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the obligation of contracts. And even a provision in a corporate charter, empowering the legislature to alter, modify, or repeal it, would not authorize a subsequent act which, on pretence of amendment, or of a police regulation, would have the effect to appropriate a portion of the corporate property to the public use. And where by its charter the corporation was empowered to construct over a river a certain bridge, which must necessarily constitute an obstruction to the navigation of the river, a subsequent amendment making the corporation liable for such obstruction was held void, as in effect depriving the corporation of the very right which the charter assured to it. So where the charter reserved to the legislature the right of modification after the corporators had been reimbursed their expenses in constructing the bridge, with twelve per cent interest thereon, * an amendment before such reimbursement, [* 579] requiring the construction of a fifty-foot draw for the passage of vessels, in place of one of thirty-two feet, was held unconstitutional and void. So it has been held that a power to
1 Ibid. And see State v. Noyes, which limits the rates of fare and 47 Me. 189. Compare Camden, &c. freight which may be charged; for R. R. Co. v. Briggs, 2 N. J. 623; and the exercise of this might be carried also Philadelphia, &c. R. R. Co. v. to an extent which would annihilate Bowers, 4 Houst. 506, in which an act the whole value of railroad property. regulating freights and fares, where The power, however, is very fully no such power was reserved in the sustained, where the right to amend charter, was held void. A view op- is reserved in the charter. Attorneyposed to this is intimated by Ryan, General v. Chicago, &c. R. R. Co., Ch. J., in Attorney-General v. Chi- 35 Wis. 425; Blake v. Winona, &c. cago, &c. R. R. Co., 35 Wis. 425. R. R. Co., 19 Minn: 418; s. C. 18
. It has been held that the reser- Am. Rep. 345; Chicago, &c. R. R. vation of a right to amend or repeal Co. e'. Iowa, 94 U. S. Rep. 155; Peck would not justify an act requiring a 0. Chicago, &c. R. R. Co., 6 Biss. 177. railroad company to cause a proposed See a like rule applied to a ferry new street or highway to be taken company in Parker v. Metropolitan across their track, and to cause the R. R. Co., 109 Mass. 506. A requirenecessary embankments, excavations, ment that rates of fare and freight and other work to be done for that shall be annually fixed and published purpose at their own expense; thus is legitimate as an exercise of the ponot only appropriating a part of their lice power. Railroad Co. v. Fuller, property to another public use, but 17 Wall. 560. compelling them to fit it for such use. 8 Bailey v. Philadelphia, &c. R. R. Miller v. N. Y. and Erie R. R. Co., Co., 4 Harr. . 389. Compare Com21 Barb. 513. This, however, can monwealth v. Penn. Canal Co., 66 scarcely be a more severe exercise of Penn. St. 41; s. c. 5 Am. Rep. 329. the power than is the amendment to 4 Washington Bridge Co. v. State, the charter of a railroad corporation 18 Conn. 53.
a municipal corporation to regulate the speed of railway carriages, would not authorize such regulation, except in the streets and public grounds of the city ; such being the fair construction of the power, and the necessity for this police regulation not extending further. But there are decisions on this point which are the other way.2
On the other hand, the right to require existing railroad corporations to fence their track, and to make them liable for all beasts killed by going upon it, has been sustained on two grounds: first, as regarding the division fence between adjoining proprietors, and in that view being but a reasonable provision for the protection of domestic animals; and second, and chiefly, as essential to the protection of persons being transported in the railway carriages. Having this double purpose in view, the
i State v. Jersey City, 29 N. J. Ohio and Mississippi R. R. Co. v. 170.
