페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

The contention of appellee in support of the court's decree is that the statute creating the corporation commission and conferring juris. diction over public utilities requires that be. fore a rate can be changed there must be an affirmative order by the commission authorizing it, and that there must be a notice published weekly for 30 days, and that the statute was not complied with in either of these re. spects. We think that this is not the proper construction of the statute. Crawford & Moses Digest 37; Acts 1919, p. 411. The statute con. fers jurisdiction on the commission over all public utilities in the state, with power to control and regulate rates of charges and other matters in connection with service to the pub. lic. Section 7 of the act of 1919, which is section 1612 of Crawford & Moses' Digest, reads as follows:

"No person, firm or corporation subject to the provisions of this act, shall modify, change, cancel or annul any rate, joint rates, fares, classifications, charge or rental, except after thirty days' notice to the commission and the public, which shall plainly state the changes proposed to be made in the schedule then in force and the time when the changed rates, fares or charges shall go into effect, provided, the commission may enter an order prohibiting such person, firm or corporation from putting such proposed new rates into effect pending hearing and final decision of the matter by the commission, and, whenever there shall be filed with the commission any schedule proposing a change in any rates, charges or regulations, the commission shall have, and it is hereby given authority, either upon complaint or upon its own initiative, upon reasonable notice, to en. ter upon a hearing concerning the propriety of such rate, charge or regulation; and pending such hearing, and the decision thereon, the commission upon filing with such schedule and delivering to the carrier or carriers or public service corporation affected thereby, a state ment in writing of its reasons for such suspension, may suspend the operation of such sched. ule and defer the use of such rate or charge, but not for a longer period than six months beyond the time when such rate, fare or charge, or regulation would otherwise go into effect; and after full hearing, whether completed before or after the rate, charge or regulation goes into effect, the commission may make such order in reference to such rate, fare, charge, or regulation as shall be deemed proper and just. Provided, that if said commission shall sus. pend the operation of any such schedule, and defer the use of such new rate or charge, as herein described, then the person, firm or corporation making such new rate may file with the commission its bond, to be approved by the commission, conditioned that it will pay over in money to the commission for the use and benefit of the persons or patrons entitled there to, the difference between the sums it shall collect under such new rate and the sums which would have been collected under the rate finally adjudged reasonable and just, with interest

McCULLOCH, C. J. Appellant is a domestic corporation owning and operating the electric light plant at Harrison, Ark., and appellee. Citizens' Ice & Storage Company, is an industrial consumer of electric current, and a patron of appellant. Appellee claims the right under a contract with appellant's predecessor to obtain electric current for its manufacturing plant at the maximum rate of $400 per month. Appellant changed the rate on April 1, 1920, after having filed the same with the corporation commission, but appellee refused to pay the increased rate. Appellant then cut off the supply of electric current, and appellee insti. tuted this action in the chancery court of Boone county to enjoin appellant from cutting off the current, and to recover damages in the sum of $2,000 for the interference with its business in cutting off the current. Appellant swered, setting up its change of rates pursuant to the statutes and under authority from the corporation commission. On the final hearing of the cause the chancery court decided that the change of rates was void, for the reason that proper notice had not been given by appellant in accordance with the statute, and rendered a decree in favor of appellee, enjoining appellant from maintaining the increased rates, and for the recovery of damages in the sum of $100.

an

[ocr errors]

upon such difference at the rate of eight per centum per annum. Upon the filing of said bond, the order of the commission suspending such new schedule or charge shall become inoperative until final adjudication of the mat. ter."

