International & Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Anderson County,
246 U.S. 424 (1918)

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U.S. Supreme Court

International & Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Anderson County, 246 U.S. 424 (1918)

International & Great Northern Railway

Company v. Anderson County

No. 243

Argued March 25, 26, 1918

Decided April 15, 1918

246 U.S. 424


With respect to a railroad within its territory, a state court has jurisdiction to decide whether the owner is under a public duty to maintain the offices and shops at a particular place, even though it were assumed, as a rule of decision, that a foreclosure and confirmed sale in a federal court conferred immunity from the obligation which that court alone could withdraw.

Foreclosure and sale of a railroad in a federal court will not relieve the purchaser from a contractual or statutory duty which rested on its predecessors under the state law to maintain offices and shops at a particular place if the state law holds the obligation indelible by foreclosure.

The prohibition against removal of offices and shops located by contract within a county in consideration of county bond aid extends, under the Texas Office-Shops Act of 1889, to the successor by mortgage foreclosure of the contracting railroad.

In its provision that offices and shops shall be at the place named in the charter, and if no certain place is there named, then at such place as the company shall have contracted to locate them, etc., this statute does not intend that a valid contract for location may be evaded by a purchasing company by naming another place in its charter filed under a general law.

Semble that a contract to maintain the offices and shops of a railroad at a particular place survives mortgage foreclosure and sale of the railroad where the purchaser succeeds to the mortgagor's franchise to be a corporation.

Semble that, generally speaking, a state legislature, dealing with a local railroad corporation, has power to fix the place of its domicile and principal offices.

A corporation, organized under general laws expressly declaring that charters thereunder should be subject to provisions and limitations imposed by law, while another act prohibited changing locations of railroad offices and shops in certain cases, purchased a railroad under

Page 246 U. S. 425

proceedings foreclosing a mortgage. Held that whether or not the prohibition would have been constitutional as applied to the company's predecessors, it was a condition of its incorporation of which it could not complain

Insofar as it depends upon the testimony, the verdict of a jury, upon a issue requested by the complaining party, finding that a state regulation as to location of railway offices and hops does not burden interstate commerce, will be accepted.

Held that the burden, if any, in this case, upon interstate commerce due to a state law forbidding change of location of a railway's office and shops is indirect, and that the state power was not exceeded.

A decree of injunction which properly will be operative until the law is changed may properly be expressed as perpetual.

174 S.W. 305 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 246 U. S. 428

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