Ada County ex rel. State v. Bottolfsen

Decision Date21 December 1939
Docket Number6755
Citation97 P.2d 599,61 Idaho 64
PartiesADA COUNTY, a Political Subdivision of the State of Idaho, BEN S. EASTMAN, SAM T. DAVIS, CLAUDE R. DAVIS, HARRY K. FRITCHMAN and W. E. PIERCE, Plaintiffs, v. C. A. BOTTOLFSEN, Governor of the State of Idaho, J. W. TAYLOR, Attorney General of the State of Idaho, GEORGE H. CURTIS, Secretary of State of the State of Idaho, CALVIN WRIGHT, State Auditor of the State of Idaho, and MYRTLE P. ENKING, State Treasurer of the State of Idaho, Being and Constituting the State Board of Equalization of the State of Idaho, Defendants
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

TAXATION-STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION-JURISDICTION-REVIEW-WRIT OF REVIEW JUDGMENT-RES JUDICATA.

1. The State Board of Equalization in performing its duties including the assessment of the operating property of a railroad, exercises judicial functions, and the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to review the action of the board to determine whether it has exceeded its jurisdiction. (I. C A., secs. 13-202, 61-601.)

2. The statute requiring the operating property of all railroads to be assessed for taxation exclusively by the Board of Equalization vests original jurisdiction in the board to determine whether property is operating property within statutory definition, and persons objectng to an assessment on ground that property assessed was not operating property do not have an adequate and speedy remedy of prohibition open to them, but they may apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of review. (I. C. A., secs. 13-202, 61-113, 61-601, 61-603; Const., art. 5, sec. 9.)

3. Where a county's application for a writ to review the action of the Board of Equalization in assessing railroad lands as operating property for taxation contained no reference to an action in the federal courts involving a controversy between railroad and county with respect to assessment, sufficiency of application could not be challenged by demurrer on ground that matters contained therein had been adjudicated in that action.

4. The judgment in a federal case involving a controversy between a railroad and a county with respect to the assessment of its property for taxation was not res judicata of application by county for a writ to review the action of the Board of Equalization assessing railroad lands as operating property where board and current members thereof were not parties to action in federal court, and there was no privity between members and railroad.

5. A judgment obtained in one action is not conclusive in another unless it appears that the judgment was rendered in an action between the same parties or between those in privity with parties to the former action.

6. A "writ of review" brings up the record of the tribunal, board, or body whose acts are to be examined, and it is issued to review the law applicable to the case instead of examining the facts, except in so far as an examination of the facts is necessary in the determination of the single question of jurisdiction. (I. C. A., sec. 13-202.)

7. On application for a writ of review, the sole business of the Supreme Court is to inquire into the single question of jurisdiction. (I. C. A., sec. 13-202.)

Original application for a writ of review. Writ granted.

Writ issued.

Kenneth O'Leary, Willis C. Moffatt and Maurice H. Greene, for plaintiffs.

This court may review acts of the State Board of Equalization in excess of its jurisdiction, there being no appeal and no plain, speedy or adequate remedy. (I. C. A., sec. 13-202; Const., art. 5, sec. 9.)

In determining whether property is assessable by it as operating property of a line of railroad, the State Board of Equalization exercises a judicial function. (Orr v. State Board of Equalization, 3 Idaho 190, 28 P. 416; Northwest Light etc. Co. v. Alexander, 29 Idaho 557, 160 P. 1106.)

The State Board of Equalization has no jurisdiction to assess unoperating property of a line of railroad. (I. C. A., sec. 61-601; Oregon Short Line R. Co. v. Gooding, 6 Idaho 773, 59 P. 821; Chicago M. & St. Paul Ry. Co. v. Kootenai County, 33 Idaho 234, 192 P. 562; Oregon Short Line R. Co. v. Yeates, 2 Idaho 397, 17 P. 457.)

There is authority for this court reviewing acts of the State Board of Equalization in excess of its jurisdiction. (Orr v. State Board of Equalization, supra; Pocatello v. Ross, 51 Idaho 395, 6 P.2d 481; Northwest Light etc. Co. v. Alexander, supra.)

On an application for a writ of review only jurisdiction may be inquired into. (Coeur d'Alene Min. Co. v. Woods, 15 Idaho 26, 96 P. 210.)

An irregular exercise of jurisdiction is not ground for review. (Murphy v. Board of Equalization, 6 Idaho 745, 59 P. 715; Beus v. Terrell, 46 Idaho 635, 269 P. 593.)

