Boom Company v. Patterson,
98 U.S. 403 (1878)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Boom Company v. Patterson, 98 U.S. 403 (1878)

Boom Company v. Patterson

98 U.S. 403


1. The United States cannot interfere with the exercise by the state of her right of eminent domain in taking for public use land within her limits which is private property. But when the inquiry whether the conditions prescribed by her statutes for its exercise have been observed takes the form of a judicial proceeding between the owner of lands and a corporation seeking to condemn and appropriate them, the controversy is subject to the ordinary incidents of a civil suit, and its determination does not derogate from the sovereignty of the state.

2. A controversy of this kind in Minnesota, when carried, under a law of the state, from the commissioners of appraisement to the state court, taking there the form of a suit at law, may, if it is between citizens of different states, be removed to a federal court.

3. In determining the value of lands appropriated for public purposes, the same considerations are to be regarded as in a sale between private parties, the inquiry in such cases being what, from their availability for valuable uses, are they worth in the market.

4. As a general rule, compensation to the owner is to be estimated by reference to the uses for which the appropriated lands are suitable, having regard to the existing business or wants of the community or such as may be reasonably expected in the immediate future.

6. On the upper Mississippi, where sending logs down the river is a regular business, the adaptability of islands to form, in connection with the bank of the river, a boom of large dimensions to hold logs in safety is a proper element for consideration in estimating the value of the lands on the islands when appropriated for public uses.

Page 98 U. S. 404

The plaintiff is a corporation created by the laws of Minnesota, known as the Mississippi and Rum River Boom Company, and the defendant is a citizen of the State of Illinois.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

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