Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtAILSHIE, Presiding J.
Citation19 Idaho 595,115 P. 682
Decision Date28 March 1911
PartiesTHE WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY, Appellant, v. CHARLES WATERS, BERTHA E. WATERS, and SEBASTIANO DEMICCO, Respondents

115 P. 682

19 Idaho 595

THE WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY, Appellant,
v.

CHARLES WATERS, BERTHA E. WATERS, and SEBASTIANO DEMICCO, Respondents

Supreme Court of Idaho

March 28, 1911


EMINENT DOMAIN-POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN-PUBLIC USE-NECESSITY FOR TAKING-CONSTITUTIONAL GRANT-CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION-RESERVOIRS AND STORAGE BASINS.

(Syllabus by the court.)

1. Sec. 14, art. 1 of the constitution provides that "the necessary use of lands for the construction of reservoirs, or storage basins, for the purposes of irrigation, or for the rights of way for the construction of canals, ditches, flumes, etc.,.... for any useful, beneficial or necessary purpose,.... is hereby declared to be a public use, and subject to the regulation and control of the state"

2. The constitution, sec. 14, art. 1, conferring the right of eminent domain, does not limit the "necessary use of lands" for "the construction of reservoirs or storage basins" to the "purposes of irrigation" alone, but rather intends to confer the power and authority to condemn lands for reservoirs or storage basins "for any useful, beneficial, or necessary purpose" to which water can be used or applied or for which it can be stored or impounded.

3. Sec. 5210 of the Rev. Codes, which authorizes the condemnation of land for necessary use in constructing lines to be "used in transmitting electric current for power, lighting, heating or other purposes," constitutes a legislative interpretation and construction that the authority somewhere exists for condemning lands for power sites and power stations for generating electrical current and electrical energy, and carries with it the implied power to do those things necessary in order to generate the electrical current which is to be transmitted over such lines.

4. Where it is found and determined that the use for which land is sought to be condemned is a public use, the extent or area of land to be taken, and the necessity for the taking of the particular tract or parcel of land must be left in some measure to the judgment and discretion of the agency on which the state has conferred the power of eminent domain, subject always to the ultimate and supervising judgment and control of the courts.

[19 Idaho 596]

5. Under the facts as disclosed by the record in this case, held, that the construction of a dam in the Spokane river at Post Falls, and the raising the same to such a height as to increase the height of the waters in Coeur d'Alene lake for storage purposes to be used in the low-water season for power purposes in generating electrical current and energy for lighting, heating and power, is a public use within the meaning and purview of sec. 14, art. 1 of the state constitution and sec. 5210 of the Rev. Codes.

APPEAL from the District Court of the Eighth Judicial District, for Kootenai County. Hon. Robert N. Dunn, Judge.

Action by plaintiff to condemn a tract of land overflowed by the waters of Coeur d'Alene lake by reason of raising the level of the waters therein by means of dams and mechanical appliances placed in the Spokane river at Post Falls. Judgment for the defendants and plaintiff appealed. Reversed.

Reversed and remanded. Costs awarded in favor of respondents.

Gray & Knight and Charles L. Heitman, for Appellant.

The use and purposes for which plaintiff seeks to condemn and appropriate that portion of defendants' land described in the plaintiff's amended complaint is a public use, and a use authorized by law. (Hollister v. State, 9 Idaho 8, 71 P. 541; Potlatch Lumber Co. v. Peterson, 12 Idaho 769, 118 Am. St. 233, 88 P. 426; State ex rel. Dominick v. Superior Court, 52 Wash. 196, 100 P. 317, 21 L. R. A., N. S., 448; Jones v. North Georgia Electric Co., 125 Ga. 618, 54 S.E. 85, 6 L. R. A., N. S., 122, 5 Ann. Cas. 526; Baillie v. Larson, 138 F. 177; Clark v. Nash, 198 U.S. 361, 25 S.Ct. 676, 49 L.Ed. 1085, 4 Ann. Cas. 1171; Strickley v. Highland Boy Gold Mining Co., 200 U.S. 527, 26 S.Ct. 301, 50 L.Ed. 581, 4 Ann. Cas. 1174; Rockingham County Light & Power Co. v. Hobbs, 72 N.H. 531, 58 A. 46, 66 L. R. A. 581; Helena Power Trans. Co. v. Spratt, 35 Mont. 108, 88 P. 773, 8 L. R. A., N. S., 567, 10 Ann. Cas. 1055; S. C., 37 Mont. 60, 94 P. 631; Denver Power and Irr. Co. v. D. R. G. R. Co., 30 Colo. 204, 69 P. 568, 60 L. R. A. 383; Lamborn v. Bell, 18 Colo. 346, 32 P. 989, 20 L. R. A. 241; Walker v. Shasta Power Co., 160 F. 856, 87 C. C. A. 660 (9th Circuit); In re Niagara L. & P. Co., 111 A.D. 686, 97 N.Y.S. 853; Dayton Gold & Silver Mining Co. v. Seawell, 11 Nev. 394; Overman Silver Mining Co. v. Corcoran, 15 Nev. 147; Douglass v. Byrnes, 59 F. 29.)

