Puerto Rico v. Russell & Co.
315 U.S. 610 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Puerto Rico v. Russell & Co., 315 U.S. 610 (1942)

Puerto Rico v. Russell & Co.

No. 95

Argued February 3, 4, 1942

Decided March 16, 1942

315 U.S. 610

Syllabus

In aid of the operation of an irrigation district on a stream in Puerto Rico, the insular Commissioner of the Interior made contracts with a company owning rights to divert water from the stream for the irrigation of lands not embraced in the district, whereby, in consideration of a suspension of the company's water rights in certain particulars, the insular Government undertook to deliver to it at its intakes specified quantities of water regularly, as the fair equivalent of the rights suspended.

Held, that the Commissioner had statutory authority to make the contracts and that a later statute which sought to recoup part of the cost of maintaining and operating the district system by imposing annual assessments, erroneously called "taxes," on the company's lands, impaired the obligation of the contracts in violation of the insular Organic Act. P. 315 U. S. 616.

118 F.2d 225 affirmed.

Certiorari, 314 U.S. 589, to review a judgment which, reversing a judgment of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, 56 P.R.Dec. 343, reinstated a judgment of the insular District Court dismissing the complaint in an action brought by Puerto Rico to recover sums claimed as taxes. For earlier phases, see 21 F.2d 1012; 60 F.2d 10; 288 U. S. 288 U.S. 476.

Page 315 U. S. 611

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