State Highway Commission v. Knight, 31160

CourtMississippi Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSmith, C. J.
Citation154 So. 263,170 Miss. 60
PartiesSTATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION v. KNIGHT
Docket Number31160
Decision Date09 April 1934

154 So. 263

170 Miss. 60

STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION
v.

KNIGHT

No. 31160

Supreme Court of Mississippi

April 9, 1934


Division A

1. STATES.

In absence of statute so providing, public corporation created in invitum and supported by taxation is not liable for damages caused by negligent acts of its officers and agents, or for their negligent failure to discharge duty imposed on corporation by law, or for their doing of unauthorized acts or their negligent doing of authorized acts.

[170 Miss. 61]

2. HIGHWAYS.

State highway commission held not liable for negligence of its engineers in so constructing ditches on sides of highway as to cause water of creek to overflow owners' farm lands (Code 1930, sections 4989 et seq., 4998, 5006, 6342, 6344; Constitution 1890, section 17).

3. HIGHWAYS.

Suit against state highway commission will lie only for liability imposed by statute, though commission is body corporate and may sue and be sued (Code 1930, section 5006; Constitution 1890, section 17).

HON. W. J. PACK, Judge.

APPEAL from circuit court of Jones county HON. W. J. PACK, Judge.

Suit by Ellen Knight against the State Highway Commission. Judgment was rendered for plaintiff in the county court. From a judgment of the circuit court for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Reversed, and cause dismissed.

Reversed, and cause dismissed.

W. W. Pierce, Assistant Attorney-General, for appellant.

The state highway commission is not liable for the damages sued for in this cause, because the state highway commission is a governmental agency of the state of Mississippi, and the statute, section 5006, Code of 1930, authorizing the commission to be sued, is the measure of power to sue the commission, and the statute being a general statute, the said commission is not liable to suits for damages caused by the negligent or tortious acts of its officers, agents and employees.

Home Ins. Co. v. Louisville N. O. & T. R. R. Co., 70 Miss. 119; Bigby v. U.S. 188 U.S. 400, 47 L.Ed. 519; State Highway Commission v. Gully, 145 So. 351; Stephens v. Beaver Dam Drainage District, 123 Miss. 884; Dick v. Drainage & Levee District, 147 Miss. 783; Stewart v. State Highway Commission, 166 Miss. 43; Ancrum v. Highway Department, 150 S.E. 981; Stevens v. Commissioner [170 Miss. 62] of Palisades Interstate Park, 108 A. 645; Mullinax v. Hambright, 104 S.E. 309; Smith v. State of New York, 13 A. L. R. 1264; Board of Improvements, etc., v. Moreland, 94 Ark. 380; Sherman et al. v. Gage, 279 S.W. 508; Gibbons v. U.S. 19 L.Ed. 453; Chapman v. State, 38 P. 475; Melvin v. State, 53 P. 416; Classidy v. St. Joseph's, 152 S.W. 306; Story on Agency (9 Ed.), section 319; Carpenter v. R. R. Co., 114 S.E. 693; Gunther v. County Road Commission, 396 N.W. 386; Watkins v. State Roads Commission, 95 A. 956; Looney v. Stryker et al., 249 P. 112; Sigwald v. State, 208 N.W. 162; Strickfadden et al. v. Green Creek Highway District et al., 49 A. L. R. 1057.

Section 17 of the Constitution of Mississippi of 1890 is not self-executing, so as to entitle the appellee to recover damages from the appellant, an agency of the state.

Robinson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275; State v. Harris, 74 Oregon, 573; Ladd & Tilton Bank v. Frawley, 98 Oregon, 241; Winchester v. Howard, 136 Cal. 432; State ex rel. Flanagan v. S. Dakota Rural Credit Board et al., 45 S. Dak. 619; State ex rel. v. Burkhart, 44 S.D. 285, 183 N.W. 870; In re Rigdon, 269 F. 150; Ford v. State, 209 S.W. 490; Wren v. Dixon, 40, Nev. 170, Ann. Cases 1918D 1064; Lake County v. Rollins, 130 U.S. 670, 32 L.Ed. 1060; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 6 L.Ed. 23; Trahan v. State Highway Commission, 151 So. 178; Grenada v. Grenada County, 115 Miss. 831; Brabham v. Board of Supervisors, 54 Miss. 363; Sutton v. Board of Police of Carroll County, 41 Miss. 236; Hall v. State, 79 Miss. 38; Latham v. State Highway Commission, 131 S.E. 185; State Highway Commission v. Gully, 145 So. 851; State v. Dinkins, 77 Miss. 874; Gulf Export Co. v. State, 112 Miss. 452; Brown, Land Commissioner et al. v. H. B. & Eugene Ford, 112 Miss. 678.

The power to sue a state board, agency or commission, is governed by statute and before such power may exist, [170 Miss. 63] such statute must expressly authorize liability to suit because the statute is the measure of power.

