Yazoo & Mississippi Valley R. Co. v. Jackson Vinegar Co. - 226 U.S. 217 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Yazoo & Mississippi Valley R. Co. v. Jackson Vinegar Co., 226 U.S. 217 (1912)
Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad
Company v. Jackson Vinegar Company
Submitted November 13, 1912
Decided December 2, 1912
226 U.S. 217
The statute of Mississippi imposing a penalty on common carriers for failure to settle claims for lost or damaged freight in shipment within the state within a reasonable specified period is not unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment as depriving the carrier of its property without due process of law or as denying it the equal protection of the laws as to claimants presenting actual claims for amounts actually due.
It is within the police power of the state to provide by penalty for delay a reasonable incentive for prompt settlement without suit of just demands of a class admitting of special legislative treatment, in this case of claims against common carriers for damage to goods shipped between two points within the state.
This Court deals with the case in hand, and not with imaginary ones, and if a state statute is constitutional as against the class to which the party attacking it belongs, it will not consider whether the same statute might be unconstitutional as applied to other classes not before the court.
Quaere, and not now to be decided, whether the statute now sustained as constitutional as against the party attacking it would be void in toto if unconstitutional as against other classes who have not yet attacked it.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Mississippi imposing penalties on common carriers for failure to settle claims for damage to goods in shipment within the state, are stated in the opinion.