McClelland, 25 III. 145; Madison and 2 In Buffalo and Niagara Falls Indianapolis R. R. Co. v. Whiteneck, R. R. Co. v. Buffalo, 5 Hill, 209, it 8 Ind. 230; Indianapolis and Cincinwas held that a statutory power in a nati R. R. Co. v. Townsend, 10 Ind. city to regulate the running of cars 38; Same v. Kercheval, 16 Ind. St; within the corporate limits would Corwin v. N. Y. and Erie R. R Co., justify an ordinance entirely prohibit- 13 N. Y. 42; Horn v. Atlantic and ing the use of steam for propelling St. Lawrence R. R. Co., 35 N. H. cars through any part of the city. 169, and 36 N. H. 440; Fawcett v. And see Great Western R. R. Co. v. York and North Midland R. Co., Decatur, 33 Ill. 381; Branson v. Phil- 15 Jur. 173; Smith v. Eastern R. R. adelphia, 47 Penn. St. 329; Whitson Co., 35 N. H. 356; Bulkley v. N. Y. v. Franklin, 34 Ind. 396. Affirming and N. H. R. R. Co., 27 Conn. 479; the general right to permit the mu- Jones v. Galena, &c. R. R. Co., 16 nicipalities to regulate the speed of Iowa, 6; Winona, &c. R. R. Co. v. trains, see Chicago, &c. R. R. Co. v. Waldron, 11 Minn. 515; Bradley v. Haggerty, 67 Ill. 113; Pennsylvania Buffalo, &c. R. R. Co., 34 N. Y. 429; R. R. Co. v. Lewis, 79 Penn. St. 33; Sawyer v. Vermont, &c. R. R. Co., Haas v. Chicago, &c. R. R. Co., 41 105 Mass. 196; Pennsylvania R. R. Wis. 44. That the legislature may Co. v. Riblet, 66 Penn. St. 164; s. C. compel railroad companies to carry 5 Am. Rep. 360; Kansas Pacific impartially for all, see Chicago, &c. R. R. Co. v. Mower, 16 Kan. 573; R. R. Co. v. People, 67 II. 11. But Wilder v. Maine Central R. R. Co., if the carriage is of persons from 65 Me. 332. As to the degree of State to State, the State has no such care required of railroad companies control. Hall v. DeCuir, 95 U. S. in keeping up their fences, compare Rep. 485.
Antisdel v. Chicago, &c. R. R. Co., 3 Thorpe v. Rutland and Burling- 26 Wis. 145; Lemmon 0. Chicago, ton R. R. Co., 27 Vt. 156; New Al- &c. R. R. Co., 32 Iowa, 151; Chicago, bany and Salem R. R. Co. v. Tilton, &c. R. R. Co. v. Barrie, 55 Ill. 226, 12 Ind. 3; Same v. Maiden, 12 Ind. and cases cited therein. A statute 10; Same v. McNamara, 11 Ind. 543; making railroad companies liable for
owner of beasts killed or injured may maintain an action for the damage suffered, notwithstanding he may not himself be free from negligence. But it would, perhaps, require an express legislative declaration that the corporation should be liable for the beasts thus destroyed to * create so great an in- [* 580] novation in the common law. The general rule, where a corporation has failed to obey the police regulations established for its government, would not make the corporation liable to the party injured, if his own negligence contributed with that of the corporation in producing the injury.2
The State may also regulate the grade of railways, and prescribe how, and upon what grade, railway tracks shall cross each
injuries by fire communicated by their Schenectady R. R. Co., 8 Barb. 390; locomotive engines was sustained as Horne v. Atlantic and St. Lawrence to companies previously in existence, R. R. Co., 35 N. H. 169;. O'Bannon in Lyman v. Boston and Worcester v. Louisville, &c. R. R. Co., 8 Bush, R. R. Co., 4 Cush. 288; Rodemacher 348; Illinois Cent. R. R. Co. v. Ar0. Milwaukee, &c. R. R. Co. 41 lowa, nold, 47 Ill. 173; Hinman v. Chicago, 297; s. C. 20 Am. Rep. 592; Gorman &c. R. R. Co., 28 Iowa, 491. v. Pacific Railroad, 26 Mo. 441. But 2 Jackson v. Rutland and Burlingit is not competent to make railroad ton R. R. Co., 25 Vt. 150. And see companies liable for injuries for which Marsh v. N. Y. and Erie R. R. Co., they are in no way