Hamilton Gaslight Coke Co v. City of Hamilton, No. 32

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHARLAN
Citation36 L.Ed. 963,146 U.S. 258,13 S.Ct. 90
Decision Date21 November 1892
Docket NumberNo. 32
PartiesHAMILTON GASLIGHT & COKE CO. v. CITY OF HAMILTON

146 U.S. 258
13 S.Ct. 90
36 L.Ed. 963
HAMILTON GASLIGHT & COKE CO.

v.

CITY OF HAMILTON.

No. 32.
November 21, 1892.

Bill by the Hamilton Gaslight & Coke Company to enjoin the city of Hamilton, Ohio, from erecting and maintaining gas works. A temporary injunction was dissolved, and the bill dismissed. 37 Fed. Rep. 832. Complainant appeals. Affirmed.

Statement by Mr. Justice HARLAN:

The Hamilton Gaslight & Coke Company invokes against a certain ordinance of the city of Hamilton, a municipal cor-

Page 259

poration of Ohio, the protection of the clause of the constitution of the United States which forbids the passage by a state of any law impairing the obligation of contracts, as well as the clause declaring that no state shall deprive any person of property without due process of law. By the final judgment a temporary injunction granted against the city was dissolved, and the bill dismissed. 37 Fed. Rep. 832.

The appellant became a corporation on the 6th day of July, 1855, under the general statute of Ohio of May 1, 1852, providing for the creation and regulation of incorporated companies. By the fifty-third section of that statute it was provided that any corporation formed under it should have full powers, if a gas company, to manufacture and sell and to furnish such quantities of gas 'as might be required in the city, town, or village where located, for public and private buildings, or for other purposes,' with authority to lay pipes for conducting gas through the streets, lands, alleys, and squares, in such city, town, or village, 'with the consent of the municipal authorities of said city, town, or village, and under such reasonable regulations as they may prescribe.' The fifty-fourth section gave the municipal authorities power 'to contract with any such corporation for lighting * * * the streets, lands, squares, and public places in any such city, town, or village.' 1 Swan & C. pp. 271, 300; 50 Ohio Laws, 274.

On the 11th of March, 1853, a supplementary act was passed, authorizing the city council to regulate, by ordinance, from time to time, the price which gaslight or gaslight and coke companies should charge for gas furnished to citizens, or for public buildings, streets, lanes, or alleys in such cities; and providing that such companies should in no event charge more than the price specified by ordinance of the city council, and that the city council might, by ordinance, regulate and fix the price for the rent of meters. Other sections of the act were in these words: 'Sec. 31. That, if such companies shall at any time hereafter be required by any city council, as aforesaid, to lay pipes and light any street or streets, and shall refuse or neglect for six months after being notified by authority of such city council to lay pipes and light said streets, then, and in that case,

Page 260

such city council may lay pipes and erect gas works for the supply of said streets, and all other streets which are not already lighted; and the said gas companies, gaslight and coke companies, shall thereafter be forever precluded from using or occupying any of the streets not already furnished with gas pipes of such companies; and such city council may have the right to open any street for the purpose of conveying gas as aforesaid. Sec. 32. That a neglect to furnish gas to the citizens or other consumers of gas, or to any city, by such companies, in conformity to the preceding section of this act, and in accordance with the prices fixed and established by ordinance of such city council, from time to time, shall forfeit all rights of such company under the charter by which it has been established; and any such city council may hereafter proceed to erect, or by ordinance empower any person or persons to erect, gasworks for the supply of gas to such city and its citizens, as fully as any gaslight or gaslight and coke company can now do, and as fully as if such companies had never been created.' Curwen St. c. 1248, pp. 2153, 2164, 2165; 51 Ohio Laws, 360.

Another act was passed April 5, 1854, empowering the city council to fix from time to time, by ordinance, the minimum price at which it would require the company to furnish gas for any period not exceeding 10 years; and providing that from and after the assent of the company to such ordinance, by written acceptance thereof, filed in the clerk's office of the city, it should not be lawful for the council to require the company to furnish gas to the citizens, public buildings, public grounds, or public lamps of the city at a less price during the period of time agreed on, not exceeding 10 years. That act, it was declared, should not operate to impair or affect any contract theretofore made between any city and any gaslight or gaslight and coke company. It was further provided: 'Sec. 2. That the city council of such city may, at any time after the default mentioned in the thirty-first section of the act to which this is supplementary, (chapter 1248, p. 2164,) by ordinance permit such gas company to use and occupy the streets of such city for the purpose of lighting the same, and furnishing the gas to

Page 261

the citizens and public buildings. Sec. 3. That any temporary failure to furnish gas shall not operate as a forfeiture, under the thirty-second section of the act to which this is supplementary, unless such failure shall be by neglect or misconduct of such gaslight or gaslight and coke company: provided, that such company shall, without unnecessary delay, repair the injury, and continue to supply such gas.' Curwen St. c. 1248, p. 2164; 52 Ohio Laws, 30.

When the municipal laws of Ohio relating to gas companies were revised and codified in 1869, the above provisions were retained without material alteration, and now appear in the Revised Statutes of Ohio. 66 Ohio Laws, tit. 'Municipal Code,' 145, 149, 218, 219, §§ 415-423; 1 Rev. St. Ohio, tit. 12, div. 8, c. 3, p. 637 et seq.

