Phillips v. Mayor

Citation110 Md. 431,72 A. 902
Decision Date23 March 1909
CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
72 A. 902
110 Md. 431


Court of Appeals of Maryland.

March 23, 1909.

72 A. 903

Appeal from Circuit Court, Baltimore County; N. Charles Burke, Judge.

Action by Annie M. Phillips against the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. There was a Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.


Edward L. Ward and John S. Biddison, for appellant. Sylvan H. Lauchheimer, for appellee.

PEARCE, J. This is an appeal from a judgment of the circuit court for Baltimore county entering a judgment of non pros., and judgment for defendant for costs. The plaintiff, Annie M. Phillips, sued the mayor and city council of Baltimore in the circuit court for Baltimore county, alleging in her declaration that her husband, Robert L. Phillips, was the owner of a lot of land and dwelling house thereon at the corner of Harwood and Pimlico avenues in Baltimore county, bounding on the limits of Baltimore city, where the plaintiff resided with her husband and children, and that during the summer of 1905 the defendant permitted the surface water and drainage from that part of Pimlico avenue adjoining said residence to ac cumulate at the intersection of said two avenues within the limits of said city, so as to form a cesspool, emitting noxious odors and gases, and causing the drainage from said cesspool to flow into the cellar of said residence, and from thence into a well on said premises, used by her for drinking and other family and domestic purposes, and that the water of said well was thereby contaminated and poisoned, by reason of which the plaintiff was made ill and sick, and was rendered unable to perform her household duties, of all of which the defendant had notice, but failed and refused to remedy said conditions, or to abate the nuisance created thereby. Upon return of the summons the defendant, appearing specially for that purpose, and no other, moved for a judgment of non pros., and for the quashing of the writ of summons, and the sheriff's return thereon, on the ground that the defendant is a municipal corporation having within its own limits courts to try causes in which it may be a party, and that as such corporation it can only be lawfully sued, in that action, in the courts of Baltimore city. The defendant also filed a plea to the jurisdiction, appearing specially for that purpose, and without waiving its motion to quash, setting up the same ground as in the motion, and averring that as a corporation it is a nonresident of Baltimore county, and does not carry on any regular business, or habitually engage in any avocation or employment, in Baltimore county, and therefore cannot be sued therein. This plea was duly supported by affidavit. The plaintiff replied that the defendant is not a nonresident of Baltimore county within the meaning of the statutes of this state, and that it does carry on a regular business in Baltimore county, and is habitually engaged in an avocation or employment therein within the meaning of said statutes. Issue was joined, and testimony was taken from which it appeared that the mayor and city council of Baltimore, acting through the water department, owns and maintains certain water mains within the limits of Baltimore county, which were purchased from the Baltimore County Electric & Water Company, and by that means furnishes water to certain residents of Baltimore county around Westport, Highlandtown, West Arlington, York Road, and Bel Air Road, and that the annual receipts from that source is about $10,000, out of $925,000 derived from sales of water in Baltimore city and Baltimore county.

This being a suit for injuries to the person, the action is confessedly transitory in its nature (Gunther v. Dranbauer, 86 Md. 6, 38 Atl. 33), so that the only question in the case is whether the defendant, as a municipal corporation, can in this form of action, and under the proof in this case, be sued elsewhere than in one of its own courts. The

72 A. 904

distinction between local and transitory actions still exists in this state, and it was so declared in the latest case on the subject in this state (Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Meredith's Ford Turnpike Company, 104 Md. 351, 65 Atl. 35), in which it was held that a municipal corporation may be sued, in an action of trespass to land, in courts other than those within its territorial limits, when the cause of action arose in...

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  • Board of Drainage Com'rs of Drainage Dist. No. 10 of Bolivar County v. Board of Drainage Com'rs of Washington County, 23186
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 29 January 1923 local. 32 L. R. A. 595, 601; 43 Am. St. Rep. [130 Miss. 767] 134, 139; 3 Dunnell (Minn.) (461) Digest, 8958; Phillips v. Baltimore, 110 Md. 431, 72 A. 902; 25 L. R. A. (N. S.) 711; Nashville v. Webb, 114 Tenn. 432, 85 S.W. 404, 4 Ann. Cas. 1169. We cite especially and call to the court's......
  • Hansford v. District of Columbia, 150
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 September 1990
    ...court lacked jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, a foreign municipal corporation. Counsel, relying on Phillips v. Baltimore, 110 Md. 431, 72 A. 902 (1909), argued that a municipal corporation can be sued only in the courts of the jurisdiction where it is situated. It was also claime......
  • Sheldon v. Grand River Dam Auth., Case Number: 28318
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 1 February 1938
    ...called municipal corporations, are not associations, but subdivisions of the state. See Phillips v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 110 Md. 431, 25 L. R. A. (N. S.) 711, 715, 72 Alt. Rep. 902." ¶47 Pope's Legal Definitions, vol. 2, p. 1196, says:"A political corporation is one which ha......
  • Yorkdale Corp. v. Powell, 353
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 7 December 1964 and of itself, conclusive as to the correct solution of the question as to its meaning.' See also Phillips v. Baltimore City, 110 Md. 431, 72 A. 902, 25 L.R.A.,N.S., 711; Tyrie v. Baltimore County, 215 Md. 135, 137 A.2d 156; Height v. State, supra. It seems that the unfortunate results p......
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