It will be observed that, while the statute provides that no change in the rates shall be made "except after 30 days' notice to the commission and the public,” there is no specification as to the method in which the notice is to be given. The contention of counsel for appellee is that the provision for notice in this statute is controlled by the provision of the statute with reference to the length of time for publishing legal notices (Crawford & Moses' Di. gest, $ 6809); but this contention is obviously unsound, for the reason that the section just cited only fixes the number of publications, and does not supply any other defects in an imperfect provision for notice. The section we are now dealing with does not specify either the method or place of the publication. The only reasonable interpretation of the statute is that the framers meant that the filing of the schedule in the prescribed form with the commission was sufficient notice to the commission and to the public. This is in accord with our decisions to the effect that notice must be taken of all proceedings and regulations promulgated by public boards. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co. v. State, 90 Ark. 343, 119 S. W. 288; Cazort V. State, 130 Ark. 453, 198 S. W. 103. The statute is patterned, to a considerable extent, after the federal statute creating the Interstate Commerce Commission, and regulating its proceedings, and it has been decided not only by the Interstate Commerce Commission, but also by the Supreme Court of the United States, that the filing of a schedule of rates by a common carrier with the Commission constitutes notice to the public and puts the new rates into operation. Texas Railway Co. v. Cisco Oil Min, 204 U. S. 449, 27 Sup. Ct. 358, 51 L. Ed. 562; Kansas City Sou. Ry. Co. v. Albers Comm. Co., 223 U. S. 573, 32 Sup. Ct. 316, 56 L Ed. 556; U. S. v. Miller, 223 U. S. 599, 32 Sup. Ct. 323, 56 L. Ed. 568; Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. v. Chicago & Erie R. Co., 235 U, S. 371, 35 Sup. Ct. 131, 59 L. Ed. 275.

Nor does the statute require an affirmative order of the commission authorizing that the new rates be put into effect. The rates become effective upon the maturity of the period of 30 days specified in the schedule, unless there is an order of the commission suspending the rates pending a hearing. Suburban Water Co. v. Borough of Oakmont, 268 Pa. 243, 110 Atl. 778.

Jurisdiction is conferred on the commission to institute an investigation on its own ini. tiative or to grant a hearing on the protest of a patror. The fact that the changed sched. ule becomes effective does not deprive the patrons, however, of an opportunity to appear at any time to contest the rates fixed in the new schedule. The rates thus established are not final, and it is the privilege of any patron, or of the commission itself on its own initiative to contest the correctness of the rate. Consid. ering the statute in this light it is clear that the framers of the act did not intend to require the publication of a formal notice, nor that the commission should make an order before the rates became effective. It appears from the record in the present case that the commission made a ruling requiring that in cases of local public utilities there must be publication for two insertions in a weekly newspaper, and the proof shows that this rule of the commission was complied with.

We are of the opinion, therefore, that the schedule of increased rates promulgated by appellant was valid, and, the statute having been complied with, the new rates superseded any contractual rates theretofore established between the parties. There could be no valid contract as against the power of public control by the commission. It would not constitute an impairment of the obligation of the contract for the new rates to be put into effect under the commissioner's control. City of Camden Arkansas Light & Power Co., 145 Ark. 205, 224 S. W. 444; Clear Creek Oil & Gas Co. v. Ft. Smith Spelter Co., 230 S. W. 897.

It follows that the decree of the chancery court is erroneous, and the same is reversed, and the cause remanded, with directions to enter a decree dismissing the complaint of appellee for want of equity, and for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

Note-Power of State to Change Public Utility Rates Fixed by Contract With Consumers.- Private contract rights must yield to the public welfare where the latter is appropriately declared and defined and the two conflict. Hence, reasonable rates for public service such as electric light and power, telephone, etc., prescribed by a State in the exercise of its police power, are not repugnant to the contract or due process of law clauses of the Federal Constitution merely because, if given effect, they will supererde the ro desio. nated in a private contract between the utility company and a customer entered into prior to the making of the order by the commission vested by the State with jurisdiction over such matters. Union Dry Goods Company v. Georgia Public Service Corp., 248 U. S. 372, 63 L. ed. 309, 39 Sup. Ct. 117, 9 A. L. R. 1420.

This question seems to be very well settled and a large number of cases are cited and quoted from in quite an exhaustive note in 9 A. L. R. 1423.

In Kansas City Bolt & Nut Company v. Kansas City L. & P. Company, 275 Mo. 529, 204 S. lv. 1074, the Court held that a contract entered into between an electric utility and a private corporation, for the furnishing of electricity at specified rates, was superseded by a higher rate schedule fixed by the Public Service Commission, and said that "no valid reason can be stated why a rate contract entered into between a private manufacturing corporation and a public service corporation would not be just as much an abridgment of the rate-making power of the state, if permitted to stand, as would a rate contract between a municipality and such public service corporation."

