Marty v. Kansas City Light & Power Co., No. 23852.

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtLindsay
Citation303 Mo. 233,259 S.W. 793
Docket NumberNo. 23852.
Decision Date31 December 1923
PartiesMARTY et al. v. KANSAS CITY LIGHT & POWER CO.
259 S.W. 793
303 Mo. 233
MARTY et al.
v.
KANSAS CITY LIGHT & POWER CO.
No. 23852.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
December 31, 1923.
Rehearing Denied March 7, 1924.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jackson County; Thomas B. Buckner, Judge.

Suit by J. G. Marty and others against the Kansas City Light & Power Company, a corporation. Judgment for plaintiffs, and defendant appeals. Reversed.

John H. Lucas, William C. Lucas, and Ludwick Graves, all of Kansas City, for appellant.

Lathrop, Morrow, Fox & Moore and Scarritt, Jones, Seddon & North, all of Kansas City, for respondents.

LINDSAY, C.


The respondents (plaintiffs) brought this suit against appellant, a public service company engaged in furnishing heat, light, and electric current to consumers

259 S.W. 794

in Kansas City, to recover the amount of alleged excess charges paid by certain consumers for steam heat furnished during the period from August 1, 1917, to March 1, 1918. The petition contains 104 counts. The plaintiffs sue as assignees of the several claims of the respective consumers named in the various counts. Plaintiffs were given judgment on each of the several counts, and in the aggregate sum of $26,829.59.

Preliminary to a statement of the issues made upon the pleadings, and otherwise, a brief outline may be given. Prior to August 1, 1917, the defendant was charging and collecting from consumers, for heat furnished, compensation based upon rates contained in its schedule on file with the Public Service Commission, and in force as such. On June 23, 1917, the defendant filed with the Public Service Commission a new schedule, materially increasing the rates for heat, and to take effect on and after August 1, 1917, and that rate, no order suspending it having been made by the Commission, went into effect on August 1st. On September 13, 1917, a formal complaint against the new rates was filed by Kansas City, and shortly after Mary B. Case and a large number of other consumers, by an intervening petition, joined in the complaint, the ground of which was that the rates were excessive and unjust. The defendant company appeared and answered. The Commission thereupon ordered and entered upon an investigation, under Commission Case No. 1353.

On February 11, 1918, the Commission stated its findings and conclusions upon the evidence before it, and entered its order wherein it held that the rates and prices then being charged by the defendant company for steam heating were "unjust and unreasonable, and that said rates and prices are unreasonably high." The Commission thereupon further, by said order, set forth as just and reasonable to be charged for said service a schedule of monthly rates and prices somewhat lower, and ordered that the defendant company should not after March 1, 1918, charge in excess of the rates so fixed. The defendant company did not bring a statutory proceeding to review the order, or otherwise proceed to annul it. The plaintiffs in the instant case sue to recover the amount of the difference between what was actually paid by the consumers under the company's schedule, in the period from August 1, 1917, to March 1, 1918, and the amount they would have been required to pay during the same period, measured by the schedule put into effect by the Commission on March 1, 1918. The real controversy here is whether the defendant is liable at all. There is no dispute as to the amount of the excess as measured by actual payment, and by the rate put into effect on March 1, 1918, under the order of the Commission. The three schedules of rates already mentioned, that which obtained prior to August 1, 1917, that which was filed by the defendant and was in effect until March 1, 1918, and that which the Commission put into effect on March 1, 1918, were put in evidence, though not printed in the record here; but, by stipulation, reference is made to them as set forth in the published official report of the Commission, where they may be found, in P. S. C. R. Mo. vol. 5, p. 664. There is no necessity for setting them out here.

Summarized, the allegations of the petition are: (1) That the schedule in effect prior to August 1, 1917, was a reasonable and just schedule; (2) that the schedule filed June 23, 1917, was unreasonable, excessive, and unlawfully high, and was unlawful in that defendant made no publication thereof for 30 days, as required by law, or otherwise, and no notice of the filing thereof was given to customers; (3) that defendant was at fault in giving no notice to its consumers of said filing, thereby unlawfully depriving them of opportunity to file protest with said Commission; (4) that protest was filed September 13, 1017, by Kansas City and others intervening, and the Commission made investigation and made its order of February 11, 1918, declaring the rates in the schedule of June 23, 1917, unreasonably high, and fixed rates in lieu thereof which were reasonable, and said order had not been appealed from; (5) that customers were coerced and compelled to take steam heat from defendant and pay for it under defendant's schedule of June 23, 1917, during the period from August 1, 1917, to March 1, 1918, by threats of defendant to cut off service if payment was not made promptly, and by being unable to procure steam heat from other sources; (6) that said acts of coercion were unlawful and willful, and thereby the customers of defendant suffered losses in the respective sums sued for; (7) that thereby the defendant became indebted to the several customers, and now was indebted to plaintiffs for the respective sums so exacted.

The defenses pleaded by defendant in its answer were a denial that the rates fixed by the Commission were in lieu of the rates and charges made by the defendant, and allegations that the finding of the Commission of February 11, 1918, were null and void, being in contravention of various specified provisions of the Constitution of this state, in that it provided for the taking of the property of defendant without compensation for private use, without just compensation, and without due process of law and that said order of the Commission was of no binding effect upon defendant, being in violation of article 5 and of section 4 of article 14 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, in that the rates and charges prescribed in said order were unjust, and confiscatory of the property of defendant took

259 S.W. 795

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9 practice notes
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...validity as to service rendered by Union after it filed schedules with the Public Service Commission. Marty v. Kansas City L. & Power Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 293; Kansas City L. & P. Co. v. Midland Realty Co., 93 S.W. (2d) 954; St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co. v. Painton, 275 S.W. 57. (2) This cas......
  • State ex rel. Jackson County v. Public Service Commission, No. 59171
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1975
    ...fact a 'hearing' is proper under the file and suspend method as provided in § 393.150. See also: Marty v. Kansas City Light & Power Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 793 (1924); and, State ex rel. Hotel Continental v. Burton, 334 S.W.2d 75 From all of the arguments made, it is apparent that this c......
  • City of St. Charles v. St. Charles Gas Co., No. 38873.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 5, 1945
    ...Louis v. United Rys. Co., 174 S.W. 78; State v. Weitzel, 130 Mo. 600; Ex parte Holman, 191 S.W. 1109; Marty v. Kansas City L. & P. Co., 259 S.W. 793; State v. Public Serv. Comm., 47 S.W. (2d) l.c. 115; State v. Busby, 274 S.W. 1067; Sec. 32, Art. 4, R.S. 1939; Secs. 5644, 5646.3, R.S. 1939;......
  • Kansas City L. & P. Co. v. Midland Realty Co., No. 33028.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 23, 1936
    ...steam heating service and was the only lawful rate that could be charged the consumers while effective. Marty v. Kansas City L. & P. Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 793. (3) The rates effective August 1, 1917, were just and reasonable charges for steam heating service. (a) They were presumed jus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...as to service rendered by Union after it filed schedules with the Public Service Commission. Marty v. Kansas City L. & Power Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 293; Kansas City L. & P. Co. v. Midland Realty Co., 93 S.W. (2d) 954; St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co. v. Painton, 275 S.W. 57. (2) This case......
  • State ex rel. Jackson County v. Public Service Commission, No. 59171
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1975
    ...a 'hearing' is proper under the file and suspend method as provided in § 393.150. See also: Marty v. Kansas City Light & Power Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 793 (1924); and, State ex rel. Hotel Continental v. Burton, 334 S.W.2d 75 From all of the arguments made, it is apparent that this co......
  • City of St. Charles v. St. Charles Gas Co., No. 38873.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 5, 1945
    ...v. United Rys. Co., 174 S.W. 78; State v. Weitzel, 130 Mo. 600; Ex parte Holman, 191 S.W. 1109; Marty v. Kansas City L. & P. Co., 259 S.W. 793; State v. Public Serv. Comm., 47 S.W. (2d) l.c. 115; State v. Busby, 274 S.W. 1067; Sec. 32, Art. 4, R.S. 1939; Secs. 5644, 5646.3, R.S. 1939; 1......
  • Kansas City L. & P. Co. v. Midland Realty Co., No. 33028.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 23, 1936
    ...heating service and was the only lawful rate that could be charged the consumers while effective. Marty v. Kansas City L. & P. Co., 303 Mo. 233, 259 S.W. 793. (3) The rates effective August 1, 1917, were just and reasonable charges for steam heating service. (a) They were presumed just ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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