If in the end the property is devoted to a public use, the mere agency or instrumentality through which that result is accomplished is a matter of no concern. (State v. Superior Court, 52 Wash. 196, 100 P. 317, 21 L. R. A., N. S., 448; Jones v. North Georgia Electric Co., 125 Ga. 618, 24 S.E. 85, 6 L. R. A., N. S., 122, 5 Ann. Cas. 526; In re Niagara L. & P. Co., 111 A.D. 686, 97 N.Y.S. 853; In re East Canada Creek Electric Power Co., 49 Misc. 565, 99 N.Y. Supp, 109; Farnham on Waters, p. 2142.)

If the use is a public use, then unquestionably the taking of the land is necessary to carry out the use.

The condemning party is ordinarily permitted to decide what particular land is required for the purpose of carrying out the public use in which it is engaged. Of course, the right to make such selection is subject to the right of the courts to prevent an abuse of the power. (Riley v. Charleston Union Station Co., 71 S.C. 457, 110 Am. St. 579, 51 S.E. 485.)

The necessity is not measured or limited by immediate needs. (In re N.Y. C. & H. R. Co., 77 N.Y. 248; In re Burns, 155 N.Y. 23, 49 N.E. 247; Pittsburg etc. R. Co. v. Peet, 152 Pa. 488, 25 A. 612, 19 L. R. A. 467; Kountze v. Prop. Morris Aqueduct, 58 N.J.L. 303, 33 A. 252; In re St. Paul etc. Ry. Co., 34 Minn. 227, 25 N.W. 345; Spring Valley Water Works v. Drinkhouse, 92 Cal. 528, 28 P. 681; Col. Ry. etc. Co. v. Union P. Co., 41 F. 293-299; Samish River Boom Co. v. Union Boom Co., 32 Wash. 586, 73 P. 673.)

Kerns & Ryan, for Respondents.

If the legislature or the framers of our constitution intended to grant electric power companies the right to create reservoirs and flood lands belonging to others for that purpose, they would have unmistakably expressed their wish in words needing no interpretation; they would have declared that land might be taken for reservoirs for the creation of electric energy by water power in the same unmistakable words that they declared that land might be taken for reservoirs for the purposes of irrigation. The right to exercise the power of eminent domain is strictly limited to the purposes specified in the constitution and statutes conferring it and cannot be gathered from doubtful inferences. (Hudson County Water Co. v. McCarter, 209 U.S. 349, 28 S.Ct. 529, 52 L.Ed. 828, 14 Ann. Cas. 560; Portneuf Irr. Co. v. Budge, 16 Idaho 116-126, 100 P. 1046.)

"Inasmuch as the right of eminent domain is one which lies dormant in the state until legislative action is had pointing out the occasion, mode, condition, and agencies for its exercise, the right to exercise the power must be conferred by statute either in express words or by necessary implication. The power should not be gathered from doubtful inferences, but should be unmistakably expressed." (15 Cyc. 567, 578; Cooley Const. Lim., 7th ed., pp. 759, 761, 762, 767; Shoemaker v. United States, 147 U.S. 282, 13 S.Ct. 361, 37 L.Ed. 170, 184; Minnesota Canal & Power Co. v. Koochiching Co., 97 Minn. 429, 107 N.W. 405, 5 L. R. A., N. S., 638, 7 Ann. Cas. 1182; Ligare v. City of Chicago, 139 Ill. 46, 32 Am. St. 179, 28 N.E. 934; United States v. Rauers, 70 F. 748; Ryerson v. Brown, 35 Mich. 333, 24 Am. Rep. 564; Clark v. Nash, 198 U.S. 361, 369, 25 S.Ct. 676, 49 L.Ed. 1085, 4 Ann. Cas. 1171; Avery v. Vermont, 75 Vt. 235, 98 Am. St. 818, 54 A. 179, 59 L. R. A. 817; Fallsburg v. Alexander, 101 Va. 98, 99 Am. St. 855, 43 S.E. 194, 61 L. R. A. 129; Walker v. Shasta Power Co., 160 F. 856, 87 C. C. A. 660; Tacoma I. Co. v. White Power Co., 39 Wash. 648, 82 P. 150, 2 L. R. A., N. S., 842, 4 Ann. Cas. 987; distinguished in State v. Superior Court, 52 Wash. 196, 100 P. 317, 21 L. R. A., N. S., 448; Brown v. Gerald, 100 Me. 351, 109 Am. St. 526, 61 A. 785, 70 L. R. A. 472; In re Tuthill 163 N.Y. 133, 79 Am. St. 574, 57 N.E. 303, 49 L. R. A. 781; Latah County v. Peterson, 2 Idaho 1118, 29 P. 1089; Avery v. Vermont Electric Co., 75 Vt. 235, 98 Am. St. 818, 54 A. 179, 59 L. R. A. 817; Head v. Amoskeag Mfg. Co., 113 U.S. 9, 5 S.Ct. 441, 28 L.Ed. 889; State v. White River Power Co., 39 Wash. 648, 82 P. 150, 2 L. R. A., N. S., 842, 4 Ann. Cas. 987; Grande Ronde Electric Co. v. Drake, 46 Ore. 243, 78 P. 1031, 1033, and other cases cited; Sterritt v. Young, 14 Wyo. 146, 116 Am. St. 994, 82 P. 946, 4 L. R. A., N. S., 169.)

