Arlington Hotel Co. v. Fant
278 U.S. 439 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Arlington Hotel Co. v. Fant, 278 U.S. 439 (1929)

Arlington Hotel Co. v. Fant

No. 157

Argued January 17, 1929

Decided February 18, 1929

278 U.S. 439

Syllabus

Land in Arkansas on which there are hot springs valuable for the curative powers of their waters was reserved from private appropriation by Act of Congress, passed in 1832 while Arkansas was a territory. A portion of it, which embraced the springs, was permanently reserved, in charge of the Interior Department, by an Act of Congress, passed.after Arkansas had been admitted to statehood, and upon this portion, an Army and Navy Hospital, since maintained, was established by authority of Congress. Thereafter, exclusive jurisdiction over land of the permanent reservation, including the hospital and a contiguous parcel on which a hotel was being operated under lease from the United States, was ceded to the United States by the state legislature and accepted by Congress, reserving to the state power to serve civil and criminal process on the ceded tract and the right to tax, as private property, all structures or other property in private ownership there. The hotel was destroyed by fire; property of the hotel guests was consumed, and the question arose whether the landlord was liable to them as insurer,

Page 278 U. S. 440

according to the law of Arkansas as it existed at the time of the cession, or only for negligence, according to that law as altered by an Arkansas statute after the cession.

Held:

1. That the cession of exclusive jurisdiction was valid under Article I, § 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, because of the federal purpose to which the springs and the hospital were devoted, and properly included the hotel and its site, which offered means whereby the public might be aided by the surplus spring waters not needed by the hospital. Pp. 278 U. S. 449-454.

2. Therefore, the statute of Arkansas modifying the liability of innkeepers, passed after the cession, did not extend over the ceded land on which the hotel was situated. Id.

170 Ark. 440; 176 id. 612, affirmed.

Error to judgments of the Supreme Court of Arkansas sustaining judgments recovered against the Hotel Company by persons who were guests in the hotel and lost their personal property when the hotel burned.

Page 278 U. S. 445

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