Followed by the citation of a large number of cases from various jurisdictions, it is said in 9 A. L. R. 1424: "It is quite generally held that rate regulations do not unconstitutionally impair existing contracts between public service corporations and consumers. This does not mean, necessarily, that the state may not authorize the making of a contract with a public utility for a limited period, with which it could not interfere without unconstitutional impairment of contracts, but it does mean that such authorization has not been generally given, and that private contracts with such utilities are regarded as entered into subject to reserved authority in the state, under the police power or express statute or constitutional provision, to modify the contract rate in the interest of the public welfare. Modification of the rates is, of course, generally made through the delegation of power to the various state public service commissions. The following cases support the doctrine, ove indicated, that the state may change private contract rates with public utilities, without unconstitutional impairment of contracts.”

The police power, is generally regarded as the basis of the decisions holding that the state may modify private rate contracts with public utilities. And the clause in the Federal Constitution, forbidding the passage of laws impairing the obligation of contracts, it has been said, is not applicable to legislation within the scope of the police power. Raymond Lumber Company v. Raymond Light & Water Company, 92 Wash. 330 L. R. A. 1917C, 546, P. U. R. 1916F, 437, 159 Pac. 133.

issue for 26th August of our American contemporary, the Central Law Journal. To this we would refer those readers who have written asking us for further details. The working of the Psychopathic Clinic attached to the Court, its system of intelligence tests, its elab. orate indexing of records, its carefully prepared written reports to the trial judge or magis. trate, and the very extraordinary correctness of its prophecy as to the future of various defectives charged with crime; these are all described by Hon. Harry Olson, in the article re ferred to. But the most useful work of the La boratory has been its practically conclusive demonstration of the close connection between mental or nervous instability and the commission of anti-social acts. Dr. Hickson, the leading pioneer worker of the Laboratory, must be congratulated on his remarkable penological success.

There will always be crime because there will always be individuals whose inherent pow. ers and reactions are far below the normal of social and legal standards. A raising of these standards automatically increases the number of delinquents. In our intensive civilization many acts are crimes which in a primitive society would be but little out of place and among savages rate as virtues.

But at the present time there is a great deal more crime than is necessary, especially of the more brutal kinds. All over the country we hear of crime waves. Even discounting the excess due to transitory causes following the war, there is left in the United States a great body of preventable crime. Attempts have been made to excuse this on the ground that lawlessness of all kinds is inseparable from political liberty. This reason fails when we compare U. S. conditions and U. S. crime statistics with such democratic countries as Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

The psychopathic laboratory in connection with a criminal court enables us to test practically the operation of penological theories to ascertain how they have actually worked in the cases of specific individuals. This is but carrying the scientific method into a new do. main, comparable in principle with experimental tests made in recent years with respect to physiological theories. We have seen, in the latter field, how opinions, hoary with tradition and supported by many illustrious names, have been destroyed by simple practical tests car. ried out in the unprejudiced spirit of scientific inquiry.

The scientific method has been by no means restricted, in practical investigation, to pure

ITEMS OF PROFESSIONAL

INTEREST.

PSYCHO-ANALYSIS AND IMPROVEMENT

OF THE CRIMINAL LAW.

We discussed last week some of the chief results of the vastly important research work undertaken in the case of every accused person by the Psycho-therapeutic Laboratory of the Chicago Municipal Court. An exceedingly interesting article on the subject appears in the

science. A vast new basis for the materials of;

HUMOR OF THE LAW. industry has been created through analytic and synthetic chemistry--the work of the patient

"Go to the aunt, thou sluggard;” laboratory investigator--incalculably augment- He went-she would give him no more; ing our wealth, in the past few decades. In

So he had to go to his uncle, such eminently practical, and equally scientific

Where oft he had been before. fields as agriculture and animal husbandry a revolution has been worked; many inherited theories have been disproved; others have sur

"You must have kept a great many people vived and received scientific explanations, and

out of the Penitentiary during your professional

career.” many new reactions have been observed and given place in a scheme of natural law.

