Rindge Co v. Los Angeles County Rindge Co v. Same, No. 237

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSANFORD
Citation43 S.Ct. 689,262 U.S. 700,67 L.Ed. 1186
Decision Date11 June 1923
Docket NumberNo. 237
PartiesRINDGE CO. et al. v. LOS ANGELES COUNTY. RINDGE CO. v. SAME

262 U.S. 700
43 S.Ct. 689
67 L.Ed. 1186
RINDGE CO. et al.

v.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY. RINDGE CO. v. SAME.

No. 237.
Argued April 26, 1923.
Decided June 11, 1923.

Page 701

Messrs. Edward Stafford, of Washington, D. C., and Nathan Newby and J. A. Anderson, both of Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Paul Vallee, of Los Angeles, Cal., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice SANFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.

This record includes two cases which were tried together in the State courts and have been heard together here.

The writs of error are brought to review judgments of the District Court of Appeal affirming judgments of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California, condemning lands of the plaintiffs in error for use by the County as public highways; which they insist have deprived them of their property without due process of law and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.1

Page 702

The two fundamental questions involved are whether the uses for which these lands have been taken are public uses authorized by law; and whether the taking was necessary to such uses.

Section 1238 of the California Code of Civil Procedure includes 'highways' among the 'public uses' for which the right of eminent domain may be exercised. Section 1241, as amended in 1913, provides that before property can be taken it must appear that the use to which it is to be applied is one authorized by law and that the taking is necessary to such use: Provided, inter alia, that when the legislative body of a county has, by resolution adopted by vote of two-thirds of its members, found and determined that the public interest and necessity require the construction by the county of any proposed public improvement located within its limits and that designated property is necessary therefor, such resolution shall be 'conclusive evidence' of the public necessity for such improvement, that such property is necessary therefor, and that such improvement is located in the manner most compatible with the greatest public good and the least private injury. States. 1913, p. 549.

The plaintiffs in error are the owners of a large tract of land lying on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, known as the Malibu Ranch, extending in an easterly and westerly direction about twenty-two miles and varying in width from one-half mile to one and one-half miles. It lies at the base of a high and rugged mountain range which parallels the shore at a distance of from three to four miles, its northern line extending along the slope and foothills of this mountain range, and is traversed by many ridges and intervening canyons leading from the mountains toward the shore. It lies about ten miles west of Santa Monica, one of the principal cities of Los Angeles County, situated on the coast to the southwest of the City of Los Angeles, and is mainly in Los Angeles County, but extends

Page 703

about a mile and a half into Ventura County, the adjoining county on the west. It is traversed lengthwise by a private road of the ranch owners which was formerly used by farmers and settlers living north of the ranch on the slope of the mountains and west of the ranch in Ventura County, but which has been for several years closed by the ranch owners to the public.2

In 1916 and 1917 the Board of Supervisors, the legislative body of Los Angeles County, without notice to the ranch owners, adopted, by the required vote, two resolutions declaring that the public nterest and necessity required the construction of the two highways now in controversy 'for public highway purposes' and that it was necessary for such 'public uses' that the lands included therein be acquired by the county; and directing that condemnation proceedings be instituted for such purposes. One of these proposed highways, which is known in the record as the 'main road,' commences at the eastern boundary of the ranch, where it connects with and forms a continuation of a much traveled public county highway running along the shore of the ocean from Santa Monica, and extends lengthwise through the ranch in a westerly direction to the Ventura County line where it terminates within the boundaries of the ranch. The other is a branch from this main road, extending to the northern boundary of the ranch, where it terminates. There are no connecting public roads either at the western termination of the main road or the northern termination of the branch road.

