« ForrigeFortsett »
Opinion of the Court.
quiring the subject of legislative acts to be embraced in the title are not to be given a strained and narrow construction for the purpose of nullifying legislation. The "subject," as expressed in the title, is the regulation of "public service corporations"; and the provision in the act that "public service corporations" shall include "persons" owning a public utility is a matter obviously connected therewith.
2. Whether the Van Dyke Water System is a private business.
The Van Dyke system appears to be the only water supply of the inhabitants of the original town of Miami (not including the "additions"). The number of water takers is not shown. But it appears that the large consumers who used meters numbered, at the time of the commission's investigation, 675, yielding a revenue of $11,378.10; and that the number of small takers must have been much larger, since the revenue derived from the flat rates was $14,517.35. "Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence, and affect the community at large." Munn v. Illinois, 94 U. S. 113, 126. The property here in question was devoted by its owners to supplying a large community with a prime necessity of life. That Mrs. Van Dyke pumps the water on her own land, stores it in tanks on her own land and thence conducts it through pipes all upon her own land (the strips reserved in the streets for conduits being owned by her), and delivers it to purchasers at the boundary line between her and their properties; and that lot purchasers bought with the understanding that they might purchase water from Mrs. Van Dyke's water system at rates fixed by her—are
Regulation of the Same, Fixing penalties for the Violation Thereof, and Repealing Certain Acts; with an Emergency Clause."
all facts of no significance; for the character and extent of the use make it public; and since the service is a public one the rates are subject to regulation.
Counsel contend that the use is not public, because water is furnished only to particular individuals in fulfillment of private contracts made with the purchasers of townsite lots. But there is nothing in the record to indicate that such is the fact. Purchasers seem to have bought merely with the oral understanding that water could be secured from the Van Dyke system. Affidavits filed by appellants state expressly that their water system is operated "for the purpose of supplying the residents and inhabitants of said Miami Townsite with water, and not for the purpose of supplying persons outside of said townsite, or the public generally with water." The offer thus is to supply all the "inhabitants" within the given area; and that of course includes sub-vendees, tenants and others with whom the Van Dykes had no contract relations. The fact that the service is limited to a part of the town of Miami does not prevent the water system from being a public utility. See Del Mar Water &c. Co. v. Eshleman, 167 California, 666, 681-3.
3. Whether the rates fixed are confiscatory.
The commission decided that the net return to the owner upon the value of the property employed should be at the rate of at least ten per cent., after allowing an annual depreciation charge of three and one-half per cent. Water rates prescribed on this basis obviously cannot be held confiscatory unless either the valuation placed upon the property used was grossly inadequate or the cost of operation greatly underestimated. These elements are largely matters of fact and opinion, as to which both the commission and the District Court, after careful examination, found against the appellants. The case is presented to us on contradictory affidavits dealing with the items
of value which go to make up the water system. We cannot say "that it was impossible for a fair-minded board to come to the result which was reached." San Diego Land & Town Co. v. Jasper, 189 U. S. 439, 442; Knoxville v. Knoxville Water Co., 212 U. S. 1, 18. And the provision in the order of the District Court by which it retained jurisdiction of the case with permission to Mrs. Van Dyke to renew her application for an injunction after one year, if the rates fixed appeared to be confiscatory, afforded her appropriate protection.
The decree of the District Court is
MR. JUSTICE MCREYNOLDS dissents.
TOLEDO RAILWAYS & LIGHT COMPANY v. HILL ET AL., EXECUTORS OF KIRK.
ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.
No. 200. Argued April 23, 1917.-Decided May 21, 1917.
An objection to the jurisdiction of the District Court based on the defendant's being a corporation not doing business in the State and upon want of representative capacity in the person served, is not waived by answering to the merits after a motion to quash the service is overruled, where the answer reasserts the jurisdictional point also, where the defendant participates in the trial only by reiterating the objection and where the judge presiding treats the ruling on the motion as conclusive because made by an associate.
Provision made by a corporation for payment of its bonds and coupons
at an office in a particular State and payment of coupons accordingly does not constitute such a doing of business in that State as renders the corporation liable to be sued there. So held where the action was upon some of the bonds.
Opinion of the Court.
244 U. S. There is no merit in the proposition that as a basis for determining jurisdiction the property of a corporation must be regarded as translated from its home State to another State when mortgaged to a trust company of the latter to secure bonds made payable there. Reversed.
THE case is stated in the opinion.
Mr. Robert Burns, with whom Mr. Charles A. Frueauff was on the brief, for plaintiff in erorr.
Mr. Howard S. Gans, with whom Mr. Paul M. Herzog and Mr. Arthur S. Levy were on the briefs, for defendants in error.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.
Averring themselves to be citizens of the United States, the one residing in the City of New York and the other in Boston, Massachusetts, the defendants in error in April, 1914, sued in the Supreme Court of the State of New York to recover from the plaintiff in error the principal and interest of certain bonds issued by the plaintiff in error, alleged to be a corporation created by the laws of Ohio. The summons was served upon a director and vicepresident of the corporation residing in the City of New York. The corporation, appearing specially for that purpose, on the ground of diversity of citizenship removed the cause to the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York and, on the filing of the record in that court, again solely appearing for such purpose, moved to vacate the service of summons on the ground that the corporation was created by the laws of the State of Ohio, and was solely engaged in carrying on its business at Toledo in that State, that is, in the operation of street railways and the furnishing of electrical energy for light and other purposes. The motion to vacate expressly alleged that the corporation was prosecuting no
business in the State of New York and that the person upon whom the summons was served, although concededly an officer of the corporation, had no authority whatever to transact business for or represent the corporation in the State of New York. On the papers, affidavits and documents submitted the motion to vacate was refused and an answer was subsequently filed by the corporation setting up various defences to the merits and besides reasserting the challenge to the jurisdiction. At the trial, presided over by a different judge from the one who had heard and adversely disposed of the challenge to the jurisdiction, the court, treating the ruling on that subject as conclusive, declined therefore to entertain the request of the corporation to consider the matter as urged in the answer. After this ruling the corporation refused to take part in the trial on the merits except to the extent that by way of objections to evidence, requests for rulings and instructions to the jury it re-stated and re-urged its previous contention as to jurisdiction. There was a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff and this direct writ of error to review alone the ruling as to jurisdiction was prosecuted, the record containing the certificate of the trial judge as required by the statute.
Upon the theory that as there was diversity of citizenship the challenge to the jurisdiction involved merely authority over the person, it is insisted that even if the objection be conceded to have been well taken, it was subject to be waived and was waived below and therefore is not open. This must be first disposed of. The contention rests upon the proposition that because after the motion to vacate had been overruled an answer to the merits was filed, therefore the right to assail the jurisdiction was waived. But this disregards the fact that the answer did not waive, but in terms reiterated, the plea to the jurisdiction. It further disregards the fact that the court treated the subject as not open for consideration