Risty v. Chicago Ry Co Same v. Chicago St Ry Co Same v. Chicago, St Ry Co Same v. Northern States Power Co Same v. City of Sioux Falls Same v. Great Northern Ry Co, No. 95

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSTONE
Citation70 L.Ed. 641,46 S.Ct. 236,270 U.S. 378
PartiesRISTY et al. v. CHICAGO, R. I. & P. RY. CO. SAME v. CHICAGO, M. & ST. P. RY. CO. SAME v. CHICAGO, ST. P., M. & O. RY. CO. SAME v. NORTHERN STATES POWER CO. SAME v. CITY OF SIOUX FALLS. SAME v. GREAT NORTHERN RY. CO
Docket NumberNo. 100,No. 99,No. 97,No. 95,No. 98,No. 96
Decision Date01 March 1926

270 U.S. 378
46 S.Ct. 236
70 L.Ed. 641
RISTY et al.

v.

CHICAGO, R. I. & P. RY. CO. SAME v. CHICAGO, M. & ST. P. RY. CO. SAME v. CHICAGO, ST. P., M. & O. RY. CO. SAME v. NORTHERN STATES POWER CO. SAME v. CITY OF SIOUX FALLS. SAME v. GREAT NORTHERN RY. CO.

No. 95.
No. 96.
No. 97.
No. 98.
No. 99.
No. 100.
Argued and Submitted Jan. 7, 8, 1926.
Decided March 1, 1926.

[Syllabus from pages 378-380 intentionally omitted]

Page 380

Messrs. Benjamin I. Salinger, of Carroll, Iowa, and N. B. Bartlett and E. O. Jones, both of Sioux Falls, S. D., for appellants.

Mr. C. O. Bailey, of Sioux Falls, S. D., for appellees Chicago, St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co. and City of Sioux Falls.

Messrs. E. S. Stringer, of St. Paul, Minn., W. F. Dickinson, of Chicago, Ill., and Thomas D. O'Brien and Alexander E. Horn, both of St. Paul, Minn., for appellee Chicago, R. I. & P. Ry. Co.

Messrs. R. M. Campbell and John H. Roemer, both of Chicago, Ill., and Harold E. Judge, of Sioux Falls, S. D., for appellee Northern States Power Co.

Messrs. E. L. Grantham, of Aberdeen, S. D., and C. O. Bailey, of Sioux Falls, S. D., for appellee Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co.

Messrs. Harold E. Judge, of Sioux Falls, S. D., and F. G. Dorety, of St. Paul, Minn., for appellee Great Northern Ry. Co.

Mr. Justice STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

Separate suits were brought by the several appellees, in the United States District Court for South Dakota, to enjoin the county commissioners, the auditor, and the treasurer of Minnehaha county, South Dakota, from making any apportionment of benefits or assessments of costs affecting the property of the several appellees, for

Page 381

the construction or repair of a drainage system in the area within the county embraced in a project known as 'drainage ditch No. 1 and 2.'

In all of the suits, except No. 99, there was diversity of citizenship. In each it was alleged that an amount in excess of the jurisdictional requirement was in controversy, and in each it was alleged that proceedings purporting to be had under the South Dakota drainage statutes, with respect to the lands of the appellees, were unauthorized and void, and that those statutes and proceedings denied to appellees due process of law and the equal protection of the laws, in contravention of the Constitution of the United States. The suits were tried together and a decree was given for the plaintiffs by the District Court. Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. v. Risty, 282 F. 364. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, on appeal, affirmed the decree (Risty v. Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co., 297 F. 710), and the cases are brought here on appeal (Judicial Code, §§ 128, 241 (Comp. St. §§ 1120, 1218), before Act of February 13, 1925; Greene v. Louisville & Interurban R. R. Co., 37 S. Ct. 673, 244 U. S. 499, 508, 61 L. Ed. 1280, Ann. Cas. 1917E, 88). Petition for certiorari was denied, 45 S. Ct. 122, 266 U. S. 622, 69 L. Ed. 473.

