Bowen v. Department of Social Sec., 28649.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Citation14 Wn.2d 148,127 P.2d 682
Docket Number28649.
Decision Date07 July 1942

127 P.2d 682

14 Wn.2d 148


No. 28649.

Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.

July 7, 1942

Proceeding by Alva M. Bowen against the Department of Social Security of the State of Washington and its acting director. From an adverse judgment, defendant appeals.


SIMPSON, J., dissenting. [127 P.2d 683]

Appeal from Superior Court, Grays Harbor County; Wm. E. Campbell, judge.

Smith Troy, R. C. Finley, Phil H. Gallagher, and Pat Guimont, all of Olympia, for appellant.

F. L. Morgan, of Hoquiam, for respondent.

BLAKE, Justice.

Prior to June 7, 1941, respondent was awarded a senior citizen grant of $34 a month under initiative 141, chapter 1, Laws of 1941, p. 3. On that date, conceiving he was entitled to $40 a month, respondent made a demand upon the director for 'a fair hearing' under the provisions of § 8, p. 7, of the act, which, among other things, provides: ' It shall be the duty of the department upon receipt of such notice to set a date for the fair hearing, such date to be not more than thirty days after receipt of notice.' (Italics ours.)

More than thirty days having elapsed without action upon the demand, respondent gave notice of appeal to the superior court of Grays Harbor county in accordance with the provisions of § 9, p. 8, of the act. The department interposed a motion to quash the notice of appeal because 'the court has no jurisdiction herein for the reason and upon the ground that the fair hearing provided in section 8, of chapter 1 of the Laws of 1941 has never been had herein.'

[14 Wn.2d 150] In the meanitime, presumably acting upon respondent's demand, the department held 'a fair hearing,' which resulted in an award of $40 a month to respondent. Thereafter, the court of Grays Harbor county entered an order dismissing the proceedings [127 P.2d 684] because it appeared 'from the records and files in the cause and statement of counsel for the defendant that subsequent to the time the plaintiff appealed to this Court the Department of Social Security reviewed the plaintiff's case and granted the plaintiff's contention in full, and that by reason of such facts there is no longer any issue between the parties hereto, * * *.' By the order, respondent was allowed an attorney's fee of $75 in accordance with § 9, p. 8, of the act. The department appeals from the order, asserting that the court had no jurisdiction of the appeal and, therefore, was without authority to do more than dismiss it on that ground.

Respondent moves to dismiss the appeal to this court for the reasons that (1) we are without jurisdiction to entertain it, because the amount in controversy is less than two hundred dollars; and (2) because the appeal concerns a matter of costs only.

Section 4, Art. IV, of the constitution, defining the jurisdiction of this court, provides that 'its appellate jurisdiction shall not extend to civil actions at law for the recovery of money or personal property when the original amount in controversy or the value of the property does not exceed the sum of two hundred dollars * * *.' (Italics ours.) Respondent maintains that this proceeding is a civil action at law in contemplation of the inhibition. With this view we cannot agree.

One of the basic factors in the interpretation of a constitution is the historical background which provoked its various provisions. 1 Cooley's Constitutional [14 Wn.2d 151] Limitations, 8th Ed., p. 133; 11 Am.Jur. 677, § 63; Codd v. McGoldrick Lbr. Co., 48 Idaho 1, 279 P. 298, 67 A.L.R. 580; People v. Harding, 53 Mich. 481, 19 N.W. 155; State v. Kees, 92 W.Va. 277, 114 S.E. 617, 27 A.L.R. 681.

In his work on Constitutional Limitations, Cooley wrote, p. 133: 'It is also a very reasonable rule that a State constitution shall be understood and construed in the light and by the assistance of the common law, and with the fact in view that its rules are still left in force.' And, again, as chief justice of the supreme court of Michigan, he said: 'And in seeking for its real meaning we must take into consideration the times and circumstances under which the state constitution was formed--the general spirit of the times and the prevailing sentiments among the people. Every constitution has a history of its own which is likely to be more or less peculiar; and unless interpreted in the light of this history is liable to be made to express purposes which were...

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13 cases
  • Hayes v. City of Seattle, 62820-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 17 d4 Abril d4 1997
    ...(1985) (strong bias toward requiring exhaustion before resort to the courts); Bowen v. Department of Social Security, 14 Wash.2d 148, 154, 127 P.2d 682 RCW 64.40.040 limits the filing of an action to "only within thirty days after all administrative remedies have been exhausted." RCW 64.40.......
  • State ex rel. Nielson v. Lindstrom, 7403
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 1 d4 Abril d4 1948
    ...was under and through its appellate jurisdiction. [191 P.2d 1015] In the case of Bowen v. Department of Social Security, 14 Wash.2d 148, 127 P.2d 682, 684, it is said: "At the time the constitution [State] was adopted, civil procedure was governed by the practice act of 1881. Code of 1881, ......
  • Witters v. State, Com'n for the Blind, 49673-1
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 4 d4 Outubro d4 1984
    ...State ex rel. PUD 1 v. Wylie, 28 Wash.2d 113, 127, 182 P.2d 706, 714 (1947); Bowen v. Department of Social Sec., 14 Wash.2d 148, 150, 127 P.2d 682, 684 (1942), Sears v. Western Thrift Stores, 10 Wash.2d 372, 382, 116 P.2d 756, 761 Page 648 Additional and even more convincing evidence about ......
  • Brown v. James, 4674.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 12 d1 Abril d1 2010
    ...225 F.2d 878 (9th Cir.1955); James v. Consol. Steel Corp., 195 S.W.2d 955 (Tex.Civ.App.1946); Bowen v. Dep't of Soc. Sec., 14 Wash.2d 148, 127 P.2d 682 (1942)) (footnotes omitted); 7 see also 2 Kenneth Culp Davis & J. Pierce, Jr., Administrative Law Treatise § 15 (3rd ed. 1994) (quoting Mye......
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