Garrett Transfer & Storage Company v. Pfost, 6031

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtGIVENS, J.
Citation33 P.2d 743,54 Idaho 576
Docket Number6031
Decision Date03 November 1933
PartiesGARRETT TRANSFER & STORAGE COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant, v. EMMITT PFOST, Commissioner of Law Enforcement, State of Idaho, Respondent

33 P.2d 743

54 Idaho 576

GARRETT TRANSFER & STORAGE COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant,
v.

EMMITT PFOST, Commissioner of Law Enforcement, State of Idaho, Respondent

No. 6031

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 3, 1933


AUTOMOBILES-TRAILERS-LICENSE-STATUTES, CONSTRUCTION OF-CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-EQUITY-REMEDY AT LAW.

1. Suit in equity does not lie where plaintiff has plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law.

2. Auto transportation company operating trailer held subject to license fee for trailers (I. C. A., secs. 48-127 (h), 59-801 (e).

3. Constitutional provisions authorizing legislature to levy tax in proportion to value of property, and requiring taxes to be uniform, refer to taxation in ordinary sense, and are inapplicable to motor vehicle license or registration fees (I. C. A., sec. 48-101 et seq.; Const., art. 7, secs. 2, 5).

4. Uniform Registration Act applicable to motor vehicles held not objectionable on ground act embraces more than one subject (I. C. A., sec. 48-101 et seq.; Const., art. 3, sec. 16).

5. Where two acts relating to same subject are passed and approved on same day, they should be construed as single act.

6. Statute imposing license fee on trailers used by auto transportation company, in effect exempting all other trailers used by individuals or common carriers, held not to deprive auto transpor- [54 Idaho 577] tation company of equal protection of laws (I. C. A., sec. 48-127 (h); Const. U.S. , Amend. 14).

7. It will not be presumed from mere silence of legislative journals that legislature exceeded authority or disregarded constitutional requirements in passing statute, unless Constitution expressly requires journal to show action taken.

8. Statute imposing license fee on trailers used by auto transportation company held not invalid as double taxation (I. C. A., sec. 48-127 (h).

9. Statute imposing license fee on trailers used by auto transportation company held not invalid as imposing burden on interstate commerce (I. C. A., sec. 48-127 (h).

10. License fee imposed on trailers used by auto transportation company, although above cost of regulation, held not invalid, where proceeds go into highway fund (I. C. A., sec. 48-127 (h).

11. Question urged for first time on appeal will not be considered.

12. Gross revenue tax imposed on auto transportation companies held not unfair and discriminatory, notwithstanding exemptions (I. C. A., sec. 59-811).

13. Auto transportation company, not having pleaded amount or value of use of highways, held not entitled to assert invalidity of gross revenue tax on ground tax is not directly proportionate to use made of highways (I. C. A., sec. 59-811).

14. Court cannot assume that enforcement officials will construe or apply statute so as to render it obnoxious to federal Constitution.

15. Court has duty to construe law, if possible, in such way that it may be harmonized with Constitution.

16. Statutes providing for license fees for autostage trailers and semi-trailers, and imposing tax on gross operating revenue, as applied to auto transportation company doing both intrastate and interstate business, held not invalid as constituting interference with interstate commerce (I. C. A., secs. 48-127 (h), 59-811, 59-815).

APPEAL from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, for Bannock County. Hon. Robert M. Terrell, Judge.

Suit for injunction. Judgment for defendant. Affirmed.

Judgment affirmed; costs to respondent.

F. E. Tydeman, for Appellant.

The tax is not uniform.

Chapter 185, 1931 Sess. L., violates the provisions of article 7, section 2, and article 7, section 5, of the Constitution of the state of Idaho.

The apparent purpose of the law is to collect a tax for the use of the roads. The said chapter provides that trailers used generally shall be taxed according to weight. For trailers used in connection with an "auto stage" shall pay an additional tax based on carrying capacity.

Some of appellant's trailers upon which the tax is placed are used in interstate commerce. These cannot legally be taxed a flat tax regardless of the number of miles traveled in Idaho. (10 Am. & Eng. Ann. Cases, 101, 10 L. R. A., N. S., 625; Prouty v. Coyne, 55 F.2d 289.)