Mississippi Centennial Exposition Co. v. Luderbach et al., 123 Miss. 828; Corinth to Gulf Highway et al. v. Carothers & Co., 129 Miss. 645; Miss. Livestock Sanitary Board v. Williams et al., 133 Miss. 98; Ayres v. Board of Trustees, 134 Miss. 363; Nabors et al., Trustees, v. Smith et al., 135 Miss. 608; Stringer v. Roper, 125 Miss. 559.

L. K. Saul, of Ellisville, for appellee.

The principle of law governing suits against a political subdivision of the state is governed by statute, and when such statute exists, then that statute is the measure of the authority for such suits, limited of course, by the state constitution.

Miss. Live Stock Sanitary Board v. Williams et al., 133 Miss. 98, 97 So. 532; City of Grenada v. Grenada County, 115 Miss. 831, 76 So. 682; Pridgeon Iron Co. v. Leflore County, 135 Miss. 155, 99 So. 677; Harrison County v. Marions, 110 Miss. 582, 70 So. 702; Exposition Co. v. Ludenbach, 123 Miss. 828, 86 So. 517; State v. Dickins, 77 Miss. 874, 27 So. 832; Brabham v. Hinds County, 54 Miss. 363; State Highway Commission v. Gully, 145 So. 351; Stewart v. State Highway Commission, 166 Miss. 43.

If the statute provides the authority,...

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19 practice notes
  • Parker v. State Highway Commission, 31771
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 27, 1935
    ...acts complained of were done pursuant to the authority of chapter 122, Mississippi Code of 1930. State Highway Commission v. Knight, 154 So. 263; Dick v. Atchafalaya Drainage & Levee District, 147 Miss. 783, 113 So. 897. Instead of the court holding that a public service corporation created......
  • State Game and Fish Commission v. Louis Fritz Co, 33712
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 15, 1940
    ...147 Miss. 783; Nugent v. Bd. of Levee Com'rs., 58 Miss. 197; Stewart v. State Highway Com., 166 Miss. 43; State Highway Com. v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60; Lowe v. Levee Com'rs., 19 So. 346; Raney v. Hinds County, 79 Miss. 241; Harrison County v. Marione, 110 Miss. 592; Sevier Lake Drainage Dist.......
  • Lenoir v. Porters Creek Watershed Dist., No. 76-1640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 21, 1978
    ...an adequate remedy. Subsequent cases appear to have upheld Stephens ' interpretation of Section 17. State Highway Commissioner v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60, 154 So. 263 (1934); State Highway Commission v. McClendon, 212 Miss. 18, 53 So.2d 35 (1951); Belzoni Drainage Dist. v. Cobb, 137 Miss. 393,......
  • Wunderlich v. State Highway Commission, 33248
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 14, 1938
    ...of the contract by the Commission. State Highway Commission v. Chatham, 173 Miss. 427, 161 So. 674; State Highway Commission v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60, 154 So. 263; State Highway Commission v. Gully, 167 Miss. 631, 145 So. 351; Grenada v. Grenada County, 115 Miss. 831, 76 So. 682; Brabham v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Parker v. State Highway Commission, 31771
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 27, 1935
    ...acts complained of were done pursuant to the authority of chapter 122, Mississippi Code of 1930. State Highway Commission v. Knight, 154 So. 263; Dick v. Atchafalaya Drainage & Levee District, 147 Miss. 783, 113 So. 897. Instead of the court holding that a public service corporation created......
  • State Game and Fish Commission v. Louis Fritz Co, 33712
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • January 15, 1940
    ...147 Miss. 783; Nugent v. Bd. of Levee Com'rs., 58 Miss. 197; Stewart v. State Highway Com., 166 Miss. 43; State Highway Com. v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60; Lowe v. Levee Com'rs., 19 So. 346; Raney v. Hinds County, 79 Miss. 241; Harrison County v. Marione, 110 Miss. 592; Sevier Lake Drainage Dist.......
  • Lenoir v. Porters Creek Watershed Dist., No. 76-1640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 21, 1978
    ...an adequate remedy. Subsequent cases appear to have upheld Stephens ' interpretation of Section 17. State Highway Commissioner v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60, 154 So. 263 (1934); State Highway Commission v. McClendon, 212 Miss. 18, 53 So.2d 35 (1951); Belzoni Drainage Dist. v. Cobb, 137 Miss. 393,......
  • Wunderlich v. State Highway Commission, 33248
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 14, 1938
    ...of the contract by the Commission. State Highway Commission v. Chatham, 173 Miss. 427, 161 So. 674; State Highway Commission v. Knight, 170 Miss. 60, 154 So. 263; State Highway Commission v. Gully, 167 Miss. 631, 145 So. 351; Grenada v. Grenada County, 115 Miss. 831, 76 So. 682; Brabham v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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