Marsh Mining Co. v. Inland Empire Mining & Milling Co.

Decision Date18 March 1916
PartiesMARSH MINING COMPANY, a Corporation, Respondent, v. INLAND EMPIRE MINING & MILLING COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant
CourtIdaho Supreme Court


1. If a reasonable although not an absolute necessity exists to take private property for a public use, the power of eminent domain may be invoked.

2. Property devoted to or held for a public use is subject to the power of eminent domain if the right to so take it is given by constitutional provision or legislative enactment in express terms or by clear implication, but it cannot be taken to be used in the same manner and for the same purpose to which it is already being applied or for which it is, in good faith, being held, if by so doing that purpose will be defeated.

3. The theory upon which the power of eminent domain is extended in aid of the mining industry is that public benefit will result from the application of private property to public use. It was not the intention of the framers of the constitution, nor of the legislature, that this power be so invoked that the mine will be developed and thereby another be destroyed, nor that one mine owner be enriched and another improverished. The aid of eminent domain is extended to the industry, not to the individual.

4. Chapter 3, title 8, of the Civil Code points out the occasions when, the conditions under which and the methods and agencies whereby the use of mining property may be appropriated in aid of the mining industry and, the purposes for which it may be so appropriated having been specified, it follows that, unless it is being applied by its owner to or in good faith held for the same or a more necessary public use which will be defeated or seriously interfered with thereby, it may be taken in aid of that industry, under the power of eminent domain, for one or more of those designated purposes and none other.

[As to condemnation of mining property under point of eminent domain, see note in Ann.Cas. 1912D, 1002]

APPEAL from the District Court of the First Judicial District, for Shoshone County. Hon. John M. Flynn, Presiding Judge.

Action to condemn a portion of a patented mining claim for mining purposes. Judgment for plaintiff. Reversed.

Judgment reversed. Costs awarded to appellant.

Chas E. Miller and I. N. Smith, for Appellant.

Where property is sought to be taken by condemnation, if upon the hearing there is a total lack of competent evidence, or none at all, to prove the existence of the public necessity for the taking, and a taking is decreed, such decision and decree operate to take the defendant's property without due process of law and in violation of the fourteenth amendment of the federal constitution. (State of Washington ex rel Oregon R. & Nav. Co. v. Fairchild, 224 U.S. 510, 32 S.Ct. 535, 56 L.Ed. 863.)

The evidence fails to establish a necessity for the taking of the property sought to be condemned. (Scranton Gas & Water Co. v. Northern Coal & Iron Co., 192 Pa. 80, 73 Am. St. 798, 43 A. 470.)

Property once appropriated to a public use cannot be taken unless for a more necessary public use than that to which it has been already appropriated. (Portneuf Irr. Co. v. Budge, 16 Idaho 116, 18 Ann. Cas. 674, 100 P. 1046; State ex rel. Harbor Boom Co. v. Superior Court, 65 Wash. 129, 117 P. 755; Samish River Boom Co. v. Union Boom Co., 32 Wash. 586, 73 P. 670; State ex rel. Skamania Boom Co. v. Superior Court, 47 Wash. 166, 91 P. 637; Boston & M. R. R. v. Lowell & L. R. Co., 124 Mass. 368; Housatonic R. Co. v. Lee & H. R. Co., 118 Mass. 391; Baltimore & Ohio & Chicago R. Co. v. North, 103 Ind. 486, 3 N.E. 144; Pittsburgh Junction R. Co.'s Appeal, 122 Pa. 511, 9 Am. St. 128, 6 A. 564; St. Paul Union Depot Co. v. City of St. Paul, 30 Minn. 359, 363, 15 N.W. 684; Barre R. Co. v. Montpelier & W. R. R. Co., 61 Vt. 1, 15 Am. St. 877, 17 A. 923, 4 L. R. A. 785; In re City of Buffalo, 68 N.Y. 167; In re New York, L. & W. Ry. Co., 99 N.Y. 12, 23, 1 N.E. 27; Birmingham & A. A. R. Co. v. Louisville & N. R. Co., 152 Ala. 422, 44 So. 679; St. Louis I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Memphis D. & G. R. Co., 102 Ark. 492, 143 S.W. 107; Reclamation Dist. v. Superior Court, 151 Cal. 263, 90 P. 545; Chicago & N. W. Ry. Co. v. Chicago & E. R. Co., 112 Ill. 589; Steele v. Empson, 142 Ind. 397, 41 N.E. 822; Chicago R. I. & P. Ry. Co. v. Williams, 148 F. 442; St. Louis H. & K. C. Ry. Co. v. Hannibal Union Depot Co., 125 Mo. 82, 28 S.W. 483; Paterson & R. R. Co. v. City of Paterson, 81 N.J.L. 75, 80 A. 937; Miller v. Cincinnati L. & A. Elec. St. R. Co., 43 Ind.App. 540, 88 N.E. 102; New York Central & H. R. R. Co. v. City of Buffalo, 200 N.Y. 113, 93 N.E. 520; St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. City of Tulsa, 213 F. 87; Oregon- Wash. R. & Nav. Co. v. Castner, 66 Ore. 580, 135 P. 174; Ruthland Ry., L. & P. Co. v. Clarendon Power Co., 86 Vt. 45, 83 A. 332, 44 L. R. A., N. S., 1204; Kanawha Central R. Co. v. Broun, 71 W.Va. 738, 77 S.E. 360.)

