Porter v. City of Lewiston

Decision Date03 August 1925
Citation41 Idaho 324,238 P. 1014
PartiesL. A. PORTER, Appellant, v. THE CITY OF LEWISTON, a Municipal Corporation, WILLIAM THOMSON, Mayor, and C. E. PARKER, J. W. BRETT, R. M. COBURN, F. W. EMERY, JOSEPH KINCAID and J. L. FENTON, Councilmen of the City of Lewiston, Respondents
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - POLICE POWER - POWER TO ENACT ORDINANCES - NUISANCES - ABATEMENT OF - NOTICE-HEARING-ORDINANCES-CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-REVIEW BY COURTS.

1. The police power of the state extends to everything essential to the public safety in the protection of health, morals and property, and justifies the abatement by summary proceedings of whatever may be duly declared to be a public nuisance, but the determination by the city council of a city to which police powers have been delegated by the legislature of the state, as to what is a proper exercise of its police powers, is not final or conclusive, being subject to judicial review.

2. Section 92 of the city charter of Lewiston delegated to the city council the power to declare what are nuisances by ordinances, which by definite, fixed standards, define classify and enact what buildings, things or classes of things, and under what conditions and circumstances such specified things, are nuisances.

3. To justify a summary proceeding under the police powers of a city for the abatement of a nuisance consisting of dilapidated buildings, it must appear that considerations of public safety with respect to property, health or morals are actually involved, and that the buildings constituted a nuisance in fact.

4. A city ordinance may not delegate to the mayor and council the power to declare that to be a nuisance which is neither by common law, statute nor ordinance declared to be such.

5. The power to abate nuisances may be delegated to municipal authorities, so that when the condition of a structure makes it objectionable as endangering the public safety, steps may be taken summarily to abate or remove the nuisance thus created.

6. A city ordinance providing for the summary abatement of public nuisances need not require notice to the owner or give him the right to a hearing and an opportunity to be heard.

7. The acts of a municipal legislative body may always be reviewed by the courts to determine whether the constitutional rights of a party have been invaded.

8. Due process of law is not denied the owner of a building by a municipal ordinance under which such building, when in the judgment of the city council it has become so dilapidated as to be a fire menace or dangerous to passers-by, may summarily be destroyed or abated by municipal officers without preliminary hearing, since such acts by such municipal officers are subject at all times to restraint by the courts.

APPEAL from the District Court of the Tenth Judicial District, for Nez Perce County. Hon. Wallace N. Scales, Judge.

Action to enjoin the removal, as nuisances, of two buildings. Judgment for defendants. Affirmed.

Judgment of the lower court affirmed. Costs awarded to respondent.

Tannahill & Leeper, for Appellant.

Destruction of property is only to be resorted to by a municipality in cases of most impelling necessity. (Hale v. Lawrence, 1 Zab. (N. J.) 714, 47 Am. Dec. 190; McGehee's Due Process of Law, pp. 375-377; Town of Bloomfield v West, 68 Ind.App. 568, 121 N.E. 4; York v. Hargadine 142 Minn. 219, 171 N.W. 773, 3 A. L. R. 1627.)

If a nuisance exists and can be abated in any other manner than by a destruction of the property, the city council must resort to that method. (Evansville v. Miller, 146 Ind. 613, 45 N.E. 1054, 38 L. R. A. 161, 167, 168 and note; Mount Vernon First Nat. Bank v. Sarlls, 129 Ind. 201, 28 Am. St. 185, 28 N.E. 434, 13 L. R. A. 481.)

The city cannot prohibit the making of ordinary repairs and thereby destroy property. (State v. Schuchardt, 42 La. Ann. 49, 7 So. 67; Harvey v. Elkins, 65 W.Va. 305, 64 S.E. 247; Town of Seneca v. Cochran, 84 S.C. 279, 66 S.E. 288, 26 L. R. A. 124; City of Sioux Falls v. Kirby, 6 S.D. 62, 60 N.W. 156, 25 L. R. A. 621; State v. Tenant, 110 N.C. 609, 28 Am. St. 715, 14 S.E. 387, 15 L. R. A. 423; McQuillin on Mun. Corp., secs. 948, 949; Russell v. Fargo, 28 N.D. 300, 148 N.W. 610; 19 R. C. L., Municipal Corp., par. 135.)

