Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Department of Motor Vehicles, No. 18476

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtDUNIWAY; BRAY, P. J., and TOBRINER
Citation177 Cal.App.2d 448,2 Cal.Rptr. 431
PartiesYOSEMITE PARK & CURRY CO., a corporation, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Robert i. McCarthy, A. J. Veglia, Bert Levit and Alan Cranston, defendants and Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 18476
Decision Date27 January 1960

Page 431

2 Cal.Rptr. 431
177 Cal.App.2d 448
YOSEMITE PARK & CURRY CO., a corporation, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Robert i. McCarthy, A. J. Veglia, Bert Levit and Alan Cranston, defendants and Appellants.
No. 18476.
District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California.
Jan. 27, 1960.
Hearing Denied March 23, 1960.

Page 432

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen. of California, James E. Sabine, Asst. Atty. Gen., Ernest P. Goodman, Harry W. Low, Dep. Attys. Gen., San Francisco, for appellants.

Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, San Francisco, for respondent.

[177 Cal.App.2d 449] DUNIWAY, Justice.

The sole question presented by this appeal is whether the statutes of this state require registration of, and impose registration fees and motor vehicle license fees in relation to, vehicles owned by respondent and operated exclusively on the Federal Government's roads in Yousemite National Park. The court below held that they do not, and we agree.

The facts have been presented mainly by stipulation, and the lower court adopted these stipulations as its findings.

Respondent, as concessionaire, is engaged in the operation of hotels, stores, transportation services and other activities in the park, pursuant to a series of contracts between it and the United States. In order that it may perform its duties under these contracts and provide in the park the services required and approved by the Secretary of the Interior, respondent owns and operates, and has done so for many years, numerous motor vehicles, including buses, trucks and passenger automobiles.

Within the limits of the park there lies a system of roads owned, maintained, improved, repaired, controlled and policed exclusively by the United States. These activities are financed solely by the United States; for over 30 years, no funds of the State of California or any of its political subdivisions have been expended for any of these purposes. Motor vehicles may use these roads only if written permission has been issued by the United States, for which permission, in most cases, fees are imposed. Certain of respondent's vehicles were for some time operated exclusively upon these federal roads.

When respondent brought those cars out of the park, it registered them and paid the registration fees and license fees that, as it conceded, then became due. The Department of Motor Vehicles imposed fees and penalties for the period when the vehicles were operated solely upon the federal roads. Payment was made under protest, followed by proper claim for refund, which was denied. This action followed. Respondent prayed for both refunds and declaratory relief.

Judgment was awarded in accordance with this prayer. The court, in its conclusions of law, held that the federal roads are not highways or public highways within the meaning of those provisions of the Vehicle Code which require registration of motor vehicles and the payment of registration and weight fees thereon, or within the meaning of the provisions of the Vehicle License Fee Law; that those provisions do not apply to the operation by respondent of its motor vehicles on such [177 Cal.App.2d 450] roads, and respondent is not required by those provisions to register those vehicles, or to pay any registration, weight or license fees in regard thereto; and that respondent is entitled to recover the fees and penalties which defendants have erroneously collected.

The history of the land comprising the park and of the acts of California and the United States which bear upon this area are discussed in Collins v. Yosemite Park & Curry Co., 304 U.S. 518, 58 S.Ct. 1009, 82 L.Ed. 1502, and Standard Oil Co. of California

Page 433

v. Johnson, 10 Cal.2d 758, 76 P.2d 1184. The applicable statutes are Stats. 1919, ch. 51, p. 748 and 41 U.S.Stats., ch. 218, p. 731, 16 U.S.C.A. § 57 et seq. By the first of these acts California reserved 'the right to tax persons and corporations, their franchises and property on the lands included in' the park, and by the second the United States consented to this reservation. The question before us is not as to the power of the state to levy the fees involved. Power to do so would appear to be established by the Yosemite Park & Curry Company and Standard Oil Company cases, although we do not decide that question. See also Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Johnson, 10 Cal.2d 770, 76 P.2d 1191; Rainier Nat. Park Co. v. Martin, D.C., 18 F.Supp. 481, affirmed 302 U.S. 661, 58 S.Ct. 478, 82 L.Ed. 511; Rainier Nat. Park Co. v. Henneford, 182 Wash. 159, 45 P.2d 617, certiorari denied 296 U.S. 647, 56 S.Ct. 307, 80 L.Ed. 460; Superior Bath House Co. v. McCarroll, 312 U.S. 176, 61 S.Ct. 503, 85 L.Ed. 721; Buckstaff Bath House Co. v. McKinley, 308 U.S. 358, 60 S.Ct. 279, 84 L.Ed. 322; State ex rel. State Board of Equalization v. Glacier Park Co., 118 Mont. 205, 164 P.2d 366; Wilson v. Cook, 327 U.S. 474, 66 S.Ct. 663, 90 L.Ed. 793; Texas Co. v. Siefried, 60 Wyo. 142, 147 P.2d 837, 150 P.2d 99. The question, rather, is whether the state has attempted to exercise its power.