"Two conditions must concur in order to authorize such taking. There must be some necessity therefor on the part of the condemnor, and the taking must not destroy or seriously impede the use to which the property is already devoted." (Lewis on Eminent Domain, 3d ed., sec. 440, p. 796; Oregon Short Line R. Co. v. Postal Tel. Cable Co., 111 F. 842, 49 C. C. A. 663; Portland Ry., L. & Power Co. v. City of Portland, 181 F. 632, 633; Pacific Postal Telegraph- Cable Co. v. Oregon & Cal. R. Co., 163 F. 967; Little Miami etc. R. Co. v. City of Dayton, 23 Ohio St. 510; City of Ft. Wayne v. Lake Shore & M. S. Ry. Co., 132 Ind. 558, 32 Am. St. 277, 32 N.E. 215, 18 L. R. A. 367; Baltimore & O. S.W. Ry. Co. v. Board of Commrs., 156 Ind. 260, 58 N.E. 837, 59 N.E. 856.)

The grant in sec. 5210, Rev. Codes, of the right to condemn for "an occupancy in common by the owners or possessors of different mines of any place for the flow, deposit or conduct of tailings or refuse matter from their several mines," and the grant in sec. 3224 of the right of condemnation of an easement over and upon mining lands for purposes therein enumerated, excludes the implication of a grant of power for any other purpose. (Scranton Gas & Water Co. v. Northern Coal & Iron Co., 192 Pa. 80, 73 Am. St. 798, 43 A. 470; Fayetteville Street Ry. v. Aberdeen & R. R. Co., 142 N.C. 423, 9 Ann. Cas. 683, 55 S.E. 345; Southern Ry. Co. v. Memphis, 126 Tenn. 267, Ann. Cas. 1913E, 153, 148 S.W. 662, 41 L. R. A., N. S., 828.) It is immaterial that appellant has not yet reached the point in its development where all of this land is required for immediate use. (Kansas City S. & G. Ry. Co. v. Vicksburg S. & P. Ry. Co., 49 La. Ann. 29, 21 So. 144.)

John P. Gray and Therrett Towles, for Respondent.

The constitution has declared that the necessary use of lands for mining uses is a public use, and the legislature has provided the procedure for subjecting such lands as are necessary for such use thereto. The constitution in this particular is self-executing. (Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Potlatch Lumber Co. v. Peterson, 12 Idaho 769, 118 Am. St. 233, 88 P. 426; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 186 F. 572; Lamborn v. Bell, 18 Colo. 346, 32 P. 989, 20 L. R. A. 241; Spratt v. Helena Power Trans. Co., 37 Mont. 60, 94 P. 631.)

Sec. 14, art. 1, is a limitation of power upon the legislature and not a grant of power. (Portneuf Irr. Co. v. Budge, 16 Idaho 116, 18 Ann. Cas. 674, 100 P. 1046.)

"The legislature, neither by neglect to act nor by legislation, can nullify a mandatory provision of the constitution." (Day v. Day, 12 Idaho 556, 10 Ann. Cas. 260, 86 P. 531; Davis v. Burke, 179 U.S. 399, 21 S.Ct. 210, 45 L.Ed. 249.)

That such a use is a public use is firmly settled. (Strickley v. Highland Boy Gold Min. Co., 200 U.S. 527, 4 Ann. Cas. 1174, 26 S.Ct. 301, 50 L.Ed. 581; Douglass v. Byrnes, 59 F. 29; Dayton Gold & Silver Min. Co. v. Seawell, 11 Nev. 394; Overman Silver Min. Co. v. Corcoran, 15 Nev. 147; Clark v. Nash, 198 U.S. 361, 4 Ann. Cas. 1171, 25 S.Ct. 676, 49 L.Ed. 1085; Hand Gold Min. Co. v. Parker, 59 Ga. 419; Baillie v. Larson, 138 F. 177; Butte A. & P. Ry. Co. v. Montana Union Ry. Co., 16 Mont. 504, 50 Am. St. 508, 41 P. 232, 31 L. R. A. 298.)

Under the evidence there can be no doubt that the lands sought to be acquired are necessary for the purposes of the respondent. There is no other available ground that the Marsh Mining Co. can acquire, and the ground which it has and the facilities which it has are entirely inadequate and insufficient. (Overman Silver Min. Co. v. Corcoran, 15 Nev. 147.)

The use being a public use and the necessity existing, the peculiar character of the appellants' property does not preclude its condemnation. (Colorado Eastern R. Co. v. Union Pac. R. Co., 41 F. 293-300; 15 Cyc. 614, and cases cited; 2 Lewis on Eminent Domain, 3d ed., 754; North Carolina etc. R. Co. v. Carolina Cent. Ry. Co., 83 N.C. 489; Butte A. & P. Ry. Co. v. Montana Union Ry. Co., 16 Mont. 504, 50 Am. St. 508, 41 P. 232, 31 L. R. A. 298; Seattle & M. R. Co. v. Bellingham Bay & E. R. Co., 29 Wash. 491, 92 Am. St. 907, 69 P. 1107; Atchison T. & S. F. R. Co. v. Kansas City M. & O. Ry. Co., 67 Kan. 569, 70 P. 939-942, 73 P. 899; St. Louis A. & T. H. R. Co. v. Belleville City Ry. Co., 158 Ill. 390, 41 N.E. 916; Scranton Gas & Water Co. v. Delaware L. & W. R. Co., 225 Pa. 152, 73 A. 1097; Atlanta & W. P. R. Co. v. Atlanta B. & A. R. Co., 124 Ga. 125, 52 S.E. 320; Pansing v. Village of Miamsburg, 79 Ohio St. 430, 87 N.E. 1139.)

MORGAN, J. Budge, J., concurs. SULLIVAN, C. J., Dissenting.



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