responsible. It 14 Barb. 361; Joliet and N. I. R. R. is therefore held that an act imposing Co. v. Jones, 20 N. 221; Tonawanda upon railroad companies the expense R. R. Co. v. Munger, 5 Denio, 255, of coroners' inquests, burial, &c., of and 4 N. Y. 255; Price v. New Jer. persons who may die on its cars, or sey R. R. Co., 31 N. J. 229; Drake be killed by collision, &c., is invalid v. Philadelphia, &c. R. R. Co., 51 as applied to cases where the company Penn. St. 240. In Indianapolis and is not in fault. Ohio, &c. R. R. Co. Cincinnati R. R. Co. v. Kercheval, v. Lackey, 78 III. 55. That it is as 16 Ind. 81, it was held that a clause competent to lessen the common law in the charter of a railroad corporaliabilities of railroad companies as to tion which declared that when the increase them, see Kerby v. Penn- corporators should have procured a sylvania R. R. Co., 76 Penn. St. 506. right of way as therein provided, And see Camden and Amboy R. R. they should be seised in fee-simple
Briggs, 22 N. J. 623; Trice v. of the right to the land, and should Hannibal, &c. R. R. Co., 49 Mo. 188. have the sole use and occupation of
1 Corwin v. N. Y. and Erie R. R. the same, and no person, body corCo., 13 N. Y. 42; Indianapolis and porate or politic, should in any way Cincinnati R. R. Co. v. Townsend, interfere therewith, molest, disturb, 10 Ind. 38; Jeffersonville, &c. R. R. or injure any of the rights and priviCo. v. Nichols, 30 Ind. 321; Same v. leges thereby granted, &c., would not Parkhurst, 34 Ind. 501; Suydam v. take from the State the power to esMoore, 8 Barb. 358; Fawcett v. York tablish a police regulation making and North Midland R. Co., 15 Jur. the corporation liable for cattle killed 173; Waldron v. Rensselaer and by their cars.
other; and it may apportion the expense of making the necessary crossings between the corporations owning the roads. And it
may establish regulations requiring existing railways to ring the bell or blow the whistle of their engines immediately before passing highways at grade, or other places where their approach might be dangerous to travel, or to station flagmen at such or any other dangerous places. And it has even been intimated that it might be competent for the State to make railway corporations liable as insurers for the safety of all persons carried by them, in the same manner that they are by law liable as carriers of goods;
though this would seem to be pushing the police power to (* 581] an * extreme. But those statutes which have recently
i Fitchburg R. R. Co. v. Grand 45 Me. 560; s. c. 49 Me. 156; Galena Junction R. R. Co., 1 Allen, 552, and and (hicago U. R. R. Co. v. Dill, 4 Allen, 198; Pittsburgh, &c. R. R. 22 Ill. 264; Same v. Appleby, 28 Ill. Co. v. S. W. Penn. R. R. Co., 77 283; Ohio and Mississippi R. R. Co. Penn. St. 173. The legislature may v. McClelland, 25 Il. 145; Clark's regulate the speed at highway and Adin’r v. Hannibal and St. Jo. R. R. other crossings. Rockford, &c. R. R. Co., 36 Mo. 202; Chicago, &c. R. R. Co. v. Hillmer, 72 Jl. 235. “While Co. v. Triplett, 38 Il. 482 ; Commonthe franchise of a railroad company wealth v. Eastern R. R. Co., 103 licenses generally unlimited speed, Mass. 234; s. c. 4 Am. Rep. 555. power is reserved to the legislature 3 Toledo, &c. R. R. Co. v. Jackto regulate the exercise of the fran- sonville, 67 lll. 37. In many States chise for public security.” Ryan, now there are railroad commissioners Ch. J., in Horn v. Chicago, &c. R. R. appointed by law, with certain powers Co., 38 Wis. 463. The regulation is of supervision, more or less extensive. in favorem vitæ. Haas v. Chicago, Respecting these it has been said in &c. R. R. Co., 41 Wis. 44.