These condemnation proceedings were thereupon instituted in the Superior Court of the County. They were

Page 704

vigorously resisted by the ranch owners, who denied the County's right of condemnation. Certain special defenses which they interposed, alleging that the main road would furnish no way of necessity or convenience for public use or travel, were stricken out by the court. Upon a preliminary trial as to the right of condemnation, the trial judge, after the resolutions of the Board had been introduced in evidence by the County, ruled that while they were not conclusive evidence of the matters specified in the proviso to section 1241 of the Code, they were prima facie evidence thereof. And the ranch owners then, without objection or limitation, introduced a large mass of evidence in support of all of their defenses, including the matters which had been alleged in the special defenses that had been stricken out; and a large mass of rebuttal evidence was then introduced by the County, the testimony on both sides relating to all the matters which had been or now are in issue in the cases.

The trial judge reviewed the evidence, and, manifestly without reference to any presumption arising under his ruling as to the prima facie evidence furnished by the resolutions, decided all the questions submitted in favor of the County, and made specific findings that the public interest and necessity required the acquisition of these public highways; that the use to which they were to be applied was authorized by law; that they would afford accommodation to the traveling public; and that they were located as required. Thereafter, the amount of...

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199 practice notes
  • Jointrefugee Committee v. Grath National Council Offriendship v. Grath International Workers Order v. Grath, ANTI-FASCIST
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 30 Abril 1951
    ...* *.' 14. Thus, no hearing need be granted on the question whether property is needed for a public use. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 43 S.Ct. 689, 67 L.Ed. 1186. Cf. Martin v. Mott, 12 Wheat. 19, 6 L.Ed. 537; United States v. George S. Bush & Co., 310 U.S. 371, 60 S.Ct. 9......
  • Daniels v. Area Plan Com'n of Allen County, No. 01-1158.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 11 Septiembre 2002
    ...limiting a state legislature's delegation of legislative authority to an administrative agency). Cf. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles Co., 262 U.S. 700, 709, 43 S.Ct. 689, 67 L.Ed. 1186 (1923) ("The necessity for appropriating private property for public use is not a judicial question. This power ......
  • In re Bernier, Bankruptcy No. 90-52302. Adv. No. 91-5258.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Connecticut
    • 13 Enero 1995
    ...a relatively small class may benefit from a particular "taking" does not render that taking improper. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 709, 43 S.Ct. 689, 693, 67 L.Ed. 1186 (1923) (determination of necessity for taking for public use is a legislative, not a judicial, function......
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 31 Diciembre 1932
    ...1105; State v. Baskowitz, 250 Mo. 89, 156 S.W. 945; Danciger v. Express Co., 247 Mo. 209, 152 S.W. 302; Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 67 L. Ed. 1186, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 689; Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447, 67 L. Ed. 1078, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 597; Dahnke-W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
199 cases
  • Jointrefugee Committee v. Grath National Council Offriendship v. Grath International Workers Order v. Grath, ANTI-FASCIST
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 30 Abril 1951
    ...* *.' 14. Thus, no hearing need be granted on the question whether property is needed for a public use. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 43 S.Ct. 689, 67 L.Ed. 1186. Cf. Martin v. Mott, 12 Wheat. 19, 6 L.Ed. 537; United States v. George S. Bush & Co., 310 U.S. 371, 60 S.Ct. 9......
  • Daniels v. Area Plan Com'n of Allen County, No. 01-1158.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 11 Septiembre 2002
    ...limiting a state legislature's delegation of legislative authority to an administrative agency). Cf. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles Co., 262 U.S. 700, 709, 43 S.Ct. 689, 67 L.Ed. 1186 (1923) ("The necessity for appropriating private property for public use is not a judicial question. This power ......
  • In re Bernier, Bankruptcy No. 90-52302. Adv. No. 91-5258.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Connecticut
    • 13 Enero 1995
    ...a relatively small class may benefit from a particular "taking" does not render that taking improper. Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 709, 43 S.Ct. 689, 693, 67 L.Ed. 1186 (1923) (determination of necessity for taking for public use is a legislative, not a judicial, function......
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 31 Diciembre 1932
    ...1105; State v. Baskowitz, 250 Mo. 89, 156 S.W. 945; Danciger v. Express Co., 247 Mo. 209, 152 S.W. 302; Rindge Co. v. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 67 L. Ed. 1186, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 689; Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447, 67 L. Ed. 1078, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 597; Dahnke-W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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