Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Raleigh,
242 U.S. 15 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Raleigh, 242 U.S. 15 (1916)

Seaboard Air Line Railway v. City of Raleigh

No. 59

Argued November 1, 1916

Decided November 20, 1916

242 U.S. 15


Herein the action of the Board of Aldermell of the City of Raleigh in assuming to grant to a railroad company "permission to occupy" a sidewalk with a spur track is held, in the circumstances stated in the opinion, to have amounted, at most, to the conferring of a mere revocable license.

Page 242 U. S. 16

The general principle reiterated that what seems on its face a mere license by a municipality may not be converted into contract by resort to general implications.

The exception which allows duration and contractual quality to be attributed by implication alone to particular privileges, whose continued enjoyment is vitally and essentially related to enduring powers and duties of a corporate grantee, has no application to a case like this, where the action of the city, concerning a mere permission to exercise a facility as a license, occurred long after the railway corporation was created and established in business, and was in no way necessary for the discharge of its corporate functions. Long occupation and use of the spur track for railroad purposes, with the assent of the city, could not create a permanent right.

219 F. 573 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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