Oshkosh Waterworks Co. v. Oshkosh,
187 U.S. 437 (1903)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Oshkosh Waterworks Co. v. Oshkosh, 187 U.S. 437 (1903)

Oshkosh Waterworks Company v. Oshkosh

No. 74

Argued November 6, 1902

Decided January 6, 1903

187 U.S. 437


1. While, in a general sense, the laws in force at the time a contract is made enter into its obligation, parties have no vested right in the particular remedies or modes of procedure then existing.

2. The legislature may not withdraw all remedies, and thus in effect destroy the contract, nor impose such new restrictions or conditions as would materially delay or embarrass the enforcement of rights under the contract according to the course of justice as established when the contract was made.

Neither could be done without impairing the obligation

Page 187 U. S. 438

of the contract. But the legislature may change existing remedies or modes of procedure without impairing the obligation of contracts if a substantial or efficacious remedy remains or is provided by means of which a party can enforce his rights under the contract. The contract clause of the Constitution of the United States has reference only to a statute of a state enacted after the making of the contract whose obligation is alleged to have been impaired.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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