The only defendant in a proceeding for a writ of review is the board, tribunal, or officer whose jurisdiction is questioned. (Marcus v. Commissioner of Public Safety, 255 Mass. 5, 150 N.E. 903; Quinchard v. Board of Trustees, 113 Cal. 664, 45 P. 856; 14 C. J. S. 205.)

J. W. Taylor, Attorney General, and R. W. Beckwith, Assistant Attorney General, for Defendants.

The State Board of Equalization has exclusive authority to assess all rights of way and other operating property of railroad companies in this state. (Sec. 1463, Rev. Stats. 1887; sec. 61-113, I. C. A.; Ada County v. Oregon Short Line R. Co., 97 F.2d 666.)

A writ of certiorari will not issue to review proceedings of State Board of Equalization where at time writ is served assessed valuations have been certified to counties. (Sec. 61-611, I. C. A.; State ex rel. Northern P. Ry. Co. v. State Board, 140 Wash. 243, 248 P. 793; State v. Atwood, 195 Wis. 226, 218 N.W. 438; State v. Supervisors, 194 Wis. 456, 216 N.W. 144; secs. 61-801, 61-901, I. C. A.)

A matter that is res judicata will not be reviewed by this court. (Oregon Short Line R. Co. v. Ada County, 18 F.Supp. 842, affirmed Ada County v. Oregon Short Line R. Co., supra.)

Where a board or administrative body has made an order within its jurisdiction, such order, even if erroneous, cannot be reviewed by writ of review, or reversed, under such process. (First Nat. Bank v. Washington County, 17 Idaho 306, 105 P. 1053, 1054; Beus v. Terrill, 46 Idaho 635, 269 P. 593; Shumake v. Shumake, 17 Idaho 649, 107 P. 42; Utah Association of Credit Men v. Budge, 16 Idaho 751, 102 P. 390.)

Certiorari, or writ of review, does not lie to control, or review, the exercise of discretion by the State Board of Equalization. (Northwest L. & W. Co. v. Alexander, 29 Idaho 557, 160 P. 1106, 1112.)

H. B. Thompson, Amicus Curiae.

We have examined the points and authorities cited by the Attorney General at pages 3 to 7, inclusive, of his brief, and adopt those in fact and by reference.

HOLDEN, J. Ailshie, C. J., and Givens and Morgan, JJ., concur. Budge, J., sat at the hearing but did not participate in the decision.

OPINION

HOLDEN, J.

On the second Monday of August, 1939, the State Board of Equalization of the State of Idaho, pursuant to law, met for the purpose, among others, of assessing the operating property of railroads operating in Idaho. On that date and during the meeting of the Board, applicants filed with it a petition requesting the Board to refrain from assessing certain described tracts and parcels of land as operating property of the Oregon Short Line or Union Pacific Railroad Company, claiming such lands were assessable only by the County Assessor of Ada County. August 25, 1939, the Board, nevertheless, assessed the lands as operating property.

September 22, 1939, Ada County, a political subdivision of the state, by and through Maurice E. Adkins, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of that county, Ben S. Eastman, Sam T. Davis, Claude R. Davis, Harry K. Fritchman and W. E. Pierce filed an original application in this court for a writ to review and correct the action of the Board assessing the lands described therein as operating property, the application being supported by the affidavit of Maurice E. Adkins as Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Ada County. Following the filing of the application in this court notice was given the Board.

It is alleged in the application that Maurice E. Adkins is a duly elected, qualified and acting County Commissioner of Ada County and is chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of said county; that since the 2d day of January, 1939, C. A Bottolfsen, J. W. Taylor, George H. Curtis, Calvin Wright and Myrtle P. Enking have been and now are the duly elected, qualified and acting Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer, respectively, of the State of Idaho, and by virtue of their offices aforesaid are and constitute the State Board of Equalization of Idaho; that under and by virtue of the powers conferred upon the Board under the provisions of section 61-601, I. C. A., the Board is authorized and empowered to assess operating property of all railroads lying wholly or partly within the State of Idaho for taxation for state, county, city, town, village, school district and other purposes; that the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company and the Union Pacific Railroad Company are corporations organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Utah and authorized to do business in the State of Idaho in compliance with the laws of this state relating to foreign corporations doing business therein; that the Oregon Short Line is the owner of the several parcels of real property therein described, located in Boise, Ada county, Idaho; that the Short Line owns and operates a line of railroad lying partly within and partly without the state; that on or about the first day of January, 1936, the Short Line leased the line of railroad theretofore operated by it and certain other...

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