Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Ry. Co. v. Clough
242 U.S. 375 (1917)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Ry. Co. v. Clough, 242 U.S. 375 (1917)

Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company v. Clough

No. 87

Argued November 9, 10, 1916

Decided January 8, 1917

242 U.S. 375

Syllabus

By the terms of the Indiana Railway Law of May 11, 1852, and amendments (1 Ind.Rev.Stats. 1852, p. 409, § 13; 2 Burns' Ann. Ind.Stats.1914, §§ 5176 et seq., § 5195), as construed by the supreme court of the state, the obligation assumed by companies deriving their franchises thereunder to construct their railways over streams, watercourses, and canals "so as not to interfere with the free use of the same," etc., is a continuing obligation, under which such

Page 242 U. S. 376

companies must bear without compensation the burden of repairing and adjusting their roads and bridges when canals are made across their rights of way, or natural streams intersecting them are deepened, in the execution of public drainage projects, pursuant to the Drainage Act of March 11, 1907 (Laws 1907, p. 508; 3 Burns' Ann.Ind.Stats. 114, § 6140).

Due process is not denied by refusing compensation for the temporary inconvenience, or the cost of railway reconstruction, resulting from the making of drainage improvement across the rights of way of railway companies when the improvement is made for the public benefit in the proper exercise of the state police power, and neither wantonly nor arbitrarily, when no land of the companies is taken, but their easements merely crossed, and when the duty of accommodating their railroads to such improvements is part of the obligation assumed in accepting their franchises from the state.

The state drainage law, § 3, as construed by the state court, allows compensation for damages to the roads and bridges of public corporations, viz., counties, which.have not agreed to bear such damages themselves, but no compensation for like damages to private railway corporations which have made such agreements in advance, through their charter undertakings. Held, a substantial distinction, satisfying the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

182 Ind. 178 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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