Queenside Hills Realty Co., Inc. v. Saxl
328 U.S. 80 (1946)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Queenside Hills Realty Co., Inc. v. Saxl, 328 U.S. 80 (1946)

Queenside Hills Realty Co., Inc. v. Saxl

No. 769

Argued March 28, 1946

Decided April 22, 1946

328 U.S. 80

Syllabus

In 1940, appellant constructed a lodging house in New York, complying with all applicable laws then in force. In 1944, New York amended its Multiple Dwelling Law so as to provide that lodging houses of "nonfireproof construction existing prior to the enactment" of the amendment should comply with certain new requirements, including the installation of an automatic wet pipe sprinkler system. Appellant asserted that its building did not constitute a fire hazard or a danger to its occupants; that it had a market value of $25,000; that the cost of complying with the 1944 law would be $7,500, and that the benefits to be obtained by the changes were negligible.

Held:

1. The law does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, since it is within the police power of the State and the owner of property does not acquire immunity against the exercise of the police power by constructing it in full compliance with existing laws. P. 328 U. S. 82.

2. In the absence of a showing that there are in existence other lodging houses of the same category which will escape its requirements, the law cannot be held to violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because of its failure to apply to lodging houses which might be erected subsequently; since lack of equal protection is found in the actual existence of an invidious discrimination, and not in the mere possibility that there will be like or similar cases which will be treated more leniently. Pp. 328 U. S. 83-85.

3. The wisdom of the legislation and the need for it are questions for the legislature. P. 328 U. S. 82.

294 N.Y. 917, 63 N.E.2d 116, affirmed.

Appellant sued in the New York courts for a declaratory judgment holding certain provisions of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law (L.1929, c. 713) as amended in 1944 (L.1944, c. 553) unconstitutional and restraining their enforcement. The Supreme Court dismissed the

Page 328 U. S. 81

suit. The Appellate Division affirmed. 269 App.Div. 691, 54 N.Y.S.2d 394. The Court of Appeals affirmed, 294 N.Y. 917, 63 N.E.2d 116, certifying by its remittitur that questions involving the Fourteenth Amendment were presented and necessarily passed upon. 295 N.Y. 567, 64 N.E.2d 278. Affirmed, p. 328 U. S. 85.

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