City of Mountain View v. Farmers' Telephone Exch. Co., No. 22491.

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtElder
Citation243 S.W. 153,294 Mo. 623
PartiesCITY OF MOUNTAIN VIEW v. FARMERS' TELEPHONE EXCH. CO. et al.
Decision Date07 June 1922
Docket NumberNo. 22491.
243 S.W. 153
294 Mo. 623
CITY OF MOUNTAIN VIEW
v.
FARMERS' TELEPHONE EXCH. CO. et al.
No. 22491.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
June 7, 1922.

[243 S.W. 154]

Appeal from Circuit Court, Texas County; L. B. Woodside, judge.

Suit by the City of Mountain View against the Farmers' Telephone Exchange Company and others. From a judgment of the Court of Appeals (224 S. W. 153) affirming a judgment of dismissal, plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Lamar & Lamar, of Houston, and Green & Green, of West Plains, for appellant.

W. N. Evans and O. L. Hayton, both of West Plains, for respondents.

ELDER, J.


This case has been certified to this court by the Springfield Court of Appeals by reason of an alleged conflict between the opinion rendered herein by the latter court and an opinion heretofore rendered by Division One of this court in the case of Holland Realty & Power Co. et al. v. City of St. Louis et al., 282 Mo. 180, 221 S. W. 51.

The opinion of the Springfield Court of Appeals, written by FARMINGTON, J., and fairly setting forth the facts involved, is as follows:

"Plaintiff, a city of the fourth class, filed its petition in the circuit court, seeking to enjoin defendant from erecting its poles, wires, etc., on and along the streets and alleys of the city. A temporary restraining order was issued. The venue was changed from Howell to Texas County, and on trial in the latter county the temporary injunction was dissolved, and plaintiff's bill dismissed, and plaintiff appealed.

"It is alleged that the defendant without authority entered and trespassed upon the streets and alleys of the city, dug and is digging holes, erecting poles, stringing wires, obstructing the streets, alleys, and sidewalks, to the great and irreparable damage of plaintiff; that plaintiff has notified defendant to desist from doing these things, but defendant continues in disregard of the notice. Defendant's answer avers that on March 1, 1910, it presented a petition or application to the chairman and members of the board of trustees of the then town of Mountain View asking for a permit to establish, construct, maintain, and operate a central office, and such poles and wires as might be necessary to carry on a telephone communication beween the subscribers and the residents and business houses of the town; that soon after presenting this petition it was returned, duly signed by the chairman of tile board of trustees, and that said chairman advised defendant that the permit prayed for had been granted by the board of trustees, and as evidence thereof the chairman of said board had signed said petition or application; that, relying on what defendant considered as a proper authority and permit, it proceeded at once to establish, construct, maintain, and operate a central office in the town of Mountain View, and erected poles, and strung wires, and did all other things necessary in the construction and operation of a telephone system, and operated said telephone system in said town with the full knowledge, consent, and acquiescence of the town officials and the inhabitants, and to their satisfaction until in the year 1916. That in 1916 an electric light plant was established in the then city of Mountain View, and that the wires of the light plant were in many instances strung in such close proximity to the telephone wires that the telephone service was impaired, and that not until then was there any complaint of consequence; that in order to improve the service rendered after the installation of the light plant, defendant attempted to erect its poles and wires on the opposite side of the street from the light poles and wires; and that defendant frequently requested the city to define its duties and rights by ordinance, but that this the said city failed and neglected to do; that the town and thereafter the city regularly levied and collected taxes from defendant. That by reason of the "knowledge of plaintiff that defendant had erected and was maintaining its telephone system in the town and afterwards the city for a period of nearly ten years, and that the town and thereafter the city officials, and inhabitants generally, were subscribers and patrons, and that plaintiff city had permitted and acquiesced in defendant expending large sums of money in installing and maintaining its telephone system for such a long period of time and having levied and collected taxes from defendant and having attempted in the first instance to give defendant a permit to enter, that because of these things plaintiff is estopped from denying the right of defendant to maintain its telephone system in said city, and to re-erect or move its poles and wires for the necessary maintenance of its telephone system, and that, unless defendant is permitted to continue the erection of the necessary poles and wires in said city, it will suffer irreparable injury and damage.

"The record shows unincorporated the defendant telephone company is an unincorporated association of farmers, in which a number of different neighborhoods are represented. The subscribers of each neighborhood designated one of their number as a director, and the directors of the various neighborhoods constituted the board that managed and conducted the telephone system. Each neighborhood line had a set of officers, and these looked after the collection of dues on their line. A patron in town was not a member of the association, but such patron built his own line, furnishing poles and wire, bought his telephone, and paid so much per month for connection and service. The board of managers controlled the location of poles and construction in general outside the city, and also had control and supervision of the exchange in the city. Each country line approached the exchange from a certain alley, some from the east and some from the west. It seems that there was no supervision by the company or the city of the construction of lines in the city, and as a consequence there was no uniformity in the size or length of poles, or in

243 S.W. 155

the manner of construction. As each town patron was required to furnish his own supplies, and use his own discretion as to how and where he constructed his line, it sometimes happened that two sets of poles were on the same side of the street. The record discloses that the lines in town were constructed in a haphazard fashion, without supervision, and naturally resulted in unsightly appearances, and perhaps in some instances to actual damage to the city's streets, and inconvenience to the general public.

