South Covington & C. St. Ry. Co. v. Newport
259 U.S. 97 (1922)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

South Covington & C. St. Ry. Co. v. Newport, 259 U.S. 97 (1922)

South Covington & Cincinnati Street

Railway Company v. City of Newport

No. 203

Argued April 13, 1922

Decided May 15, 1922

259 U.S. 97

Syllabus

The bill alleged that the plaintiffs were corporations operating electric street cars and distributing electric current under perpetual franchises in the city; that, under supervision and direction of the city authorities, they constructed a high tension wire to obtain necessary additional current from another company; that, afterwards, the city council, by resolution, directed speedy removal of the wire, declaring it dangerous to life and property, contrary to the fact, and that, unless restrained, the city would forcibly remove and destroy it, thereby interfering with the operation of plaintiffs' railway, lighting, and power systems, and causing them irreparable damage, in violation of their rights under the Contract Clause of the Constitution and the due process clause of the Fourteenth

Page 259 U. S. 98

Amendment, and prayed that the resolution be declared null and the city, it officers, etc., be enjoined from enforcing it.

Held:

(1) That the bill set up a substantial federal question and conferred jurisdiction on the district court. P. 259 U. S. 99. Des Moines v. Des Moines City Ry. Co.,214 U. S. 179, distinguished.

(2) That the jurisdiction, having attached, could not be defeated by an answer denying the city's intention to enforce the resolution except through an order of court. P. 259 U. S. 100.

Reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing for want of jurisdiction a bill to restrain the defendant city from forcible removal and destruction of an electric wire.

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