"Oh, yes," said the eminent criminal lawyer. In method and purpose modern psycho-pa

"Did you ever regret defeating the ends of thology now takes its place among these great

justice?" studies for human advancement. Its labora

"Only once. I got a pickpocket acquitted tory is comparable with the laboratory oi the

and discovered later that he was a distant relphysicist, the chemist, the metallurgist, the

ative of mine."Birmingham Age-Herald. zoologist, the biologist; in broad terms its methods are identical. The material is inten

Among the witnesses called in a trial in a sively studied from every angle and class.fied Southern court was an old darky. in aucordance with its nature and reactions. "Do, you swear that what you tell shall be Of course the particular technique of the psy. the truth, the whole truth and nothing but chopathic laboratory is peculiar to itself, hav

the truth?" intoned the clerk. ing but little in common even with such a "Well, sah," returned the witness, shifting closely allied field as normal psychology.

uneasily, "dis lawyer gemmun kin make it a Until recently, in our own country, at least,

pow'ful lot easier on hisself an' relieve me of there has been no conveniently accessible body

a mighty big strain ef he'll leave out anything of material available for this study. The crim

about gin and chickens. 'Ceptin' fo' dose, Ah inal court clinic and the segregation of deiec.

guess Ah kin stick to de truth.”—The American tives are of recent origin in the United States.

Legion Weekly. The clinics are at present, and probably will for a considerable time, be more varied in material and more fruitful than the institutions

A New York silk merchant went to the bank tor defectives, which are only just coming into

to get his note renewed. being.

"I am sorry," said the banker, “but it will The keeping of precise, signed records by the

be absolutely impossible for me to renew your

note." Laboratory not only conserves personal re

The silk merchant's face paled. After sponsibility, but also mahes it possible to abstract informacion on any category, with in

moment of thought he looked up at the banker

and asked: dividual tigures and averages. It is possible, as illustrated by the numerous tables accom

"Were you ever in the silk business?" panying the earlier report, to show the situa.

“Why of course not,” answered the banker. tion with respect to any class of offenses, or

"Well, you're in it now," said the silk merany age group, either sex, or any of the vari.

chant as he picked up his hat and went out.ous types of defectives. By this means all the

Cincinnati Enquirer. information acquired in routine work remains available for comparison and analysis crim- "How do you manage to make both ends inology, and to some extent sociology, derives meet?” we said to the happy little housekeeper. from this body of knowledge proved laws "Oh, but I don't make both ends meet," she which can be relied upon.-Solicitors' Journal, corrected. “I keep house like the United States, London.

and never make ends meet." [The interest in the subject of Psycho-An- "Like the United States?" we queried, puzalysis as applied to the administration of crim

zled. inal law is growing and the Central Law Journal is planning to publish further articles on

"Yes; I get what I want whether I can af. this subject. Judge Olson of the Chicago Mu- ford it or not, and then at the end of the year nicipal Court, has, by summarizing the inter- I give my husband a deficiency bill. You know; esting experiments of the Psychopathic Labo

just like Congress does every session, to make ratory of that Court, given the subject a place

the public think it has lived within its income.” of great practical importance in the adminis. tration of the criminal law.-Editor.]

Whereat we were lost in admiration.-Leslie's.

WEEKLY DIGEST.

Weekly Digest of Important Opinions of the

State Courts of Last Resort and of the Federal

Courts.

6. Banks and Banking-Dishonor of Draft.In an action against a trust company on a dishonored draft drawn by it on an Italian banking institution, through the commissioner of banks had taken charge of the property and business of the defendant, plaintiff was entitled to a judgment measuring its damages in stri. conformity under Rev. Laws, c. 73, § 9, where the action was at law without the intervention of the commissioner of banks.--American Ex press Co. v. Cosmopolitan Trust Co., Mass., 132 N. E. 26.

Copy of Opinion in any case referred to in this digest may be procured by sending 25 cents to us or to the West Pub. Co., St. Paul, Minn,

Alabama

.34, 54 California.

.31, 47, 55 Delaware.

.3, 21 District of Columbia.

56, 65 Florida...

