Hamilton v. Vicksburg, S. & P. Railroad,
119 U.S. 280 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hamilton v. Vicksburg, S. & P. Railroad, 119 U.S. 280 (1886)

Hamilton v. Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific Railroad

Argued November 10, 1886

Decided December 6, 1886

119 U.S. 280


Whenever the exercise of a right, conferred by law for the benefit of the public, is attended with temporary inconvenience to private parties in common with the public in general, they are not entitled to damages therefor.

A railroad company was authorized by the Legislature of Louisiana to construct a railroad across that state, and as part of such road to construct necessary bridges for crossing navigable streams. The act made no provision for the form or character of such structures. A bridge across a navigable stream was constructed with a draw. In process of time, it became decayed, and defendant in error, having succeeded to the rights of the company, employed a contractor to construct a new bridge in its place, the work to be done at a time of the year when it would least obstruct navigation. The contractor complied with his contract as to the time, but owing to unusual rains, the river continued navigable, and the work was unavoidably prolonged, thereby obstructing its navigation and preventing the vessels of plaintiff in error from passing beyond the bridge. Held that this was a case of damnum absque injuria.

Escanaba Co. v. Chicago, 107 U. S. 678, and Cardwell v. American Bridge Co., 113 U. S. 205, affirmed and applied.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court. The case in the court below will be found reported in 34 La.Ann. 973.

Page 119 U. S. 281

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