Midland Realty Co. v. Kansas City Power & Light Co. - 300 U.S. 109 (1937)
U.S. Supreme Court
Midland Realty Co. v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 300 U.S. 109 (1937)
Midland Realty Co. v. Kansas City Power & Light Co.
Argued December 17, 1936
Decided February 1, 1937
300 U.S. 109
1. As construed by the state supreme court, which construction binds this Court upon appeal, rates established pursuant to the provisions of the public service commission law of Missouri (R.S., 1929, c. 33) supersede all existing contract rates. P. 300 U. S. 113.
2. A State has power to annul and supersede rates previously established by contract between public utilities and their customers. P. 300 U. S. 113.
3. The public service commission law of Missouri does not violate the contract clause of the Federal Constitution (Art. I, § 10) or the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, although, as construed by the state supreme court, existing contract rates are abrogated thereunder by (1) the mere filing, pursuant to the statute, of a rate schedule by the utility; or (2) the filing of a schedule pursuant to a rate order promulgated by the commission, it appearing that, under the statute, the party now insisting on its contract rates had opportunity, of which it did not avail itself, to support the contract rates and to test before the commission and in the state supreme court the validity of the filed schedules. Pp. 300 U. S. 112-114.
4. It is not essential that there be specific adjudication in respect of existing contract rates in order that these may be susperseded by
the State in the exercise of its power to prescribe and enforce reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates. P. 300 U. S. 114.
5. The fact that the Missouri law, as construed by the state supreme court, permits a utility to recover the difference between rate fixed by contract and the higher rates established pursuant to the statute, even though the service had been furnished and paid for in accordance with the contract before the suit was brought, the customer having refused to pay the lawful rate, held not to render the statute violative of the aforementioned clauses of the Constitution. P. 300 U. S. 114.
338 Mo. 1141; 93 S.W.2d 954, affirmed.
Appeal from a judgment in favor of the Power & Light Company in its suit to recover the difference between rates fixed in a contract with the Realty Company and higher rates established under the state public service commission law. From a judgment of the trial court which allowed recovery in part, both parties had appealed to the state supreme court.