25, 36, 37, 38 Indiana

.41, 49, 52 Iowa..

..42, 43 Louisiana..

..9, 50 Massachusetts.

..6, 14, 57 Michigan.

.20, 22, 59 Minnesota.

11, 30, 35, 45 Missouri.

.15, 16, 39, 46, 53, 64 Montana..

..1, 13 New Jersey

.32, 60 New York ....8, 10, 18, 26, 28, 29, 33, 48, 51, 58, 61 Ohio....

.2, 12, 27 Pennsylvania.

...7, 40 United States C. C. A.

.4, 17, 19 United States D, C...

...5, 63 Washington

.24, 44 Wisconsin...

.23, 62

7.-Forgery.-The opportunity to proceed at once against the forger of a check is a valuable one, deprivation of which by failure of the bank on which the check is drawn to give notice promptly to the bank which cashed or collected the check conclusively determines that the loss has resulted, unless it is shown there is on hand a fund belonging to the forger out of which defendant collecting bank can reimburse itself in whole or in part.-Union Nat. Bank v. Farmers' & Mechanics' Nat. Bank, Pa., 114 Atl. 506.

8. Bills and Notes-Duress.—The rule that notes given to prevent threatened prosecution of a relative for criminal misappropriation of funds are void for duress or compounding a felony, and that, both parties being wrongdoers in stifling a charge of crime, payments made on such notes cannot be recovered, is not affected by the possible innocence of accused, at least where the charge of crime is not made in bad faith, nor by the fact that the prosecution had not been actually initiated but merelv threatened.-Union Exch. Nat. Bank v. Joseph N. Y., 131 N. E. 905.

1. Adverse Possession-Government Land.Although islands in a stream were in possession of plaintiff and her predecessor for over 30 years, no title to them was thereby acquired; they being government land.-Bode v. Rollwitz, Mont., 199 Pac. 688.

a

use

use

[blocks in formation]

an

2. -Use Conferred by Grant.-Where right to is conferred by grant, any reasonably consistent with such grant will be referable to such grant, and will not be deemed adverse.-Kelley v. Armstrong, Ohio, 132 N. E. 15.

3. Assault and Battery-Intent.-Any laying of hands upon child of tender years by one without authority or control over such child is unlawful, and constitutes assault.-State V. Brewer, Del., 114 Atl. 604.

4. Bankruptcy-Civil Contempt.-Bankruptcy Act, § 41b, prescribing procedure for contempts before a referee, does not apply to a proceeding in contempt against a bankrupt for violation of an order of the court, which may be prosecuted in usual form by his trustee.-Biderman v. Cooper, U. S. C. C. A., 273 Fed. 683.

5.-Mistake.The trustee of a deceased bankrupt joined in a conveyance or real estate and received a share of the proceeds, in the mistaken belief, shared by all the parties, that bankrupt before his death was owner of a vested interest in remainder in the property, whereas his interest was contingent and was terminated by his death prior to that of the life tenant. Held that the mistake, under the law of Pennsylvania, was not one of law only, but of law and fact, and the court, under Bankruptcy Act, $ 2. subl. 7, had jurisdiction to order the fund paid over to the lawful owners of the property sold.-In re Russell, U. S. D. C., 273 Fed. 724.

10.-Notice of Defect.-Under Negotiable Instruments Law, $$ 94, 95, 98, 115, the transferee of negotiable paper, to have notice of a defect in the title of transferor. must have had actual knowledge of the defect, or of such facts that his action in taking the paper amounts to bad faith.-Vogel V. Pyne, N. Y., 189 N. Y. S. 285.

11.- Renewal.-A note given in renewal of a valid note is good in the hands of an assignee of the payee, without proof of his good faith, though when the payee took the renewal he promised the maker that he would place it as collateral to a loan then contemplated and would not otherwise negotiate it, and, failing to procure such loan, negotiated it in violation of his promise.-Farmers' State Bank of Cologne v. Skellet, Minn., 183 N. W. 831.

12. Bridges-Liability of Muncipality.-The county primarily is obligated to construct and repair bridges upon state or county roads and the approaches thereto over streams within the limits of municipalities, but municipalities

« 이전계속 »