Lambar v. City of St. Louis

Decision Date31 March 1852
Citation15 Mo. 610
PartiesLAMBAR v. THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

J. C. RICHARDSON, City Counselor.

I. The main point in this case, is the same that was presented in Gurno v. The City of St. Louis, 12 Mo. R. 414; Taylor v. St. Louis, 14 Mo. R., and Hoffman v. St. Louis, argued at this term and now under the consideration of this court. The authorities cited in the appellee's brief, in Hoffman's case, are here referred to, and it is not necessary to enlarge upon what has been said in that case.

II. The action of the defendant, in the premises, can be sustained on another ground. The agreed case admits, that the ditch was cut for the purpose of conducting to the river, the water that accumulated in that part of the city, and which inclined to discharge itself through Carroll street. The ditch was dug to remove a nuisance and to preserve the public health. The 6th clause of 2nd section, article 3, charter 1843, confers in express terms, the power “to make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, and to prevent and remove nuisances.” The work here complained of, was not done for the purpose of ornament or mere convenience, but to promote the public health; it was a sanitary measure, and there is no duty enjoined upon the city government, of more imperative obligation than the preservation of the health of the citizens. In Baker v. The City of Boston, 12 Pick. 193, the court say: “It has not been denied, nor can it be, that the mayor and aldermen are clothed with legislative powers and prerogatives to a certain extent, and that they are fully empowered to adopt measures of police for the purpose of preserving the health and promoting the convenience and general welfare of the inhabitants within the city. Among these powers, no one is more important than that for the preservation of the public health. It is not only the right but imperative duty of the city government, to watch over the health of the citizens and to remove nuisances, so far as they may be able, which may endanger it, and they have, necessarily, the power of deciding in what manner this shall be done, and their decision is conclusive, unless they transcend the powers conferred by the city charter, or violate the Constitution.”

III. The instruction given at the instance of the plaintiff, was manifestly wrong; it declares, that if Guibord or any other officer of the city, except the engineer, cut the ditch, though under the authority of the defendant, the plaintiff was entitled to recover. The agreed case expressly states, that the ditch was cut by proper agents of the city under an ordinance: so that the question is concluded, even if there was anything in it as to the proper officer who did the work. Guibord had nothing to do with cutting the ditch; he only removed obstructions that had been put in it.L. COOKE, for Respondent

I. Corporations are liable, like individuals, for injuries done, although the act was not beyond their lawful powers; therefore, the law commissioner did not err in refusing to give the first and second instructions asked by the defendant. L. R. Rhodes v. City of Cleveland, 10 Ohio R. 159.

II. A corporation is civilly responsible for damages occasioned by acts of its agents done by its commands, in relation to a matter within the scope of the objects for which it was incorporated. 5 La. R. 463, 464; 11 La. R. 86. Corporations are also liable, by the common law, in actions of trespass, trover, trespass on the case ex delicto, &c., for torts commanded or authorized by them; and for this purpose, as well as matters of contract, the acts of their agents are regarded as the acts of the corporation. 2 Wendell, 452; 17 Mass. R. 503; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 94; 2 Aiken, 255; 4 Ham. 500, 514; Wright's R. 603; 4 Serg. & Rawle, 16; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 106; 7 Mass. R. 187; 7 Cowen, 485. It is, therefore, still further insisted, that the law commissioner did right in refusing the first and second instructions asked by the defendant, and in giving the instruction asked by the plaintiff. A corporation has no power or authority, except what is given in its incorporating act. either expressly or as incidental to its existence. It may correctly be said to be precisely what the incorporating act has made it; to derive all its powers from that act, and to be capable of exerting its faculties only in the manner which that act authorizes. Thus, a corporation authorized to lend money only on bond and mortgage, cannot recover money lent, unless a bond and mortgage be taken for repayment, and any other security, as well as the contract, is void. 7 Wend. 31; 3 Wend. 482; 2 Cowen, 678; 2 Cranch, 127; 4 Wheaton, 636, 518; 12 Wheat. 64; 13 Peters, 519; 4 Howard, 16; 6 Wheaton, 597; 4 Peters, 152; 1 Stewart, 299; 2 Johns. 109; 15 Johns. 358; 2 Cowen, 675; 6 Conn. R. 532; 1 Breeze, app. 14; 4 Mo. R. 242; 9 Mo. R. 191, 507, 692; 10 Mo. R. 361. By reference to the 8th subdivision of article 3rd of the charter of the city of St. Louis, as it existed at the time of the cutting of the ditch, which is the foundation of this action, it will be seen, that the city council only had power “to open, alter, abolish, widen, extend, establish, grade, pave or otherwise improve and keep in repair, streets, avenues, lanes and alleys.” It is therefore insisted, that the city council had no authority to pass an ordinance authorizing the cutting of a ditch, and that such an ordinance would be void, and the city liable to the...

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7 cases
  • Rychlicki v. City of St. Louis
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 28, 1889
    ...of St. Louis, supra, are approved in the following subsequent cases: Taylor v. City of St. Louis, 14 Mo. 20, at page 23; Lambar v. City of St. Louis, 15 Mo. 610; v. City of St. Louis, 15 Mo. 651; Imler v. City of Springfield, 55 Mo. 119. Jones v. Hannovan, 55 Mo. 462, recognizes the same ru......
  • City of Pontiac v. Carter
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • June 8, 1875
    ... ... v. Rockport, 6 Ind. 237; Macy v. Indianapolis, ... 17 Ind. 267; Lafayette v. Bush, 19 Ind. 326; St ... Louis v. Gurno, 12 Mo. 414; Lamber v. St ... Louis, 15 Mo. 610; Hoffman v. St. Louis, 15 Mo ... 651; White v. Yazoo, 27 Miss. 357; Commissioners ... ...
  • McClure v. City of Red Wing
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • July 28, 1881
    ... ... City of ... Bangor, 68 Me. 108; Fair v. City of ... Philadelphia, 88 Pa. St. 309; Grant v. City of ... Erie, 69 Pa. St. 420; City of St. Louis v ... Gurno, 12 Mo. 414; Imler v. Springfield, 55 Mo ... 119; 2 Dillon Mun. Corp. § 801 ...          A city ... is not liable for an ... City ... of Brooklyn, 38 Barb. 232; Cotes v. City of ... Davenport, 9 Iowa, 227; Snyder v. Town of ... Rockport, 6 Ind. 237; Lambar v. City of St ... Louis, 15 Mo. 610; City of Detroit v. Beckman, 34 Mich ...          The ... city may be liable for a failure to ... ...
  • Lincoln Street Railway Company v. Adams
    • United States
    • Nebraska Supreme Court
    • September 18, 1894
    ... ... produce. (Dickinson v. Worcester, 7 Allen [Mass.], ... 19; Parks v. City of Newburyport, 10 Gray [Mass.], ... 28; Turner v. Inhabitants of Dartmouth, 13 Allen ... 642; Hoyt ... v. City of Hudson, 27 Wis. 656; Weis v. City of ... Madison, 75 Ind. 241; Lambar v. City of St ... Louis, 15 Mo. 610; White v. Corporation of the City ... of Yazoo, 27 Miss ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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