Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtCooley, Ch. J.
Citation35 Mich. 400
PartiesThe Grand Rapids Bridge Company v. Charles Prange
Decision Date10 January 1877

35 Mich. 400

The Grand Rapids Bridge Company
v.

Charles Prange

Supreme Court of Michigan

January 10, 1877


Heard October 19, 1876

Case made from Kent Circuit.

Judgment reversed, and judgment entered for defendant, with costs of both courts.

Hughes, O'Brien & Smiley, for plaintiff, cited: Comp. L., 1871, §§ 2649, 7085; Ang. & A. on Corp., §§ 731, 777; 2 Doug. 124; 12 Mich. 527; 12 Wall. 358; 3 Nev. 386.

Atwood & Corbett, for defendant, cited: Comp. L., ch. 130, § 8, ch. 207, § 35; Ang. & A., on Corp., § 788; 11 Pet. 420; 32 N. H., 295; Hermann on Estoppel, §§ 295, 555.

OPINION [35 Mich. 401]

Cooley, Ch. J.

The present suit is one for the recovery of tolls for crossing the plaintiff's bridge over the Grand river at Grand Rapids. The plaintiff is a corporation organized in 1851 for the period of thirty years. The purpose of the organization was to build the bridge in question; but as the river at this point was a navigable stream, the assent of the supervisors of the county was essential before the bridge could be constructed.--Comp. L. 1871, § 2649. The same board was also by law the competent authority to fix the tolls. The assent was given by resolution of the board dated January 17, 1852, "to erect, rebuild, repair and keep up and use, for the sole use and profit of said company, a toll-bridge, * * for the term of twenty years;" and the tolls were fixed at the same time. The bridge was duly constructed and tolls collected of passengers for the term of this permission, but after the twenty years had expired, the defendant refused any longer to pay tolls, and passed over the bridge repeatedly without doing so. The plaintiff, claiming the right to continue to exact tolls according to the established rates, has brought this suit.

The questions which have been argued are exclusively questions of law.

I. It is first claimed that as the law authorized the organization of the corporation for the purpose of constructing the bridge subject only to the assent of the supervisors, but with a corporate life extending to thirty years, the assent of the board to the construction was in law of necessity an assent for the full period of thirty years, and could not be restricted by the board to any shorter term. We are referred to no authority which countenances this view, and we think it not maintainable. If the statute under which the company had been organized had contemplated the necessary existence of the company for the purposes of its organization for the full period of thirty years, and there had been apparent in it a policy that the franchise of taking tolls [35 Mich. 402] should be one of that duration, the argument would have had some force. But the statute expressly permitted corporations to be organized for any period not exceeding thirty years, and a bridge company for five years is as much within the policy of the statute as one for thirty. Had the plaintiff been organized for twenty years only, the question here considered could scarcely have been raised; and it cannot be doubted that the board might in advance have negotiated with the parties proposing to form a corporation, and required of them, as a condition of assent to the building of the bridge, that the corporate life should be limited to any number of years specified. There might be reasons in the growing business of the place and of the river which would seem to require such a limitation; and the authority conferred upon the local board to give or withhold assent would lose very much of its value if it were confined within unvarying limits. It is not unreasonable to suppose that consent might sometimes be withheld under such circumstances when otherwise it would not be.

But if the supervisors could bargain for a limitation of time before the corporate organization, so they could afterwards. The plaintiff by the organization only acquired corporate powers; it gained nothing that was originally within the control of the supervisors. That board was bound by nothing that so far had been done. The members of the board...

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5 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...Co., 230 U.S. 58; Postal Tel.-Cable Co. v. Ingraham, 228 Fed. 392; Smith v. Osceola, 178 Iowa, 200; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400; State v. Northern Ohio Traction Co., 34 Ohio Cir. Ct. 262. (b) The Public Service Commission Law did not repeal, modify or amend the statutes ......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...Smith v. Osceola, 178 Iowa. 200, 159 N.W. 648; Cedar Rapids Water Co. v. Cedar Rapids, 118 Iowa, 234; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400, 24 Am. St. Rep. 585; State v. Northern Ohio Traction Co., 34 Ohio Cir. Ct. 262. (7) Continued service by a public service corporation after ......
  • Bradley v. Reppell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 7, 1895
    ...the text, People v. Manhattan Co., 9 Wend. 351; Morgan v. Insurance Co., 3 Ind. 285; Wilson v. Tesson, 12 Ind. 285; Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400; Dobson v. Simonton, 86 N. C. 493; Sturges v. Vanderbilt, 73 N. Y. 384; Bank v. McLaughlin, 2 Cranch, C. C. 20, Fed. Cas. No. 928. Further o......
  • State v. Superior Court for Stevens County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 17, 1903
    ...Co. (Ohio) 23 N.E. 55; New Orleans Gaslight Co. v. Louisiana Light, etc., Co. (C. C.) 11 F. 277; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400, 24 Am. Rep. 585; Salmon River M. & S. Co. v. Dunn (Idaho) 3 Pac. 911; South & N. A. R. Co. v. Highland Ave. & B. R. Co. (Ala.) 24 So.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...Co., 230 U.S. 58; Postal Tel.-Cable Co. v. Ingraham, 228 Fed. 392; Smith v. Osceola, 178 Iowa, 200; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400; State v. Northern Ohio Traction Co., 34 Ohio Cir. Ct. 262. (b) The Public Service Commission Law did not repeal, modify or amend the statutes ......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...Smith v. Osceola, 178 Iowa. 200, 159 N.W. 648; Cedar Rapids Water Co. v. Cedar Rapids, 118 Iowa, 234; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400, 24 Am. St. Rep. 585; State v. Northern Ohio Traction Co., 34 Ohio Cir. Ct. 262. (7) Continued service by a public service corporation after ......
  • Bradley v. Reppell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 7, 1895
    ...the text, People v. Manhattan Co., 9 Wend. 351; Morgan v. Insurance Co., 3 Ind. 285; Wilson v. Tesson, 12 Ind. 285; Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400; Dobson v. Simonton, 86 N. C. 493; Sturges v. Vanderbilt, 73 N. Y. 384; Bank v. McLaughlin, 2 Cranch, C. C. 20, Fed. Cas. No. 928. Further o......
  • State v. Superior Court for Stevens County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 17, 1903
    ...Co. (Ohio) 23 N.E. 55; New Orleans Gaslight Co. v. Louisiana Light, etc., Co. (C. C.) 11 F. 277; Grand Rapids Bridge Co. v. Prange, 35 Mich. 400, 24 Am. Rep. 585; Salmon River M. & S. Co. v. Dunn (Idaho) 3 Pac. 911; South & N. A. R. Co. v. Highland Ave. & B. R. Co. (Ala.) 24 So.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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