Miller v. Strahl
Annotate this Case
239 U.S. 426 (1915)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Miller v. Strahl, 239 U.S. 426 (1915)
Miller v. Strahl
Argued November 29, 1915
Decided December 20, 1915
239 U.S. 426
Whether a state statute contravenes the constitution of the state does not concern this Court.
When a person engages in a business that is subject to regulation by the state, such as hotelkeeping, he undertakes to fulfil the obligations imposed on such business.
A state may prescribe the duties of hotelkeepers in regard to taking precautions against fire and to giving notice to guests in case of fire.
Rules of conduct must necessarily be expressed in general terms and depend upon varying circumstances, and a police statute requiring keepers of hotels to give notice to guests in case of fire is not lacking in due process of law because it does not prescribe fixed rules of conduct. Nash v. United States, 229 U. S. 373, followed, and International Harvester Co. v. Missouri, 234 U. S. 199, distinguished.
A police statute otherwise valid is not unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the law because applicable only to hotels having more than fifty rooms. There is a reasonable basis for classification of hotels based on number of rooms.
The statute of Nebraska of 1913, requiring keepers of hotels having over fifty rooms to keep night watchmen to guard against fire and to awaken guests in case of fire is not unconstitutional as depriving the keepers of hotels having fifty rooms or more of their property without due process of law or as denying them equal protection of the law because the act does not apply to keepers of hotels having less than fifty rooms, nor for denying due process of law because it does not prescribe an exact rule of conduct in case of fire.
97 Neb. 820 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of a statute of Nebraska relative to duties and liabilities of hotelkeepers in case of fire, are stated in the opinion.