Serious questions might be raised as to the power of the state to impose many of the requirements of the Vehicle Code relating to registration upon respondent as owner of these vehicles if it were held that the state has attempted to do so (Collins v. Yosemite Park & Curry Co., 304 U.S. 518, 58 S.Ct. 1009, 82 L.Ed. 1502), as well as questions about their separability from the fee provisions under Vehicle Code, section 5. Standard Oil Co. of California v. Johnson, supra, 10 Cal.2d 758, 76 P.2d 1184. However, as will be shown, it is unnecessary for us to reach these questions.

We come, then, to the question as to whether the Legislature [177 Cal.App.2d 451] has imposed the vehicle license fee and the registration requirements and fees, in relation to those of respondent's vehicles that are here involved. The statutory provisions most directly pertinent, certain key provisions being italicized by us, are the following:

Revenue and Taxation Code ('Vehicle License Fee Law')

Section 10751. 'A license fee is hereby imposed for the privilege of operating upon the public highways in this State any vehicle of a type which is subject to registration under the Vehicle Code.'

Section 10702. "Vehicle' means every vehicle subject to registration under the Vehicle Code.'

Section 10758. 'The license fee imposed * * * is in lieu of all taxes according to value levied * * * on vehicles of a type subject to registration * * * whether or not the vehicles are registered * * *'

Section 10853. 'Whenever any vehicle is operated upon any highway of this State without the license fee having first been paid * * * the fee is delinquent.'

Section 10855. 'Evidence of nonoperation of a vehicle shall be given by an affidavit * * *'

Section 10856. 'Upon receipt of the application for renewal and affidavit of nonoperation, the department shall collect the proper fee for the current calendar year. No penalty shall be imposed if the department receives the application and affidavit within 30 days after the date of first operation of the vehicle during the current year.'

Sections 11001-11005 deal with disposition of the fees collected, and make it clear that the funds are to be used primarily for the state's highways.

Vehicle Code 1 (Numbers of sections are those used before the 1959 revision).

Section 81. "Street' or 'highway' is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.'

Page 434

Section 82. "Private road or driveway' is a way or place in private ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner but not by other members of the public.'

Section 140. 'It is a misdemeanor for any person to drive or move * * * upon any highway any vehicle of a type required to be registered hereunder which is not registered or for which the appropriate fee has not been paid * * *'

[177 Cal.App.2d 452] Section 141. '* * * [subject to certain exemptions] registration of the following vehicles is required when driven or moved upon a highway: Any motor vehicle * * *.'

Section 164.5. 'When the registration of a vehicle has expired * * * and such vehicle is not thereafter operated upon the highways, then any application for renewal * * * shall be accompanied by a certificate of nonoperation and such application * * * shall be received by the department upon...

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13 practice notes
  • Cal. Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, No. A125493.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 June 2011
    ...officials despite evidence interpretation had changed over the years]; Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 454–455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431 [weight given to agency's long-standing practice of not collecting certain taxes that was contrary to agency's......
  • Jones v. Pierce, No. H002868
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 17 March 1988
    ...§ 4010 (formerly § 142), exemption for special construction equipment]; Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 451, 455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431 [interpreting § 4000, subd. (a)'s predecessor statute (§ 140) as referring to state maintained and controlled hig......
  • Home Indemnity Co. v. King
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 7 May 1982
    ...Terminal are "highways" within the meaning of the Vehicle Code. (Compare Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431, with United States v. Barner (D.C.1961) 195 F.Supp. 103, 106.) Even if they are, there is no evidence in the record ......
  • United States v. Barner, Cr. No. 12930.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • 18 May 1961
    ...helpful to the Court, they are, as has been previously noted, not binding. Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Department of Motor Vehicles, 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431, cited by defendant, involved the interpretation of a taxing and licensing statute. The issue in that case was whether th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Cal. Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, No. A125493.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 June 2011
    ...officials despite evidence interpretation had changed over the years]; Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 454–455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431 [weight given to agency's long-standing practice of not collecting certain taxes that was contrary to agency's......
  • Jones v. Pierce, No. H002868
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 17 March 1988
    ...§ 4010 (formerly § 142), exemption for special construction equipment]; Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 451, 455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431 [interpreting § 4000, subd. (a)'s predecessor statute (§ 140) as referring to state maintained and controlled hig......
  • Home Indemnity Co. v. King
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 7 May 1982
    ...Terminal are "highways" within the meaning of the Vehicle Code. (Compare Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 455, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431, with United States v. Barner (D.C.1961) 195 F.Supp. 103, 106.) Even if they are, there is no evidence in the record ......
  • United States v. Barner, Cr. No. 12930.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • 18 May 1961
    ...helpful to the Court, they are, as has been previously noted, not binding. Yosemite Park & Curry Co. v. Department of Motor Vehicles, 177 Cal.App.2d 448, 2 Cal.Rptr. 431, cited by defendant, involved the interpretation of a taxing and licensing statute. The issue in that case was whether th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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