But this revision and codification contained a provision not appearing in any previous statute, and now constituting section 2486 of the Revised Statutes of Ohio. That section is in these words:

'Sec. 2486. The council of any city or village shall have power, whenever it may be deemed expedient and for the public good, to erect gas works at the expense of the corporation, or to purchase any gas works already erected therein.'

By an ordinance of the city of Hamilton, passed July 9, 1855, the appellant was authorized to place pipes in streets, lanes, alleys, and public grounds to convey gas for the use of the city and its inhabitants; the company to have 'the exclusive privilege of laying pipes for carrying gas in said city, and of putting up pipes in dwellings in connection with the street pipes for the term of twenty years from the passage of this ordinance;' but not to charge for gas furnished the city or its inhabitants a price greater than, during the period of the contract, was usually charged in cities of similar size and with like facilities for the making and furnishing of gas. The company, from time to time, as required by the city, placed lampposts at the points indicated by resolutions passed by the council.

Written contracts were made, from time to time, between the parties, for lighting the city. The first one was dated

Page 262

April 10, 1862. The last one was dated July 16,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
122 practice notes
  • Superior Water, Light & Power Co. v. City of Superior
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • January 11, 1921
    ...267, 27 L. Ed. 408;Waterworks v. Schottler, 110 U. S. 353, 4 Sup. Ct. 48, 28 L. Ed. 173;Hamilton Gaslight & Coke Co. v. City of Hamilton, 146 U. S. 258, 13 Sup. Ct. 90, 36 L. Ed. 963;New York & N. E. R. Co. v. Town of Bristol, 151 U. S. 556, 14 Sup. Ct. 437, 38 L. Ed. 269;Pennsylvania Colle......
  • Fifth Ave. Coach Lines, Inc., In re
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • July 7, 1966
    ...a reality. Moreover, the claimants had no right to be free from the city's competition (Hamilton Gaslight & Coke Co. v. Hamilton City, 146 U.S. 258, 268, 13 S.Ct. 90, 36 L.Ed. 963) and the mere fact of regulation did not assure them of the right to make a profit (Federal Power Comm. v. Hope......
  • Sunset Tel. & Tel. Co. v. City of Pomona, 1,209.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 31, 1908
    ...U.S. 700, 25 L.Ed. 496; Spring Valley W.W. v. Schottler, 110 U.S. 347, 4 Sup.Ct. 48, 28 L.Ed. 173; Hamilton Gas L. & C. Co. v. Hamilton, 146 U.S. 258, 13 Sup.Ct. 90, 36 L.Ed. 963; Stanislaus County v. San Joaquin, K.R.C. & I. Co., 192 U.S. 201, 24 Sup.Ct. 241, 48 L.Ed. 406; San Antonio Trac......
  • State ex rel. Wyoming Agricultural College v. Irvine
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 31, 1906
    ...478; Mayor et al. v. Norwich, 109 Mass. 103; Ry. Co. v. Board, 35 Wis. 257; Tomlinson v. Jessup, 82 U.S. 454; Gas Light Co. v. Hamilton, 146 U.S. 258; Bank v. Owensboro, 173 U.S. 636; R. R. Co. v. Maryland, 187 U.S. 258; Bank v. Daviess Co., 39 S.W. 1030; Jackson v. Walsh, 23 A. 778.) Some ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
118 cases
  • State ex rel. Wyoming Agricultural College v. Irvine
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 31, 1906
    ...478; Mayor et al. v. Norwich, 109 Mass. 103; Ry. Co. v. Board, 35 Wis. 257; Tomlinson v. Jessup, 82 U.S. 454; Gas Light Co. v. Hamilton, 146 U.S. 258; Bank v. Owensboro, 173 U.S. 636; R. R. Co. v. Maryland, 187 U.S. 258; Bank v. Daviess Co., 39 S.W. 1030; Jackson v. Walsh, 23 A. 778.) Some ......
  • Fifth Ave. Coach Lines, Inc., In re
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (New York)
    • July 7, 1966
    ...a reality. Moreover, the claimants had no right to be free from the city's competition (Hamilton Gaslight & Coke Co. v. Hamilton City, 146 U.S. 258, 268, 13 S.Ct. 90, 36 L.Ed. 963) and the mere fact of regulation did not assure them of the right to make a profit (Federal Power Comm. v. ......
  • Wilmington City Ry. Co. v. Taylor, 310.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • March 5, 1912
    ...of New York, 193 U.S. 430, 24 Sup.Ct. 502, 48 L.Ed. 737, which has already beon considered, and Hamilton Gaslight Co. v. Hamilton City, 146 U.S. 258, 13 Sup.Ct. 90, 36 L.Ed. 963, where it was held that a city ordinance not passed under legislative authority is not a law of the state within ......
  • Brooks v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Delaware
    • January 17, 1911
    ...Co. v. Georgia, 98 U.S. 359; Close v. Glenwood, 98 U.S. 466; Spring Valley v. Shottler, 110 U.S. 347; Hamilton Gas Light Co. v. Hamilton, 146 U.S. 258; N. Y. &c., R. R. Co. v. Bristol, 151 U.S. 556; Pa. College Cases, 13 Wall 190; Sinking Fund Cases, 99 U.S. 700,--all cited in brief of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT