Old Dominion Land Co v. United States, No. 55

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHOLMES
Citation269 U.S. 55,46 S.Ct. 39,70 L.Ed. 162
PartiesOLD DOMINION LAND CO. v. UNITED STATES
Docket NumberNo. 55
Decision Date16 November 1925

269 U.S. 55
46 S.Ct. 39
70 L.Ed. 162
OLD DOMINION LAND CO.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 55.
Argued Oct. 16, 1925.
Decided Nov. 16, 1925.

Page 56

Messrs. J. Winston Read, of Newport News, Va., Thomas H. Willcox, of Norfolk, Va., and R. G. Bickford, of Newport News, Va., for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 56-61 intentionally omitted]

Page 62

Mr. Blackburn Esterline, of Chicago, Ill., and the Attorney General, for the United States.

Page 63

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a proceeding for the condemnation of land in Newport News, Virginia, for the use of the United States. Act of August 1, 1888, c. 728, 25 Stat. 357 (Comp. St. §§ 6909, 6910). It has resulted in a condemnation fixing the sum to be paid, subject to questions of law reserved by the plaintiff in error, the Old Dominion Land Company, at the trial and decided by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 296 F. 20. During the late war the Government took leases of the land from the Old Dominion Land Company for military purposes and put structures upon it costing more than a million and a half dollars. The leases were for short terms and were renewed, until in 1922 the lessor refused to renew them again. By the terms of the agreements the United States had a right to remove the structures but not beyond thirty days from the termination. An offer to purchase the land was made by the United States but was refused and this proceeding was instituted on July 29, 1922, just before the thirty days allowed by the leases had run out. The main contentions of the plaintiff in error are that the Acts of Congress relied upon do not authorize the taking attempted here; that one of those acts is unconstitutional, and that the taking although it might be for the benefit of the United States, to save its buildings, was not a taking for public use. We are of opinion that these contentions so far as material to the case cannot be sustained and that the decision below was right.

The statute authorizes this proceeding. The Appropriation Act of July 11, 1919, c. 8, 41 Stat. 104, 128, and its amendments of the same year (chapter 44, 41 Stat. 278, and chapter 90, 41 Stat. 453), had stopped the purchase of land in connection with military purposes generally, except in certain cases when it was more economical to buy than to pay rent or damages. This act was further amended how-

Page 64

ever by the Act of March 8, 1922, c. 100, § 1, 42 Stat. 418, so as to 'authorize completion of the acquisition of the real estate hereinafter specified in respect whereof requisition notices had been served or given before July 11, 1919, * * * or in respect whereof agreements had been made for purchase thereof, or proceedings begun for condemnation thereof.' 'For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section the following amounts are hereby authorized to be appropriated, to wit: * * * For quartermaster warehouses, Newport News, Virginia, $223,670.' This is the land in question. By section 3 of the same Act the Secretary of War was authorized to renew leases in order to enable the Government to remove its buildings and other property, and to approve awards and to have new awards made for the purchase or condemnation...

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67 practice notes
  • United States v. 15.3 ACRES OF LAND, ETC., Civ. A. No. 5051.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 15, 1957
    ...statement, 133 U.S. at page 561, 10 S.Ct. at page 376 is not inconsistent with our holding. Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 55, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L.Ed. 162, involved the right to remove warehouses, a right readily admitted here. In United States v. 6.74 Acres of Land, e......
  • United States v. 70.39 Acres of Land, Civ. No. 1506-SD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 10, 1958
    ...matter solely within the prerogative of the Executive Department rather than the Judiciary, Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 55, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L.Ed. 162; Mead v. City of Portland, 1906, 200 U.S. 148, 26 S.Ct. 171, 50 L.Ed. 413. The United States can "always acquire a......
  • United States v. Certain Parcels of Land, No. 13204.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • May 3, 1955
    ...Pac. Ry. Co., 1899, 123 Cal. 535, 56 P. 453; St. John v. Kidd, 1864, 26 Cal. 263; see: Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 55, 65, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L. Ed. 162; Baglin v. Cusenier Co., 1911, 221 U.S. 580, 597, 31 S.Ct. 669, 55 L.Ed. 863; Anderson-Tully Co. v. United States,......
  • Midkiff v. Tom, No. 80-4368
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 28, 1983
    ...found in two cases where the government condemned a reversionary interest it held in leased land. Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 55, 66, 46 S.Ct. 39, 40, 70 L.Ed. 162 (1925) (federal government can properly condemn reversionary interest in land it was leasing for possible ......
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67 cases
  • United States v. 15.3 ACRES OF LAND, ETC., Civ. A. No. 5051.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 15, 1957
    ...statement, 133 U.S. at page 561, 10 S.Ct. at page 376 is not inconsistent with our holding. Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 55, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L.Ed. 162, involved the right to remove warehouses, a right readily admitted here. In United States v. 6.74 Acres of Land, e......
  • United States v. 70.39 Acres of Land, Civ. No. 1506-SD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 10, 1958
    ...matter solely within the prerogative of the Executive Department rather than the Judiciary, Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 1925, 269 U.S. 55, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L.Ed. 162; Mead v. City of Portland, 1906, 200 U.S. 148, 26 S.Ct. 171, 50 L.Ed. 413. The United States can "always acquire a......
  • Midkiff v. Tom, No. 80-4368
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 28, 1983
    ...found in two cases where the government condemned a reversionary interest it held in leased land. Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 55, 66, 46 S.Ct. 39, 40, 70 L.Ed. 162 (1925) (federal government can properly condemn reversionary interest in land it was leasing for possible ......
  • United States v. Meyer, No. 7148
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 23, 1940
    ...original purpose, namely, betterment of navigation and flood control. Old Dominion Land Co. v. United States, 4 Cir., 296 F. 20, affirmed 269 U.S. 55, 46 S.Ct. 39, 70 L.Ed. 162. The evidence in the record, including that tendered by defendants, tends to disclose only a difference in judgmen......
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