The law in effect is chapter 189, Session Laws of Idaho, 1931. Chapter 189 became effective March 16, 1931, and has never been amended or repealed. It does not provide for any tax on trailers. It amends section 1592 of the Compiled Statutes. Chapter 185 did not become effective until sixty days thereafter. It had no emergency clause. Chapter 189 had an emergency clause and became effective at once. The fact that it has an emergency clause indicates that it was more thoroughly studied and is the real intention of the legislature on the subject of whether trailers should have the extra tax. (Peavy v. McCombs, 26 Idaho 143, 140 P. 965; Heilig v. City Council, 7 Wash. 29, 34 P. 164; Perrault v. Robinson, 29 Idaho 267, 158 P. 1074.)

The classification is arbitrary. (Nutt v. Ellerbe, 56 F. 1058-1063.)

Trailers of equal weight can be and generally are used for equal mileage. There is no reasonable basis for taxing all trailers a certain amount and then adding to it for those used in connection with "auto stages."

The law violates article 1, section 13, of the state Constitution. ( State v. Crosson, 33 Idaho 140, 190 P. 922.)

The law was not passed in the manner provided by article 3, section 15, Idaho Constitution.

The three readings of the bill were mandatory, and no sufficient urgency existed for waiving such readings. (Cohn v. Kingsley, 5 Idaho 416, 49 P. 985, 38 L. R. A. 74.)

Chapter 185 is void in so far as it attempts to enforce the payment of a tax on trailers used exclusively in connection with auto transportation companies engaged in interstate commerce. The law violates article 1, section 8, of the federal Constitution. This section is commonly known as the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.

An interstate carrier must comply with local regulations for safety and traffic regulations but is exempt from any flat tax that taxes the operator regardless of the use made by him of the highways and any tax made that is not based upon the use to be made of the highways is unconstitutional. ( Sprout v. City of South Bend, 277 U.S. 163, 48 S.Ct. 502, 504, 72 L.Ed. 833, 62 A. L. R. 45; Prouty v. Coyne, 55 F.2d 289; American Transit Co. v. Philadelphia, 18 F.2d 991.)

Bert H. Miller, Attorney General, and Ariel L. Crowley, Assistant Attorney General, for Respondent.

The defense in event of prosecution for violation of statutes, that statutes are unconstitutional and void is an adequate remedy at law; where such defense is available injunctive relief may not be granted. (Nims v. Gilmore, 17 Idaho 609, 107 P. 79 (see cases therein cited).

The assaulted provisions of the motor vehicles registration act are not obnoxious to the state or federal Constitutions, in terms or effect. (In re Kessler, 26 Idaho 764, 146 P. 113, Ann. Cas. 1917A, 228, L. R. A. 1915D, 322; Curtis v. Pfost, 53 Idaho 1, 21 P.2d 73; Independent School Dist. v. Pfost, 51 Idaho 240, 4 P.2d 893, 84 A. L. R. 820.)

Chapter 185, 1931 Session Laws, does not violate section 16, article 3, of the Idaho Constitution. (Pioneer Irr. Dist. v. Bradley, 8 Idaho 310, 68 P. 295, 101 Am. St. 201; Boise City v. Baxter, 41 Idaho 368, 375, 238 P. 1029; Johnson v. Harrison, 47 Minn. 575, 50 N.W. 923, 28 Am. St. 382.)

The taxes imposed do not constitute "double taxation" so as to be constitutionally objectionable. (Smallwood v. Jeter, 42 Idaho 169, 244 P. 149; Sanger v. Lukens, 24 F.2d 229; 1 Cooley, Taxation, 226.)

The tax assaulted does not violate the interstate commerce provision of the United States Constitution. (Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 U.S. 610, 35 S.Ct. 140, 59 L.Ed. 385, 391; Kane v. New Jersey, 242 U.S. 160, 37 S.Ct. 30, 61 L.Ed. 222; Clark v. Poor, 274 U.S. 554, 47 S.Ct. 702, 71 L.Ed. 1199.)

GIVENS, J. Budge, C. J., and Morgan, Holden and Wernette, JJ., concur.

OPINION [33 P.2d 744]

[54 Idaho 580] GIVENS, J.

Appellant engaged in the general auto transportation business, both interstate and intrastate, questions the constitutionality of subsection h, section 2, chapter 185, 1931 Session Laws, page 309 (now subsec. h, sec. 48-127, I. C. A.), and section 8, chapter 267, 1929 Session Laws, page 619 (now sec. 59-811, [33 P.2d 745] I. C. A.) and seeks to enjoin the enforcement of said statutes.

