448; Fanning v. Gilliland (Ore.), 61 P. 636; Hartwell v. Armstrong, 19 Barb. 166; Aldridge v. Railroad, 2 Stew. & Par. 199; Gilmer v. Lime Point, 18 Cal. 229; Coster v. Tide Water Co., 18 N.J.Eq. 54; O'Reilly v. Kankakee V. D. Co., 32 Ind. 169; Riche v. Bar Harbor Water Co., 28 Alb. L. J. 498; Phillips v. Watson, 63 Iowa 28; Railroad v. Railroad, 32 N.J.Eq. 755; Railroad v. Porter, 43 Minn. 527; Ross v. Davis, 97 Ind. 79; Lindsay Irrigation Co. v. Mehrtens, 97 Cal. 676; Pocantico Water Works v. Bird, 130 N.Y. 249; Miller v. Craig, 11 N.J.Eq. 175; Seely v. Sebastian, 4 Ore. 27. (4) Public use and public convenience are interchangeable terms. 1 Pa. St. 309; Talbot v. Hudson, 16 Gray 417. The term "public use" is flexible, and not limited to uses known at the time a state constitution was adopted. All useful improvements may be encouraged by the exercise of eminent domain. Any use of anything which will satisfy a reasonable public demand for facilities of travel, for transmission of intelligence, or of commodities would be a public use. Turnp. Co. v. News Co., 43 N. J. L. 384; Railroad v. Greely, 17 N.H. 47; Railroad v. Tel. Co., 53 Ala. 211; Mining Co. v. Seawell, 11 Nev. 394; Paxton & H. Irrig. Canal & Land C. v. Farmers & M. Irrig. & Land Co., 45 Neb. 884, 29 L. R. A. 853, 64 N.W. 343; Talbot v. Hudson, 16 Gray, 417; Township Bd. of Edu. v. Hackmann, 48 Mo. 243; M. & G. Road Co. v. Renfroe, 58 Mo. 265; Lafayette Pl. Road Co. v. Railroad, 13 Ind. 90, 74 Am. Dec. 246; Higginson v. Nahant, 11 Allen 530; Southwest Pennsylvania Pipe Lines v. Directors of Poor, 1 Pa. Co. Ct. 460; Mount Washington Road Co.'s Petition, 35 N.H. 134; Balch v. Essex County Commrs., 103 Mass. 106; St. Louis County Ct. v. Griswold, 58 Mo. 175; Re Towanda Bridge Co., 91 Pa. 216; Commrs. of Parks and Boulevards v. Moesta, 91 Mich. 149, 51 N.W. 903; Kansas City v. Ward, 134 Mo. 172, 35 S.W. 600; Hazen v. Essex Co., 12 Cush. 475; Re United States, 96 N.Y. 227; Calking v. Baldwin, 4 Wend. 667, 21 Am. Dec. 168; Willyard v. Hamilton, 7 Ohio, pt. 2, p. 111, 30 Am. Dec. 195; Re Townsend, 39 N.Y. 171; Canal Co. v. Key, 3 Cranch C. C. 599; Re Main & H. Street Canal, 50 How. Pr. 70; Morris Canal & Bkg. Co. v. State, 24 N. J. L. 62; Canal Co. v. Garrity, 115 Ill. 155, 3 N.E. 448; Atty. Gen. v. Telephone Co., L. R. 6 Q. B. Div. 244; Telephone Co. v. Keesey, 5 Pa. Dist. R. 366; Transp. Co. v. Oil & Coal Co., 5 W.Va. 382; Consumers' Gas Trust Co. v. Huntsinger, 14 Ind.App. 166, 42 N.E. 640; Pittsburgh's Appeal, 115 Pa. 4, 7 A. 778; Natural Gaslight Co. v. Richardson, 63 Barb. 437; State ex rel. v. Oil, Gas & Min. Co., 120 Ind. 581, 6 L. R. A. 579, 22 N.E. 778; Johnston v. People's Natural Gas Co. (Pa.), 5 Cent. Rep. 