The buildings do not constitute a nuisance per se or in fact, and are not dilapidated to such an extent as to render them a nuisance. (Klingler v. Bicket, 117 Pa. 326, 11 A. 555; Rye v. Peterson, 45 Tex. 312, 23 Am. Rep. 608; Laugel v. Bushnell, 197 Ill. 20, 63 N.E. 1086, 58 L. R. A. 266; Yates v. Milwaukee, 10 Wall. 497, 19 L.Ed. 984; Sings v. Joliet, 237 Ill. 300, 127 Am. St. 323, 86 N.E. 663, 22 L. R. A., N. S., 1128; City of Bushnell v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. R., 259 Ill. 391, 102 N.E. 785, 49 L. R. A., N. S., 718; Polsgrove v. Moss, 154 Ky. 408, 157 S.W. 1133; Teass v. St. Albans, 38 W.Va. 1, 17 S.E. 400, 19 L. R. A. 802; Orlando v. Pragg, 31 Fla. 111, 34 Am. St. 17, 12 So. 368, 19 L. R. A. 196; Pelkey v. National Surety Co., 143 Minn. 176, 173 N.W. 435; Hennessy v. City of St. Paul, 37 F. 565; Lowe v. Conroy, 120 Wis. 151, 102 Am. St. 983, 97 N.W. 942, 66 L. R. A. 907; People v. Board, 140 N.Y. 1, 37 Am. St. 522, 35 N.E. 320, 23 L. R. A. 481; Pearson v. Zehr, 138 Ill. 48, 32 Am. St. 113, 29 N.E. 854; Roanoke v. Bolling, 101 Va. 182, 43 S.E. 343, 344; Grossman v. Oakland, 30 Ore. 478, 60 Am. St. 832, 41 P. 5, 36 L. R. A. 593; Cuba v. Oil Companys, 150 Ala. 259, 43 So. 706, 10 L. R. A., N. S., 310; Eaton v. Glindeman, 33 Idaho 389, 195 P. 90; Twin Falls v. Harlan, 27 Idaho 769, 151 P. 1191.)

The action of the city council in this case deprives this plaintiff of property without due process of law. (Sec. 1, 14th Amendment U.S. Const.; sec. 13, art. 1, Idaho Const.; sec. 92, Lewiston Charter; Lawton v. Steele, 152 U.S. 134, 14 S.Ct. 499, 38 L.Ed. 385; Brown v. City of Denver, 7 Colo. 305, 3 P. 455; 12 C. J. 1236; West v. Louisiana, 194 U.S. 258, 24 S.Ct. 650, 48 L.Ed. 965; Wilmington City R. Co. v. Taylor, 198 F. 159; Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78, 29 S.Ct. 14, 53 L.Ed. 97; Chicago, B. & Q. R. v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226, 17 S.Ct. 581, 41 L.Ed. 979; Raymond v. Chicago Traction Co., 207 U.S. 20, 12 Ann. Cas. 757, 28 S.Ct. 7, 52 L.Ed. 78.)

The city council must proceed to condemn by ordinance only, and failure to do this is not due process. (Lewiston City Charter, sec. 92; Ordinances, 915, 756; McQuillin on Mun. Corp., sec. 633, p. 1393, sec. 904, p. 1920; Frank v. Atlanta, 72 Ga. 428, 429; Dillon on Mun. Corp., secs. 575, 587; Newman v. City of Emporia, 32 Kan. 456, 4 P. 815; Cape Girardeau v. Fougeu, 30 Mo.App. 551; Edminson v. City of Abilene, 7 Kan. App. 305, 54 P. 568.)

Cox & Martin and Verner R. Clements, for Respondents.

