Ramapo Water Co. v. City of New York,
236 U.S. 579 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ramapo Water Co. v. City of New York, 236 U.S. 579 (1915)

Ramapo Water Co. v. City of New York

No. 715

Argued February 24, 1915

Decided March 8, 1915

236 U.S. 579


Where the constitution of the state reserves the right so to do, the charter of a corporation may be repealed without impairing the obligations of a contract. Calder v. Michigan, 218 U. S. 591.

In the absence of a specific decision of the highest court of the state to that effect, this Court will not construe a statute authorizing a water supply corporation to exercise eminent domain under the provisions of the Railroad Act as giving to that corporation a vested right to exclude the rest of the world from whatever watersheds it chooses for an unlimited period and one that cannot be impaired by subsequent legislation simply by filing a map.

The Railroad Act of New York requires a corporation intending to exercise eminent domain not only to file maps of the property to be taken, but also to file written notice to the occupants thereof, and the mere filing of the map does not create rights against the state.

The legislation of the State of New York of 1905 empowering the City of New York to acquire lands for its new water supply is not unconstitutional as impairing the obligation of the contract of the charter rights of the plaintiff in error in this case or depriving it of its property without due process of law under the act authorizing

Page 236 U. S. 580

it to acquire property in the same watershed under the provisions of the Railroad Act, it appearing that no proceedings for such acquisition had ever been taken beyond the filing of a map.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the impairment of obligation and due process clauses of the federal Constitution of legislation of the State of New York in regard to the new water supply for the City of New York, are stated in the opinion.

Page 236 U. S. 581

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