Delaware, L. & W. R. Co. v. Town of Morristown
276 U.S. 182 (1928)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Delaware, L. & W. R. Co. v. Town of Morristown, 276 U.S. 182 (1928)

Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company

v. Town of Morristown

No. 147

Argued January 6, 9, 1928

Decided February 20, 1928

276 U.S. 182

Syllabus

The railroad company constructed a driveway over its station grounds to connect with the streets of the town. The railroad and the town agreed that the driveway should be kept open and that the town should exercise upon the station grounds, etc., all necessary police powers for the regulation of traffic and for the enforcement of the railroad's rules and regulations. The railroad granted a

Page 276 U. S. 183

cabman exclusive right to solicit passengers and baggage in the station grounds and to park his vehicles in the driveway. The town (claiming the right so to do under the contract) declared the space so assigned by the railroad a public hackstand, and prohibited parking elsewhere. Other cabmen thereupon entered the grounds and used that space. The railroad objected on the ground that its property was being taken for municipal purposes without compensation.

Held:

1. The taking of private property for public use is against the common right, and authority so to do must be clearly expressed. The agreement does not empower the town to establish a public hackstand on the company's land. P. 276 U. S. 192.

2. Assuming that the creation of a public hackstand upon the station grounds would be a proper exertion of the police power, the due process clause safeguards to the owner of the land just compensation for the use of its property. P. 276 U. S. 193.

3. As against those not using it for purposes of transportation, the railroad is private property in every legal sense, and if any part of its land is capable of use that does not interfere with discharge of its obligations as a carrier, the railroad has the right to use or permit others so to use it for any lawful purpose. P. 276 U. S. 194.

4. A railroad is not bound to permit persons having no business with it to enter its trains, station, or grounds to solicit trade or patronage for themselves, and the grant of such privilege to one does not give rise to any duty to others. P. 276 U. S. 194.

5. To compel the use of railroad station grounds for public hackstands without compensation is to take them in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 276 U. S. 195.

14 F.2d 257 reversed; district court affirmed.

Certiorari, 273 U.S. 686, to a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of permanent injunction and directed dismissal of the bill in a suit by the railroad against the town and a number of taxicab men to prevent the use of its land for the parking of vehicles and enjoin the enforcement of an ordinance designating part of it as a public hackstand.

Page 276 U. S. 188

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