Respondent challenges equitable interference with the enforcement of a criminal statute. The complaint alleges the plaintiff has no plain, speedy or adequate remedy at law, that prosecutions would be brought for every operation of a trailer by the plaintiff; that there is no provision whereby the plaintiff could pay the tax under protest and recover back the same; that the public utilities commission will cancel the permits for such operation now held by plaintiff; and that in the event of payment (of the tax) appellant could only be reimbursed by act of the legislature. Under such circumstances the courts have recognized as an exception the propriety of equitable intervention.

"That a suit in equity does not lie where there is a plain, adequate and complete remedy at law is so well understood as not to require the citation of authorities. But the legal remedy must be as complete, practical and efficient as that [54 Idaho 581] which equity could afford. (Boise Artesian Water Co. v. Boise City, 213 U.S. 276, 281, 29 S.Ct. 426, 53 L.Ed. 796; Walla Walla v. Walla Walla Water Co., 172 U.S. 1, 11, 12, 19 S.Ct. 77, 43 L.Ed. 341.) Equity jurisdiction will be exercised to enjoin the threatened enforcement of a state law which contravenes the federal Constitution wherever it is essential in order effectually to protect property rights and the rights of persons against injuries otherwise irremediable; and in such a case a person, who is...

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24 practice notes
  • Century Distilling Co. v. Defenbach
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 16, 1940
    ...57 Idaho 279, 65 P.2d 725, 110 A.L.R. 613; Johnson v. Diefendorf, 56 Idaho 620, 57 P.2d 1068; Garrett Trans. & Storage Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; J. C. Penney v. Diefendorf Co., 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Independent School Dist. v. Pfost, 51 Idaho 240, 4 P.2d 893, 84 A.L.R. 8......
  • Idaho Gold Dredging Company v. Balderston, 6470
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 25, 1938
    ...impose at the same time a tax by valuation and a privilege tax, and this is not double taxation. ( Garrett Trans. & Stor. Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; Smallwood v. Jeter, 42 Idaho 169, 244 P. 149; Sanger v. Lukens, 24 F.2d 226, 229; 1 Cooley on Taxation, 226.) The legislature ma......
  • Eberle v. Nielson, No. 8541
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 13, 1957
    ...54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Safeway Stores, Inc., v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 407, 32 P.2d 798; Garrett Transfer & Storage Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d In construing our State Constitution there are also certain fundamental principles which must be recognized and given effect. Unlike the ......
  • State v. Kouni, 6434
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 12, 1938
    ...Hall v. Johnson, 53 Idaho 667, 27 P.2d 674; J. C. Penney Co. v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Garrett Transfer etc. Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; Johnson v. Diefendorf, 56 Idaho 620, 57 P.2d 1068.) The latest decisions are unanimously to the effect that the driving of an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • Century Distilling Co. v. Defenbach
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 16, 1940
    ...57 Idaho 279, 65 P.2d 725, 110 A.L.R. 613; Johnson v. Diefendorf, 56 Idaho 620, 57 P.2d 1068; Garrett Trans. & Storage Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; J. C. Penney v. Diefendorf Co., 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Independent School Dist. v. Pfost, 51 Idaho 240, 4 P.2d 893, 84 A.L.R. 8......
  • Idaho Gold Dredging Company v. Balderston, 6470
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 25, 1938
    ...impose at the same time a tax by valuation and a privilege tax, and this is not double taxation. ( Garrett Trans. & Stor. Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; Smallwood v. Jeter, 42 Idaho 169, 244 P. 149; Sanger v. Lukens, 24 F.2d 226, 229; 1 Cooley on Taxation, 226.) The legislature ma......
  • Eberle v. Nielson, No. 8541
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 13, 1957
    ...54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Safeway Stores, Inc., v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 407, 32 P.2d 798; Garrett Transfer & Storage Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d In construing our State Constitution there are also certain fundamental principles which must be recognized and given effect. Unlike the ......
  • State v. Kouni, 6434
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • January 12, 1938
    ...Hall v. Johnson, 53 Idaho 667, 27 P.2d 674; J. C. Penney Co. v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784; Garrett Transfer etc. Co. v. Pfost, 54 Idaho 576, 33 P.2d 743; Johnson v. Diefendorf, 56 Idaho 620, 57 P.2d 1068.) The latest decisions are unanimously to the effect that the driving of an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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