The two courts below agree as to all material facts. We accordingly consider them here only so far as is needful to pass on questions of law. United States v. State Investment Co., 44 S. Ct. 289, 264 U. S. 206, 211, 68 L. Ed. 639.

In 1907 the board of county commissioners of Minnehaha county, acting under the Constitution and laws of the state, established 'drainage ditch No. 1,' extending from a point north of the city of Sioux Falls, thence south, and then to the east of Sioux Falls, 3 miles in all, to the Big Sioux River, into which it emptied. From the main ditch, a spur ditch was extended northwest to a point near the Big Sioux River, which from that point passes to the southwest and thence flows east, forming a loop about the principal part of the city of Sioux Falls, and finally flows through the city on its easterly side in a northeasterly direction.

Page 382

In 1910 the board of county commissioners established drainage ditch No. 2, extending northerly from the north terminus of ditch No. 1 for a distance of 12 miles. The two ditches thus formed one continuous ditch, draining agricultural lands lying to the north of the city. Both ditches, and the assessment districts in connection with them, are conceded to have been lawfully established.

In 1916 the river broke through its banks into the area drained by the spur ditch, and uniting with the flood water flowing from the river through ditch No. 2, flooded the main ditch, No. 1, washed out and destroyed a spillway on ditch No. 1, and in its uncontrolled flow to the river caused extensive damage. There was danger that the river by its flow through the ditch would be diverted from its natural course, cutting off the city's water supply and causing other damage to the city and to individuals.

In August, 1916, a proceeding was instituted by petition to the board of county commissioners, purporting to be pursuant to statute, 'to reconstruct and improve drainage ditches Nos. 1 and 2 * * * and to pay therefor by an assessment upon the property, persons and corporations benefitted.' This proceeding resulted in resolutions of the commissioners purporting to establish 'drainage district No. 1 and 2' and providing for the construction of the proposed ditch. The location fixed for it however, was identical with that of the old ditches No. 1 and No. 2. The county commissioners then caused the previously established ditch No. 1 and ditch No. 2 to be diked, cleaned out, and widened and deepened at certain points; the river to be straightened, and the spillway to be reconstructed so as to continue and safeguard the flow of water through ditch No. 1 and ditch No. 2. The cost was approximately $255,000.

Proceedings were then had by the county commissioners for the assessment of benefits to defray the expenses thus incurred. The assessments of benefits were extended

Page 383

to areas not embraced in the assessment districts of ditch No. 1 and ditch No. 2, as previously established, and resulted in the assessment of benefits now complained of, made against all the appellees, some of whom did and some of whom did not own land within the area originally assessed for the establishment of ditch No. 1 and ditch No. 2. When the present suits were commenced, notice had been given to the appellees of a tentative assessment of benefits to their land, and of a proceeding to be had to equalize benefits before final assessments for the cost of construction.

Both courts below found that the drainage ditch No. 1 and 2 was not a new project, but was in fact identical with the previously established ditches No. 1 and No. 2; that no new or additional drainage was established, and that the only purpose of the proceedings was to provide for the maintenance and repair of the previously established ditches by assessing the cost on tracts not included within the area originally assessed for their construction. For these reasons, among others, both courts held that the proceedings had by the board of county commissioners to apportion and assess benefits on land outside the original drainage districts were unauthorized and void under the statutes of South Dakota. In this we think they were right.

Section 8458 of the South Dakota Revised Code of 1919 provides that the board of county commissioners 'may establish and cause to be constructed any ditch or drain; may provide for the straightening or enlargement of any water course or drain previously constructed, and may provide for the maintenance of such ditch, drain or water course. * * *'

Section 8476 provides that the powers conferred for establishing and constructing drains 'shall also extend to the include the...

