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A COLLECTION OF ALL THE IMPORTANT CASES (EXCEPT-
FROM 1873 ON SUBJECTS RELATING TO
THE TELEGRAPH, THE TELEPHONE, ELECTRIC
TICAL USES OF ELECTRICITY
1873 - 1885.
ALBANY, N. Y.
BY MATTHEW BENDER,
In absence of some reasonable inducement, lawyers cannot be expected to burden their already congested shelves with new series of reports. The very multiplicity of reported decisions, however, seems to furnish a field for collections of cases upon special subjects, scattered as the individual cases are through the volumes of reports, official and otherwise, of some fifty jurisdictions in this country alone.
It goes without saying that we are living in an age of Electricity, and that we are in fact just entering it, for though the electro-magnetic telegraph has been in successful operation over forty years, the telephone, the electric light, the electric railroad and other uses of electricity as a motive power date back considerably less than half that time; and it is evident that the importance of this agency is only beginning to be developed and appreciated.
It stands to reason, even without practical demonstration, that in connection with the development of this new agent a great deal of litigation must have arisen, and new and vexatious legal questions be constantly arising and reaching the courts for decision. Such is, indeed, the case; and yet, although some text-books have been published relating to the whole or portions of the subject, no attempt has been made to collect the decisions for convenient reference, with the single exception of Allen's Telegraph Cases, published in 1873, when the telegraph was the only electrical device in use.
Meantime a large number of important decisions have been made. And it is purposed to collect and publish them in a continuous series, beginning with about the year 1873, of which this is to be the first volume; the others to follow promptly until brought down to date, and then as cases shall acon malate, which it is believed will soon be at the rate of a volume each year.
As an illustration of the increase of litigation on this subject, it may be noted that Mr. Allen, searching carefully for all decisions except patent cases (which are to be excluded from this series also) adjudicated in the courts of America, Great Britain and Ireland since the introduction of the telegraph, in about 1850, and aiming to publish every case, however unimportant, in any way bearing upon the subject, found only eighty-one cases.
The present volume covers a period of thirteen years, and contains one hundred and fifty-five complete reports, and, in notes, memoranda of over thirty additional cases decided during the same period, all in the United States; while for Volume II about the same number of cases has been selected from the adjudications of only three years.
If there is to-day any one subject of prime importance and interest in the world of business, of commerce, of travel and transportation, of the development of all industries, and of common life, it is that of the practical uses of electricity. And if there is any unhackneyed branch of legal literature it is that relating to the same subject. For these reasons this series of reports is submitted to the legal profession, in the hope that it will be useful.
Particular attention is called to the annotations, in which cases not here reported, especially earlier cases, are referred to in appropriate connection; and the index, upon which special care has been bestowed, to make it a convenient means of reference to the contents of the book in every important detail.
In some instances parts of opinions relating to practice and other matters not within the scope of this series have been omitted, the omission being indicated by stars.
The titles of cases reported in this volume are, where cited in subsequent opinions, printed in full-face type.
W. W. M. TROY, N. Y., August, 1894.
Abraham v. W. U. Tel. Co.....
“ v. Town of Harrison.........
“ W.U. Tel. Co., v. (Indiana) ..... Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co., Allen V.........
" v. Chicago, R. I. & P. R. R. Co...
" Ward, Admr. v .....
" " v. W. U. Tel. Co... Axtell, W. U. Tel. Co. V............. Baltimore & Ohio Telegraph Co. v. W. U. Tel. Co........
" W. U. Tel. Co. v..........
“ et al., W. U. Tel. Co. V....
" " " State of Ohio ex rel. &c. v. ...
“ W. U. Tel. Co. v.
W. U. Tel, Co. v..
565 317 461 483 508