The charter granting to the City of Lewiston power to enact ordinances for the abatement of nuisances, and ordinances numbered 756 and 915, respectively, do not violate either sec. 1 of the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution, or sec. 13, art. 1 of the constitution of Idaho. (Speer v. Stephenson, 16 Idaho 707, 102 P. 365; York v. Hargadine, 142 Minn. 219, 171 N.W. 773, 3 A. L. R. 1627; Sweet v., Sprague, 55 Me. 190; Runge v. Glerum, 37 N.D. 618, 164 N.W. 284; Davison v. Walla Walla, 52 Wash. 453, 132 Am. St. 983, 100 P. 981, 21 L. R. A., N. S., 454; Lorenzi v. Star Market Co., 19 Idaho 674, 115 P. 490, 35 L. R. A., N. S., 1142; Theilan v. Porter, 14 Lea (Tenn.), 622, 52 Am. Rep. 173; Brecheen v. Riley, 187 Cal. 121, 200 P. 1042; Green v. Mayor, 6 Ga. 1; State v. Heidenhain, 42 La. Ann. 483, 21 Am. St. 388, 7 So. 621; WatersPierce Oil Co. v. Mayor, 47 La. Ann. 863, 17 So. 343; City of St. Louis v. Stern, 3 Mo.App. 48; Beem v. Davis, 31 Idaho 730, 175 P. 959; North Chicago Ry. Co. v. Lakeview, 105 Ill. 207, 44 Am. Rep. 788; State v. Clarke, 54 Mo. 17; Greer v. Bank, 114 Ark. 212, 169 S.W. 802; State v. Title Guaranty & Surety Co., 27 Idaho 752, 152 P. 189; Title Guaranty v. Idaho, 240 U.S. 136, 36 S.Ct. 345, 60 L.Ed. 566; Reetz v. State of Michigan, 188 U.S. 505, 507, 23 S.Ct. 390, 47 L.Ed. 563; People ex rel. Copcutt v. Board of Health, etc., 140 N.Y. 1, 37 Am. St. 522, 35 N.E. 320, 23 L. R. A. 481; Baumgartner v. Hasty, 100 Ind. 575, 50 Am. Rep. 830; City of Red, Wing v. Guptil, 72 Minn. 259, 71 Am. St. 485, 75 N.W. 234, 41 L. R. A. 321.)

The abatement of the nuisance is a proper exercise of police power. (Laugel v. Bushnell, 197 Ill. 20, 63 N.E. 1086, 58 L. R. A. 266; York v. Hargadine, supra; Polsgrove v. Moss, 154 Ky. 408, 157 S.W. 1133.)

The courts will not interfere where municipal authorities, vested with discretion in legislative and administrative acts, have exercised discretion honestly, fairly, without prejudice and without fraud, after an examination of the physical condition of the buildings. (Pike v. State Board, 19 Idaho 268, Ann. Cas. 1912B, 1344, 113 P. 447; North Chicago City Ry. Co. v. Lakeview, 105 Ill. 183; Rast v. Van Deman & L. Co., 240 U.S. 342, Ann. Cas. 1917B, 455, 36 S.Ct. 370, 60 L.Ed. 679, L. R. A. 1917A, 421; Price v. Illinois, 238 U.S. 446, 35 S.Ct. 892, 59 L.Ed. 1400; Pacific Coast Steamship Co. v. Richardson, etc., 186 Cal. 70; 198 P. 1034; Van Wormer v. Mayor, 15 Wend. (N. Y.) 262, 263; State v. Clarke, 54 Mo. 17, 14 Am. Rep. 471; Greer v. M. & M. Bank, 114 Ark. 212, 169 S.W. 802; Farrelly v. Cole, 60 Kan. 356, 56 P. 492, 44 L. R. A. 464; State v. Howard, 83 Vt. 6, 74 A. 392; Laugel v. Bushnell, 197 Ill. 20, 63 N.E. 1086, 58 L. R. A. 266; Hibben v. Smith, 191 U.S. 310, 24 S.Ct. 88, 48 L.Ed. 195.)

GIVENS, J. Wm. E. Lee and Budge, JJ., concur. William A. Lee, C. J., and Taylor, J., dissent.

OPINION

GIVENS, J.

Appellant brought this action to enjoin the respondents, the City of Lewiston and its mayor and council, from enforcing two...

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