Joslin Mfg. Co. v. Providence,
262 U.S. 668 (1923)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Joslin Mfg. Co. v. Providence, 262 U.S. 668 (1923)

Joslin Manufacturing Company v. City of Providence

Nos. 219, 220, 221

Argued April 19, 20, 1923

Decided June 11, 1923

262 U.S. 668


1. A state, in authorizing the appropriation of waters under its primary control by a city, may require the city to furnish necessary water to other municipalities within the drainage area at fair wholesale rates, without requiring them to bear a proportionate part of the cost of acquiring the water supply and of constructing and maintaining the works. P. 262 U. S. 673.

2. Section 18, c. 1278, Pub.Laws of Rhode Island 1915, authorizing the City of Providence to furnish water to incorporated water companies for use within the drainage areas where there is no public water supply, merely gives the city an opportunity to dispose of water which for the time it may not need, for compensation, as an incident to the main purposes of the legislation. P. 262 U. S. 674.

3. This provision is separable from other provisions of the act involved in this case, and its constitutionality should not be decided in the absence of any attempt to carry it out. P. 262 U. S. 675.

4. Injury to a business carried on upon lands taken for public use does not constitute an element of just compensation in the absence of a statute allowing it. P. 262 U. S. 675.

5. A statute providing for the taking of land for public use does not deny the equal protection of the laws by granting the owner of any business on the land established prior to the passage of the act the right to recover for injury thereto, while withholding such compensation from those whose businesses have been established since. P. 262 U. S. 675.

6. A statute for the taking of lands for public use does not deny the equal protection of the laws by extending to mill owners the privilege of recovering the cost of moving their machinery to a new location

Page 262 U. S. 669

within defined geographical limits and not extending it to those desirous of moving to locations not within those limits. P. 262 U. S. 676.

7. A statute providing for the taking of lands for public use by a city does not deprive the city taxpayers of property without due process of law by making the city liable to property owners for consequential damages, within the limits of equity and justice, in addition to the just compensation required by the Constitution. P. 262 U. S. 676.

8. The taking of property for public use by a state or one of its municipalities need not be accompanied or preceded by payment; the requirement of just compensation is satisfied when the public faith and credit are pledged to a reasonably prompt ascertainment and payment, and there is adequate provision for enforcing the pledge. P. 262 U. S. 677.

9. This requirement being met, a city, after passing of title and before offer or payment of compensation, may be authorized to make dispositions by lease or otherwise and to remove buildings and improvements in ways incidental to the administration of the statute under which the property was taken. P. 262 U. S. 678.

10. The legislature, without allowing the property owner opportunity for hearing and decision by an impartial tribunal, may constitutionally empower a city to decide ex parte what property, within a definitely restricted area, is necessary to be taken for the city's authorized public use. P. 262 U. S. 678.

44 R.I. 31 affirmed.

Error to decrees of the Superior Court of Rhode Island dismissing bills brought to enjoin the City of Providence and the members of the Water Supply Board from taking possession of, or interfering with, property of the plaintiffs, under an act of the legislature authorizing the city to obtain a water supply. The decrees were entered after constitutional questions raised had been certified to the state supreme court and its decision certified, with return of the record, to the court below.

Page 262 U. S. 670

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