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104 practice notes
  • Water Works & Sewer Bd. v. U.S. Dept. of Army, No. CV 95-PT-2956-S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • 22 Octubre 1997
    ...Railroad Commission v. Los Angeles R.R., 280 U.S. 145, 156, 50 S.Ct. 71, 73-74, 74 L.Ed. 234[] (1929); Risty v. Chicago, R.I. & P.R.R., 270 U.S. 378, 390, 46 S.Ct. 236, 241, 70 L.Ed. 641 (1926); City of New York v. Richardson, 473 F.2d 923, 929 (2nd Cir.1973) cert. denied sub nom. Lavine v.......
  • Schlosser v. Welsh, No. 66.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • 19 Febrero 1934
    ...U. S. 378, 53 S. Ct. 190, 77 L. Ed. 375; Hurn v. Oursler, 289 U. S. 238, 53 S. Ct. 586, 77 L. Ed. 1148; Risty v. C., R. I. & P. Ry. Co., 270 U. S. 378, 46 S. Ct. 236, 70 L. Ed. 2. (a) Where a state board or tribunal, or successive boards or tribunals, are vested with legislative or administ......
  • Chertkof v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, Civ. A. No. M-79-2258.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 19 Septiembre 1980
    ...plaintiff's rights outweighed the potential costs of federal adjudication. Similarly, in Risty v. Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co., 270 U.S. 378, 46 S.Ct. 236, 70 L.Ed. 641 (1926), the Court held that suits to enjoin a county's proposed assessment of lands, on the basis of alleged spe......
  • Southern Ry. Co. v. Query, No. 410.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 27 Junio 1927
    ...418, 42 L. Ed. 819; Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Osborne, 265 U. S. 14, 16, 44 S. Ct. 431, 68 L. Ed. 878; Risty v. C., R. I. & P. R. Co., 270 U. S. 378, 388, 46 S. Ct. 236, 70 L. Ed. From the principles announced in these cases, we think it logically and inescapably follows that in the case a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
104 cases
  • Water Works & Sewer Bd. v. U.S. Dept. of Army, No. CV 95-PT-2956-S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • 22 Octubre 1997
    ...Railroad Commission v. Los Angeles R.R., 280 U.S. 145, 156, 50 S.Ct. 71, 73-74, 74 L.Ed. 234[] (1929); Risty v. Chicago, R.I. & P.R.R., 270 U.S. 378, 390, 46 S.Ct. 236, 241, 70 L.Ed. 641 (1926); City of New York v. Richardson, 473 F.2d 923, 929 (2nd Cir.1973) cert. denied sub nom. Lavine v.......
  • Schlosser v. Welsh, No. 66.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • 19 Febrero 1934
    ...U. S. 378, 53 S. Ct. 190, 77 L. Ed. 375; Hurn v. Oursler, 289 U. S. 238, 53 S. Ct. 586, 77 L. Ed. 1148; Risty v. C., R. I. & P. Ry. Co., 270 U. S. 378, 46 S. Ct. 236, 70 L. Ed. 2. (a) Where a state board or tribunal, or successive boards or tribunals, are vested with legislative or administ......
  • Chertkof v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, Civ. A. No. M-79-2258.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 19 Septiembre 1980
    ...plaintiff's rights outweighed the potential costs of federal adjudication. Similarly, in Risty v. Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co., 270 U.S. 378, 46 S.Ct. 236, 70 L.Ed. 641 (1926), the Court held that suits to enjoin a county's proposed assessment of lands, on the basis of alleged spe......
  • Southern Ry. Co. v. Query, No. 410.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 27 Junio 1927
    ...418, 42 L. Ed. 819; Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Osborne, 265 U. S. 14, 16, 44 S. Ct. 431, 68 L. Ed. 878; Risty v. C., R. I. & P. R. Co., 270 U. S. 378, 388, 46 S. Ct. 236, 70 L. Ed. From the principles announced in these cases, we think it logically and inescapably follows that in the case a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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