"It appears that, when the chairman and board of trustees of the original town gave the permit for the telephone company to enter, that there was no action by the board as such, and no record of any kind made concerning the permit. The chairman of the board merely saw the members at their place of business or on the streets, and explained the matter of the application, and each one, so far at least as they were consulted, was willing for the company to enter the town. The chairman, after consulting with the individual members, signed the application, and returned it to the telephone company, and this application, signed in this fashion by the chairman, is all the authority that the telephone company ever had for entering the town. After the service got bad on account of the light plant construction, and complaints against the telephone company began to get serious, there was considerable negotiation and efforts made to settle the trouble. The telephone company drafted an ordinance acceptable to it, and submitted the same to the mayor and board of aldermen. This ordinance was not satisfactory, and was rejected. The city in turn submitted a proposed ordinance which would be acceptable to it, and the telephone company `rejected' this ordinance. Service was getting no better, and 'feeling' grew hostile. Some of defendant's agents were arrested for undertaking to set poles on the streets. The trouble finally resulted in this suit to enjoin.

"The only question here is the one of estoppel. Defendant concedes in effect that it has no franchise; but it urges that the course of conduct of the town, and afterwards the city towards it estops the city to prosecute this cause. The evidence shows that when this cause was commenced the telephone company had...

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30 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...in the present case. State ex inf. Shartel v. Mo. Util. Co., 331 Mo. 337, 53 S.W. (2d) 394; City of Mountain View v. Farmers Tel. Co., 294 Mo. 623, 243 S.W. 153; St. Joseph v. St. Joseph Term. Co., 268 Mo. 47, 186 S.W. 1080; State ex inf. Auto v. School District, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel.......
  • Van Houten v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., No. 19033.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 7, 1938
    ...56 S.W. (2d) 47, l.c. 50-51; Block v. Kinder, 93 S.W. (2d) 932, l.c. 932-933; City of Mountain View v. Farmers' Telephone Exch. Co., 294 Mo. 623, l.c. 636, 243 S.W. 153, l.c. 157; State ex rel. Bixby v. St. Louis, 241 Mo. 231, l.c. 239-240, 145 S.W. 801, l.c. 803-804; Lyons v. National Sure......
  • Niedringhaus v. Investment Co., No. 29624.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 1, 1931
    ...is available against trustees and estoppel against former trustees is good against successor trustees. Mountain View v. Telephone Co., 294 Mo. 623. (c) Voting trusts, such as the pooling agreements of March 11, 1911, and November 16, 1916, are valid and do not violate public policy. Carnage......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...Cupples Station L.H. & P. Co., 283 Mo. 115; State ex inf. Otto v. School Dist., 284 S.W. 135; Mountain View v. Farmers Tel. Exch. Co., 294 Mo. 623, 243 S.W. 153; State v. Oconto Elec. Co., 165 Wis. 467, 161 N.W. 789; People v. City of Le Roy, 293 Ill. 278, 127 N.E. 695; People v. Jackso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...in the present case. State ex inf. Shartel v. Mo. Util. Co., 331 Mo. 337, 53 S.W. (2d) 394; City of Mountain View v. Farmers Tel. Co., 294 Mo. 623, 243 S.W. 153; St. Joseph v. St. Joseph Term. Co., 268 Mo. 47, 186 S.W. 1080; State ex inf. Auto v. School District, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel.......
  • Van Houten v. K.C. Pub. Serv. Co., No. 19033.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 7, 1938
    ...56 S.W. (2d) 47, l.c. 50-51; Block v. Kinder, 93 S.W. (2d) 932, l.c. 932-933; City of Mountain View v. Farmers' Telephone Exch. Co., 294 Mo. 623, l.c. 636, 243 S.W. 153, l.c. 157; State ex rel. Bixby v. St. Louis, 241 Mo. 231, l.c. 239-240, 145 S.W. 801, l.c. 803-804; Lyons v. National Sure......
  • Niedringhaus v. Investment Co., No. 29624.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 1, 1931
    ...is available against trustees and estoppel against former trustees is good against successor trustees. Mountain View v. Telephone Co., 294 Mo. 623. (c) Voting trusts, such as the pooling agreements of March 11, 1911, and November 16, 1916, are valid and do not violate public policy. Carnage......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...Cupples Station L.H. & P. Co., 283 Mo. 115; State ex inf. Otto v. School Dist., 284 S.W. 135; Mountain View v. Farmers Tel. Exch. Co., 294 Mo. 623, 243 S.W. 153; State v. Oconto Elec. Co., 165 Wis. 467, 161 N.W. 789; People v. City of Le Roy, 293 Ill. 278, 127 N.E. 695; People v. Jackso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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