97 S.W. 908 (Mo. 1906), Vanderberg v. Kansas City, Missouri, Gas Co.

Citation:97 S.W. 908, 199 Mo. 455
Opinion Judge:LAMM, J.
Attorney:Burnham & Brewster for appellant. Gage, Ladd & Small for respondent.
Case Date:November 21, 1906
Court:Supreme Court of Missouri

Page 908

97 S.W. 908 (Mo. 1906)

199 Mo. 455

VANDERBERG, Appellant,



Supreme Court of Missouri, Division One

November 21, 1906

Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court. -- Hon. J. D. Slover, Judge.

Transferred to kansas city court of appeals.

Burnham & Brewster for appellant.

Gage, Ladd & Small for respondent.

This court has no jurisdiction. The amount in dispute is insufficient. The amount in dispute is not determined by the prayer of the petition, but by the record. State, etc., v. Gilmore, 106 Mo. 436; May v. Jarvis-Conklin Co., 138 Mo. 186; Wilson v. Russler, 162 Mo. 565; Anchor Milling Co. v. Walsh, 97 Mo. 287; Wolff v. Matthews, 98 Mo. 246; State ex rel. v. Gill, 107 Mo. 44; Rerchenbach v. United Masonic Assn., 112 Mo. 22; Kirchgraber v. Lloyd, 59 Mo.App. 59. First. Punitive damages could not be recovered. This was expressly so ruled in Miller v. Wilkesbarre Gas Co., 206 Pa. St. 254, a case "on all-fours" in this respect, where the gas company shut off one tenant's gas because he refused to pay a delinquent bill of prior tenant. Second. No actual damages were shown for failure to supply gas to that portion of the house occupied by plaintiff, her husband and family. Gas Co. v. Storage Co., 111 Mich. 401. Third. There was no legal evidence that anyone refused to rent plaintiff's rooms because of the absence of gas. She had rented them from May to February without gas, and her statement that certain persons said they would not rent them without gas after February 18th, was mere hearsay. Fourth. The undisputed testimony of plaintiff herself showed that the gas company put in a special meter in the house so that all tenants who wanted gas could have it, but that only one availed herself of the privilege, and there is no evidence that plaintiff informed the other applicants for rooms of this privilege, or that they knew of it. In fact, she must have led them to believe that they could not have gas, which was not the case. If the plaintiff has any cause of action, therefore, it is only for nominal damages, and the highest amount involved, on plaintiff's own theory, is only $ 161, which is much below the jurisdiction of this court.


[199 Mo. 457] LAMM, J.

On March 18, 1903, plaintiff sued defendant as a public service corporation engaged in manufacturing and vending gas for light and fuel in Kansas City, Missouri, and enjoying a monopoly in such business under a franchise granted it by said city. In a nutshell, her complaint is that at a certain time she was tenant and lessee (from month to month) of No. 1314 West 10th Street -- a rooming house. That said house was fitted with gas plumbing and connected with defendant's mains. That on her application on February 10, 1903, gas was turned on by defendant, and thereafter, on February 16, 1903, without excuse and maliciously, her gas was cut off. That on February 18th she again applied to defendant for gas, offering to make any deposit required by defendant and comply with all its reasonable rules and regulations, and was refused gas.

Plaintiff sets forth the elements of her damages thus...

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