Am. Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, No. 1108.

Docket NºNo. 1108.
Citation199 A. 261
Case DateMay 06, 1938
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont
199 A. 261

AMERICAN STEEL & IRON CO.
v.
TAFT et al.

No. 1108.

Supreme Court of Vermont. Windham.

May 6, 1938.


199 A. 262

Appeal in Chancery, Windham County; Alfred L. Sherman, Chancellor.

Suit by the American Steel & Iron Company against Charles Taft and others to enjoin interference with the removal of rails, accessories, and ties by defendants through whose property the railroad passed. Decree for plaintiff, and defendants appeal.

Affirmed.

Argued before POWERS, C. J., and SLACK, MOULTON, SHERBURNE, and BUTTLES, JJ.

Frank E. Barber, E. W. Gibson, Jr., and F. Elliott Barber, Jr., all of Brattleboro, for appellants. Neil D. Clawson and Harold E. Whitney, both of Brattleboro, for appellee.

SHERBURNE, Justice.

The plaintiff has purchased from the state of Vermont, the owner of the West River Railroad, the rails, rail accessories, and ties on the greater part of the length of the railroad, and seeks to enjoin the defendants, separate owners of lands through which the railroad passes, from interfering with the remsval of such rails, accessories, and ties. The bill alleges that some of the defendants have notified the plaintiff that they claim that the right of way and materials upon their lands belong to them, and that they have forbidden the plaintiff from entering upon the railroad right of way to remove the rails and materials; that all of the defendants have erected signs forbidding the removal of any material from the right of way; that some of the defendants have threatened to do violence to the employees, agents, and servants of the plaintiff if they enter their lands to remove such property; that some have placed barriers and obstructions upon the right of way; and that one defendant has removed certain of such rails outside of the right of way. No concerted action upon the part of the defendants is charged. The bill also alleges that the state of Vermont has not abandoned the rights of way or easements which it acquired from the West River Railroad Company, and has never abandoned the rails and other chattels thereof. The defendants jointly and severally demurred to the bill of complaint. In the final decree the demurrer was overruled, the bill adjudged sufficient, and the temporary injunction made permanent; from which the defendants have appealed.

The principal ground of demurrer argued here is that there is no equity in the complaint because the plaintiff has a full, adequate, and complete remedy at law. This necessitates a determination as to whether the property in question is such that the plaintiff has an adequate remedy in replevin or trover.

We agree with the defendants that the tracks, railroad structures, and other railroad equipment do not become a part of the realty and may be removed by the railroad company or its assigns on abandonment of the right of way, or within a reasonable time thereafter. Jones v. Southern R. Co., 5 Cir., 285 F. 19; Northern Central R. Co. v. Canton Co., 30 Md. 347; Wagner v. Cleveland & T. R. Co., 22 Ohio St. 563, 10 Am.Rep. 770; Hatton v. Kansas City, etc., R. Co., 253 Mo. 660, 162 S.W. 227; Talley v. Drumheller, 143 Va. 439, 130 S.E. 385, 388. See, also, Farrar v. Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry., 162 Tenn. 313, 36 S.W.2d 95; St. Louis, K. & S. W. R. Co. v. Nyce, 61 Kan. 394, 59 P. 1040, 48 L.R.A. 241; Wiggins Ferry Co. v. Ohio & Miss. R. Co., 142 U.S. 396, 12 S.Ct. 188, 35 L.Ed. 1055; St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain R. Co. v. Willard, 61 Vt. 134, 17 A. 38, 21 L.R.A. 528, 15 Am.St.Rep. 886. In this last case the railroad company, instead of exercising its right of condemning the land for its road, entered upon it by the consent of the mortgagor in possession, the mortgage then being overdue, and constructed its road, but never acquired title nor paid for the land damages, nor made any agreement in respect thereto, and after it had operated its road for more than fifteen years without objection, for the first time instituted proceedings to have the land condemned. It was held that the defendant, who had purchased and foreclosed the mortgage against the mortgagor and the

199 A. 263

railroad, and who, after his decree had become absolute, claimed that it gave him title to the corpus of the railroad itself, was not entitled to the improvements and could not have their value as damages, and that in the circumstances the maxim quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit, did not apply.

All of the above cases, either directly or by inference, treat lawfully erected railroad superstructures as chattels. In several they are said to be trade fixtures or in the...

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8 practice notes
  • Preseault v. U.S., Nos. 93-5067
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • November 5, 1996
    ...the easements in this case were abandoned by removal of tracks. The Court of Federal Claims cited American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 199 A. 261 (Vt. 1938) for the proposition that a "railroad that ceased to operate on right-of-way and that sold tracks and equipment to second railro......
  • Parkway, Inc. v. United States Fire Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • October 28, 1943
    ...Union Traction Co., 207 U.S. 20, 39, 40, 28 S.Ct. 7, 52 L.Ed. 78,12 Ann.Cas. 757. In American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 199 A. 261, the owner of chattels maintained a bill to restrain five separate landowners from preventing their removal, where one issue was involved in al......
  • Price v. Rowell, No. 1308
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 2, 1960
    ...the traditional, and sometimes burdensome remedies provided in actions at law. See American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 474, 199 A. 261; Callahan v. Broadway National Bank of Chelsea, 286 Mass. 473, 190 N.E. 792, 794; Borchard, Declaratory Judgments, supra, at It appears this......
  • Texas & N. O. R. Co. v. Schoenfeld, No. 7567.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • January 22, 1941
    ...32 So. 150, 92 Am. Page 727 St.Rep. 612; Cayuga R. Co. v. Niles, 13 Hun, N.Y., 170; American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 199 A. 261; Hubbard v. Missouri Pac. R. Co., D.C., 288 F. 945; Placer County v. Lake Tahoe Ry. & Trans. Co., 58 Cal.App. 764, 209 P. 900; St. Louis, K.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Preseault v. U.S., Nos. 93-5067
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • November 5, 1996
    ...the easements in this case were abandoned by removal of tracks. The Court of Federal Claims cited American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 199 A. 261 (Vt. 1938) for the proposition that a "railroad that ceased to operate on right-of-way and that sold tracks and equipment to second railro......
  • Parkway, Inc. v. United States Fire Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • October 28, 1943
    ...Union Traction Co., 207 U.S. 20, 39, 40, 28 S.Ct. 7, 52 L.Ed. 78,12 Ann.Cas. 757. In American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 199 A. 261, the owner of chattels maintained a bill to restrain five separate landowners from preventing their removal, where one issue was involved in al......
  • Price v. Rowell, No. 1308
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • March 2, 1960
    ...the traditional, and sometimes burdensome remedies provided in actions at law. See American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 474, 199 A. 261; Callahan v. Broadway National Bank of Chelsea, 286 Mass. 473, 190 N.E. 792, 794; Borchard, Declaratory Judgments, supra, at It appears this......
  • Texas & N. O. R. Co. v. Schoenfeld, No. 7567.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • January 22, 1941
    ...32 So. 150, 92 Am. Page 727 St.Rep. 612; Cayuga R. Co. v. Niles, 13 Hun, N.Y., 170; American Steel & Iron Co. v. Taft, 109 Vt. 469, 199 A. 261; Hubbard v. Missouri Pac. R. Co., D.C., 288 F. 945; Placer County v. Lake Tahoe Ry. & Trans. Co., 58 Cal.App. 764, 209 P. 900; St. Louis, K.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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