564; Oury v. Goodwin (Ariz.), 26 P. 376; Canal & Improv. Co. v. Kenilworth Canal Co., 3 Colo.App. 244, 32 P. 860; Lieberman v. Railway, 141 Ill. 140, 30 N.E. 544; Railroad v. Wilson, 17 Ill. 123; Railroad v. Muder, 49 Mo. 165; Railroad v. Elliott, 5 Nev. 358; Transp. Co. v. Mansfield Comrs., 23 N. J. L. 510, 57 Am. Dec. 409; Railroad v. Raymond, 53 Cal. 223; Railroad v. Met. Gaslight Co., 5 Hun 201, 63 N.Y. 326; Boyd v. Negley, 40 Pa. 377; Phillips v. Watson, 63 Iowa 28, 18 N.W. 659; De Camp v. Railroad, 47 N. J. L. 43, 518, 4 A. 318; Re Railroad, 77 N.Y. 248; Eldridge v. Smith, 34 Vt. 484; Railroad v. Davis, 43 N.Y. 137; Fisher v. Railroad, 104 Ill. 323; Reusch v. Railroad, 57 Iowa 687, 11 N.W. 647; United States v. Oregon R. & Nav. Co., 9 Sawy. 61, 16 F. 524; Haldeman v. Railroad, 50 Pa. 425; Bowman v. Wathen, 2 McLean, 376; Arnold v. Bridge Co., 1 Duv. 372; Young v. Buckingham, 5 Ohio 485; St. Louis v. St. Louis Gaslight Co., 70 Mo. 69; Egyptian Levee Co. v. Hardin, 27 Mo. 495, 72 Am. Dec. 276; Mithoff v. Carrollton, 12 La. Ann. 185; Cottrell v. Myrick, 12 Maine 222; Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 8 S.Ct. 273; Anderson v. Kerns Draining Co., 14 Ind. 199, 77 Am. Dec. 63; Patterson v. Mississippi & R. River Boom Co., 3 Dill. 465, 98 U.S. 403; Cotton v. Mississippi & R. River Boom Co., 22 Minn. 372; Re Burns, 155 N.Y. 23, 49 N.E. 246; Joplin Consol. Min. Co. v. Joplin, 124 Mo. 129, 27 S.W. 406; Hildreth v. Lowell, 11 Gray. 345; Lumbard v. Stearns, 4 Cush. 60; Wayland v. Middlesex County Commrs., 4 Gray. 500; Fleming's Appeal, 65 Pa. 444; Overman Silver Min. Co. v. Corcoran, 15 Nev. 147; Hand Gold Min. Co. v. Parker, 59 Ga. 419; Belcher Sugar Ref. Co. v. St. Louis Grain El. Co., 10 Mo.App. 401; Illinois & St. L. R. & Canal Co. v. St. Louis, 2 Dill. 70; Pearson v. Johnson, 54 Miss. 259; Pittsburgh v. Scott, 1 Pa. St. 309; New Central Coal Co. v. George's Creek Coal & I. Co., 37 Md. 537; Ryan v. Louisville & N. Terminal Co., 102 Tenn. 111, 50 S.W. 744; Lyon v. McDonald, 78 Tex. 71, 14 S.W. 261; Twelfth Street Market Co. v. Railroad, 142 Pa. 580, 21 A. 902, 989; Re Girard College Grounds, 10 Phila. 145; University of Minnesota v. Railroad, 36 Minn. 447, 31 N.W. 936; Railroad v. Chicago, 140 Ill. 309, 29 N.E. 1109; Railroad v. Chicago, 149 Ill. 457, 37 N.E. 78, 166 U.S. 266, 17 S.Ct. 581; Lewis Em. Domain, sec. 266; Railroad v. Chicago, 148 Ill. 509, 37 N.E. 88, 91; Railroad v. Chicago, 151 Ill. 348, 37 N.E. 842; Railroad v. Chicago, 138 Ill. 453, 28 N.E. 740; Railroad v. Railroad, 30 Ohio St. 604; Railroad v. Railroad, 105 Ill. 388, 44 Am. Rep. 799; Railroad v. Lake, 71 Ill. 333; Railroad v. Railroad, 97...

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