North Dakota v. Minnesota,
Annotate this Case
263 U.S. 365 (1923)
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U.S. Supreme Court
North Dakota v. Minnesota, 263 U.S. 365 (1923)
North Dakota v. Minnesota
No. 10, Original
Argued January 3, 4, 1921
Restored to docket and ordered that supplemental
proofs be taken, April 18, 1921
Argued March 12, 13, 1923
Decided December 10, 1923
263 U.S. 365
1. Where a state, by changing the method of draining surface water from lands within her border, increases the flow of an interstate stream greatly beyond its natural capacity, so that the water is thrown upon farms in another state, the latter state has such an interest, as quasi-sovereign, in the comfort, health, and prosperity of her farm owners that resort may be had by her to the original jurisdiction of this Court, for relief by injunction against the state causing the injury. P. 263 U. S. 372.
2. In a suit of that character, the burden upon the plaintiff sustaining her allegations is much greater than that imposed upon the plaintiff in an ordinary suit between private parties. P. 263 U. S. 374.
3. In view of the Eleventh Amendment, a claim for money damages, made by a state on behalf of her individual citizen, against another state, is beyond the original jurisdiction of this Court. P. 263 U. S. 374.
4. The evidence in this case shows that floods in the Bois de Sioux River, resulting in inundations of riparian farm lands in North Dakota, were caused by excessive rainfalls during a series of years, rather than by drainage operations conducted by Minnesota, and fails to sustain the peculiar burden resting on North Dakota to prove her allegations to the contrary. Pp. 263 U. S. 376, 263 U. S. 386.
Bill dismissed without prejudice.
This was a suit brought originally in this Court by the State of North Dakota to enjoin the State of Minnesota from continuing to use a system of drainage ditches constructed by the latter state, and for money compensation for damage to North Dakota farmers caused by overflows of the Bois de Sioux River, attributed by the plaintiff to the construction and operation of the ditches. The plaintiff also sought damages for destruction of public roads, bridges, etc., caused by the overflows. See also 256 U. S. 256 U.S. 220.