The right of eminent domain is one which rests solely in the sovereign, but it may be delegated by the sovereign to individuals or corporations. The delegation of authority, however, must and always is construed as a grant by the sovereign and all such grants must be strictly construed. (U. S. v. Rizzinelli, 182 F. 675; Oregon R. & N. Co. v. Oregonian Ry. Co., 130 U.S. 1, 9 S.Ct. 409, 32 L.Ed. 837; Coosaw M. Co. v. South Carolina, 144 U.S. 550, 12 S.Ct. 689, 36 L.Ed. 537; Dillon, Municipal Corp., 603; Johnson v. Schmidt, 90 Wis. 301, 63 N.W. 288; S.W. Mo. Light Co. v. Scheurich et al., 174 Mo. 235, 73 S.W. 496; Pickman v. Inhabitants of Peabody, 145 Mass. 480, 14 N.E. 751; Howard Mills Co. v. Schwartz Lumber & Coal Co., 77 Kan. 599, 95 P. 559, 18 L. R. A., N. S., 356; Lewis' Sutherland Stat. Const., sec. 548, 559; Central Transp. Co. v. Pullman's Palace Car Co., 139 U.S. 24, 11 S.Ct. 478, 35 L.Ed. 55; 1 Lewis' Em. Dom., sec. 371, 388; Penn Telephone Co. v. Hoover, 209 Pa. 555, 58...

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22 practice notes
  • Grover Irrigation and Land Company v. Lovella Ditch, Reservoir and Irrigation Company, 705
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • April 7, 1913
    ...fact that the people of another state will also be benefited. (Gilmer v. Lime Point, 18 Cal. 229; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Columbus W. & W. Co. v. Long, 121 Ala. 245, 25 So. 702.) It was said in the California case, that it is not essential that the us......
  • Marsh Mining Co. v. Inland Empire Mining & Milling Co.
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • March 18, 1916
    ...lands as are necessary for such use thereto. The constitution in this particular is self-executing. (Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Potlatch Lumber Co. v. Peterson, 12 Idaho 769, 118 Am. St. 233, 88 P. 426; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 186 F. 572; L......
  • Boise City v. Boise City Development Co., Ltd.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • August 3, 1925
    ...measure left to the judgment and discretion of the public agency seeking to make the condemnation." (Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682.) "The state or its agents in charge of a public use must necessarily survey and locate the land to be taken, and are by statut......
  • Blackwell Lumber Co. v. Empire Mill Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 19, 1916
    ...Idaho 68, 96 P. 195; Portneuf Irrigating Co. v. Budge, 16 Idaho 116, 100 P. 1046, 18 Ann. Cas. 674; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Idaho-Western Ry. Co. v. Columbia Conference etc. Synod, 20 Idaho 568, 119 P. 60, 38 L. R. A., N. S., 497; Thomas v. Boise City......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • Grover Irrigation and Land Company v. Lovella Ditch, Reservoir and Irrigation Company, 705
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • April 7, 1913
    ...fact that the people of another state will also be benefited. (Gilmer v. Lime Point, 18 Cal. 229; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Columbus W. & W. Co. v. Long, 121 Ala. 245, 25 So. 702.) It was said in the California case, that it is not essential that the us......
  • Marsh Mining Co. v. Inland Empire Mining & Milling Co.
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • March 18, 1916
    ...lands as are necessary for such use thereto. The constitution in this particular is self-executing. (Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Potlatch Lumber Co. v. Peterson, 12 Idaho 769, 118 Am. St. 233, 88 P. 426; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 186 F. 572; L......
  • Boise City v. Boise City Development Co., Ltd.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • August 3, 1925
    ...measure left to the judgment and discretion of the public agency seeking to make the condemnation." (Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682.) "The state or its agents in charge of a public use must necessarily survey and locate the land to be taken, and are by statut......
  • Blackwell Lumber Co. v. Empire Mill Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 19, 1916
    ...Idaho 68, 96 P. 195; Portneuf Irrigating Co. v. Budge, 16 Idaho 116, 100 P. 1046, 18 Ann. Cas. 674; Washington Water Power Co. v. Waters, 19 Idaho 595, 115 P. 682; Idaho-Western Ry. Co. v. Columbia Conference etc. Synod, 20 Idaho 568, 119 P. 60, 38 L. R. A., N. S., 497; Thomas v. Boise City......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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