Maine: Our whole system of legis2 " The legislature has the power, lative supervision through the railby general laws, from time to time, road commissioners acting as a State as the public exigencies inay require, police over railroads, is founded upon to regulate corporations in their fran- the theory that the public duties chises, so as to provide for the public devolved upon railroad corporations safety. The provision in question is by their charter are ministerial, and a mere police regulation, enacted for therefore liable to be thus enforced.” the protection and safety of the public, Railroad Commissioners v. Portland, and in no manner interferes with or &c. R. R. Co., 63 Me. 269; 8. c. 18 impairs the powers conferred on the Am. Rep. 208. defendants in their act of incorpora- 4 Thorpe v. Rutland and Burlingtion.” Galena and Chicago U. R. R. ton R. R. Co., 27 Vt. 152. Carriers Co. v. Loomis, 13 Ill. 518. And see of goods are liable as insurers, notStuyvesant v. Mayor, &c. of New withstanding they may have been York, 7 Cow. 604; Benson o. Mayor, guiltless of negligence, because such &c. of New York, 10 Barb. 240; is their contract with the shipper Bulkley v. N. Y. and N. H. R. R. when they receive his goods for Co., 27 Conn. 486; Veazie v. Mayo, transportation; but carriers of per
become common, and which give an action to the representatives of persons killed by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, may unquestionably be made applicable to corporations previously chartered, and may be sustained as only giving a remedy for a wrong for which the common law had failed to make provision. And it cannot be doubted that there is ample power in the legislative department of the State to adopt all necessary legislation for the purpose of enforcing the obligations of railway companies as carriers of persons and goods to accommodate the public impartially, and to make every reasonable provision for carrying with safety and expedition.?
Restraints on Sale of Liquors. Those statutes which regulate or altogether prohibit the sale of intoxicating drinks as a beverage have also been, by some persons, supposed to conflict with the federal Constitution. Such of these, however, as assume to
sons assume no such obligations at which made companies previously the common law; and where a com- chartered liable for the debts of conpany of individuals receive from the tractors to the workmen whom they State a charter which makes them had employed. carriers of persons, and chargeable 1 Southwestern R. R. Co. v. Paulk, as such for their own default or neg- 24 Geo. 356 ; Coosa River Steamboat ligence only, it may well be doubted Co. v. Barclay, 30 Ala. 120. In Bosif it be competent for the legislature ton, Concord, and Montreal R. R. v. afterwards to impose upon their con- State, 32 N. H. 215, a statute making tracts new burdens, and make them railroad corporations liable to indictrespond in damages where they have ment and fine, in case of the loss of been guilty of no default. In other life by the negligence or carelessness words, whether that could be a proper of the proprietors or their servants, police regulation which did not as- was adjudged constitutional, as apsume to regulate the business of the plicable to corporations previously in carrier with a view to the just pro- existence. tection of the rights and interests of 2 On this subject in general, see others, but which imposed a new ob- Redf. on Railw. c. 32, sec. 2; Louisligation, for the benefit of others, ville, &c. R. R. Co. v. Burke, 6 Cold. upon a party guilty of no neglect of 45; New Albany and Salem R. R. Co. duty. But perhaps such a regulation v. Tilton, 12 Ind. 3; Buckley v. N. Y. would not go further than that in & N. H. R. R. Co., 27 Conn. 479; Stanley v. Stanley, 26 Me. 191, where Ohio & Mississippi R. R. Co. v. Mcit was held competent for the legis- Clelland, 25 Ill. 144; Bradley v. Buflature to pass an act making the falo, &c. R. R. Co., 34 N. Y. 429; stockholders of existing banks liable Boston, C. & M. R. R. Co. v. State, for all corporate debts thereafter cre- 32 N. H. 215; Pennsylvania R. R. ated; or in Peters v. Iron Mountain Co. v. Riblet, 66 Penn. St. 164; s. c. R. R. Co., 23 Mo. 107, and Granna- 5 Am. Rep. 360. And see other han v. Hannibal, &c. R. R. Co., 30 cases cited, ante, pp. *578-*579, notes. Mo. 516, where au act was sustained