Western Union. Tel. Co. v. Louisville & N. R. Co.,
258 U.S. 13 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Western Union. Tel. Co. v. Louisville & N. R. Co., 258 U.S. 13 (1922)

Western Union Telegraph Company v.

Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company

No. 259

Argued January 4, 1922

Decided February 27, 1922

258 U.S. 13


A telegraph company whose line occupied part of a railroad right of way under an expired contract with the railroad company obtained a judgment under Ky.Stats. § 4679c adjudging it a right to condemn the easement and fixing the damages, which it paid into court, and, pending an appeal upon which the circuit court of appeals ordered a new trial on the right to include part of the property affected and on the damages, an act was passed (Acts 1916, c. 15) providing generally that no part of a railroad right of way should be condemned, longitudinally, for a telegraph line, and making no exception of pending cases.


(1) That the telegraph company acquired no vested right through the judgment, and its right to condemn was repealed by the later act. P. 258 U. S. 18.

(2) Kentucky Stats. § 465, declaring against construing a new law to repeal a former law as to rights accrued or claims arising under it or in any way whatever to affect any right accrued or claim arising before the new law takes effect, was inapplicable. P. 258 U. S. 19.

(3) The withdrawal of the right of condemnation violated neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the provision of the Kentucky Constitution forbidding any interference by the legislature with judicial proceedings in court. P. 258 U. S. 19.


Page 258 U. S. 14

Appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing appellant's petition in condemnation. A formal appeal in this case went to the circuit court of appeals. 249 F. 385. In an ancillary proceeding, an injunction was granted by the district court, 201 F. 946, and sustained by the circuit court of appeals, but, on a subsequent appeal, that court decided that it should be dissolved because of the repealing statute here in question. See 268 F. 4, 13.

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