Ft Smith Light Traction Co v. Bourland, 220

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRANDEIS
Citation69 L.Ed. 631,45 S.Ct. 249,267 U.S. 330
PartiesFT. SMITH LIGHT & TRACTION CO. v. BOURLAND et al., City Com'rs. 1
Docket NumberNo. 220,220
Decision Date02 March 1925

Messrs. R. M. Campbell, of Chicago, Ill., and Joseph M. Hill and Henry L. Fitzhugh, both of Ft. Smith, Ark., for plaintiff in error.

Mr. George W. Dodd, of Ft. Smith, Ark., for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Ft. Smith Light & Traction Company owns and operates in that city a street railway system with about 22 miles of line. Included in the system is a line extending, for a third of a mile, on Greenwood avenue. Under the law of Arkansas, a street railway is not permitted to abandon any part of its line without leave of the city commission which exercise the powers of a public utility commission. The company applied to that board for leave to abandon the line on Greenwood avenue because it was, and would be, unremunerative. It appeared, among other things, that the city had concluded to change the grade of Greenwood avenue; that in accepting its franchise the company had agreed to conform to the city ordinances; that these required a street railway, in case of any change in the grade of a street, to make the grade of the tracks conform thereto; that the cost of so relaying the tracks on Greenwood avenue was estimated at $11,000; that the allocated daily earnings of this small part of the system were $2.40, the cost of operating it $8.25; and that the total net earnings of the system in 1922 were $16,000, which amount is about 1.7 per cent. of $934,540, the estimated value of the property. The request to abandon the Greenwood avenue line was denied. This suit was then brought in a court of the state to set aside the order on the ground among others, that it deprived the company of its property in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The trial court denied the relief sought. Its judgment was affirmed by the highest court of the state. 160 Ark. 1, 254 S. W. 481. The case is here on writ of error under section 237 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1214).

The Greenwood avenue line had been in operation nearly 20 years. No change in conditions had supervened which required the commission to permit the abandonment, unless it were the fact that this particular part of the system was being operated at a loss; that continued operation would involve practical rebuilding of that part of the line; that such rebuilding would entail a large expenditure; and that the system as a whole was not earning a fair return upon the value of the property used and useful in the business. The order complained of does not deal with rates. Nor does it involve the question of the reasonableness of service over a particular line. Compare Atlantic...

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  • Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Public Service Commission, Civ. No. 1879.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 10 Mayo 1948
    ...adequate facilities for transportation which it is the primary duty of a railroad to provide. Fort Smith Light & Traction Co. v. Bourland, 267 U.S. 330, 45 S.Ct. 249, 69 L.Ed. 631; see also, Southern R. Co. v. Public Service Commission, supra. The basis of the rule is said to be that althou......
  • Mississippi Railroad Commission v. Mobile & O. R. Co., 27479
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 7 Octubre 1929
    ...U.S. 258, 68 L.Ed. 667; Interstate Commerce Commission v. United States, 260 U.S. 32, 67 L.Ed. 112; Fort Smith L. & T. Co. v. Bourland, 267 U.S. 330, 69 L.Ed. 631. Even if the court has jurisdiction to enjoin said order yet the appellees have not made a sufficient showing to justify an exer......
  • State Ex Rel. Daniel v. Brd. River Power Co, 12698.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 9 Julio 1929
    ...in this case. In support of this position attention is also called to the following authorities: Fort Smith Light & T. Co. v. Bourland, 267 U. S. 330, 45 S. Ct. 249, 69 L. Ed. 631; Milwaukee Co. v. State of Wisconsin, 252 U. S. 100, 40 S. Ct. 306, 64 L. Ed. 476, 10 A. L. R. 892; Chesapeake ......
  • Alabama Public Service Commission v. Southern Ry Co, 395
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 21 Mayo 1951
    ...& Power Co. v. Reynolds, 244 U.S. 574, 37 S.Ct. 705, 61 L.Ed. 1325; Fort Smith Light & Traction Co. v. Bourland, 267 Page 353 U.S. 330, 45 S.Ct. 249, 69 L.Ed. 631; see Northern Pacific R. Co. v. North Dakota, 236 U.S. 585, 600, 35 S.Ct. 429, 434, 59 L.Ed. 735. Unlike a department store or a......
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