Copeland v. Leathers

Decision Date17 November 1949
Docket Number16874.
Citation56 S.E.2d 530,206 Ga. 280
PartiesCOPELAND v. LEATHERS, Sol. Gen.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied Dec. 1, 1949.

Syllabus by the Court.

1. The act approved March 8, 1945, Ga.L.1945, p. 326, is not because in its body it provides for the enjoining of a licensee thereunder from further operating the business therein referred to, violative of article 3, section 7 paragraph 8 of the Constitution of this State, Code Ann. § 2-1908, as containing matter different from that expressed in its title, since the injunctive relief thus provided for is entirely harmonious with the main idea and purpose of the act as expressed in the title.

2. The owner and operator of a tourist camp, the operation of which is regulated by the act of 1945, Ga.L.1945, p. 326, is chargeable with the duty of providing, furnishing, and keeping on the premises a book or other permanent record for the registration of guests, and for securing from each guest the information prescribed by Code Ann.Supp. § 52-308, and a failure so to do by such proprietor or his agents, servants or employees constitutes a violation of the provisions of the said act within the meaning of Code Ann.Supp. § 52-9911.

(a) 'The principal shall be bound for the care, diligence, and fidelity of his agent in his business, and hence he shall be bound for the neglect and fraud of his agent in the transaction of such business.'

3. For the reasons pointed out in the corresponding division of the opinion, the trial court did not err in overruling the objections and admitting the documentary evidence there referred to.

4. The trial court did not err in restraining the defendant from further operating the tourist cabins referred to and described in the petition.

Roy Leathers, as Solicitor-General of the Stone Mountain Circuit, brought his petition in the Superior Court of Clayton County, Georgia, against J. T. Copeland, alleging in substance that: the defendant is the owner and operator of a certain tourist camp and cabin camp, restaurant and cafe, and dancing place, known as Silver Slipper, located on Highway 42 outside the limits of any city or town in the County of Clayton; that the said place of business is being operated, and business at said place is being carried on by the defendant himself, and through his agents, servants, and employees; that the business engaged in by the defendant is that of renting cabins to guests and other persons for lodging, and serving food and drinks to be consumed upon the premises; that the defendant by himself and through his agents, servants and employees who have had charge of the register kept at said place for the registering of guests and other persons occupying the cabin camps and tourist camps, have knowingly written or have knowingly permitted to be written the incorrect license numbers of the automobiles transporting such persons and guests as have occupied said tourist camps and cabin camps, and have failed to write or caused to be written the true and correct license number of motor vehicles transporting the guests and other persons to said place for the purpose of occupying said tourist camps and cabin camps; and that the defendant by himself and through his agents, servants, and employees, has knowingly failed to write or caused to be written, in and upon the register kept at said place of business for the registration of guests and other persons occupying said cabins, the true and correct name of the manufacturer of said motor vehicle used in transporting the guests and other persons registering as guests and occupying cabins at said place of business.

The petition prayed: (a) that process issue; (b) that the defendant be served with a copy of the petition and order; (c) that the defendant be temporarily enjoined from conducting and carrying on the business at the place alleged, either by himself or indirectly through his agents, servants, and employees; (d) that a hearing be had; (e) that upon the hearing the defendant be permanently enjoined from conducting and carrying on the business as alleged; and (f) for other and further relief.

To this petition the defendant filed two demurrers, but the only grounds of demurrer argued and insisted upon by counsel for the plaintiff in error in the briefs are the general grounds numbered 1 in both demurrers and ground 2 of the second demurrer, which grounds were (1) that the petition sets out no cause of action; (2) the plaintiff's petition fails to set forth a legal cause of action cognizable either in law or equity against the defendant; and (3) that the statute upon which said proceeding and petition is based is unconstitutional and void, for that said statute contains subject-matter different from that which is expressed in the title thereof in violation of the Constitution article 3, § 7, par. 8, of Georgia, Code Ann. § 2-1908, which provides: 'No law shall pass which refers to more than one subject matter, or contains matter different from what is expressed in the title thereof', in that there is nothing in the title to said act with reference to providing penalties other than against persons who operate such establishments for immoral purposes, or who violate other provisions of said act in the operation of restaurants, cafes, or places where food and/or drinks are sold; that no reference is made in said title to any other penalties, and particularly to the section undertaking to prove for the issuance of an injunction against persons operating an establishment such as is herein attempted.

The trial court overruled the defendant's demurrers and to this judgment the defendant excepts.

The defendant by his answer admitted that he was the owner and operator of the tourist camp and cabin camp, restaurant and cafe, and dance place, known as Silver Slipper, located on Highway 42 outside the limits of any city or town in the County of Clayton; that the place of business was being operated by the defendant by himself and through his agents, servants, and employees; and that the business engaged in was that of renting cabins to guests and other persons for lodging, and serving food and drinks to be consumed upon the premises. All other allegations of the petition were denied.

On the hearing two members of a former grand jury of Clayton County were sworn as witnesses and testified that they, in company with a named county police officer, went to the place of business of the defendant, and secured from him his registration records in the form of cards upon which guests had registered. It was stipulated that these records were secured from the defendant without any subpoena or search warrant, and that, upon demand for his registration record, the cards were delivered to them by the defendant, and that they were the original cards from the place of business of the defendant known as Silver Slipper. The plaintiff Solicitor-General, testified that he had 2400 of the cards which were turned over to him by the grand jurors who secured them from the Silver Slipper; that he had examined all of the 2400 cards; that none of them had entered thereon the name of the manufacturer or make of the automobile; and that 225 of the registration cards have no letters thereon from the license plate or tags of the automobiles, but have only numbers thereon, without giving any information as to what initial the tag or license plate bore, and what State the tag or license plate was from. Ten of the cards were admitted in evidence, over the objection of counsel for defendant, the grounds of which objection will be referred to in the opinion. This witness testified that the 10 cards offered were similar to the 2400 other cards, with the exception that some of them do have a number, but that none of them has the make or name of the manufacturer of the automobile that brought the passengers to the place.

The defendant offered no evidence.

The trial court took the case under consideration and thereafter entered the following order and judgment: Restraining Order: After consideration it is ordered and adjudged that the restraining orders heretofore granted be, and are, continued in force and effect, and defendants are restrained from operating, renting, selling, or otherwise conducting tourist cabins commercially or for public use.'

To the judgment overruling the objections to the admission of the registration cards and admitting them in evidence, and to the judgment granting a restraining order, the defendant also excepted.

Young H. Fraser, Atlanta, Ralph R. Quillian, Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Roy Leathers, Sol. Gen., Decatur, for defendant in error.

HAWKINS, Justice (after stating the foregoing facts.)

1. The only grounds of demurrer argued and insisted upon in the briefs of counsel for the plaintiff in error are the general grounds, and ground 2 of the second demurrer.

The title of the act under which this proceeding was instituted Ga.L.1945, p. 326, is as follows: 'An Act to license and regulate the operation of road houses, cabin camps, tourist camps and public dance halls; to provide for the registration of guests; to provide for inspection by State and county health officers; and to provide penalties for persons, operating cabins, tourist camps, and road houses for...

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