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CITIZENS OF NORTHWOOD AND WORTH COUNTY,
THE CENTRAL IOWA RAILWAY COMPANY,
Respondent. On the 7th March, 1882, the citizens of Northwood complained of the Central Iowa Railway Company, that it had abandoned operation of part of its road. Such proceedings were had that on the 15th February, 1883, the Commissioners recommended that the Central Iowa resume the operation of that portion of its road between Manly Junction and Northwood, in accordance with the decision of the Commissioners, and that it do so within a reasonable time. On the 7th of March, 1883, the respondent asked to make further argument upon the justice of the order before made. After much delay, on the 14th July, argument of counsel for respondent was filed. July 25, 1883, the Board denied a rebearing, and adhered to their former decision. This order could not be enforced and was not obeyed. Thus matters stood until the meeting of the General Assembly. At that session of the General Assembly the law known as Chapter 133, Acts of Twentieth General Assembly, was enacted.
On the 2d of May, 1884, the Board finding the order heretofore made still disregarded, and deeming it to be an order affecting public right, entered the same upon their journal, with a view to the discharge of their duties under the act above named. Having been advised by a telegraphic dispatch from E. 'L. Dudley, General Superintendent of the Central Iowa Railway, that the directors declined to make any change in the Northwood lease, and that their trains would not run north of Manly Junction after that day, they at once, under the above law, certified the case to the Attorney-General for action thereon. On the 8th day of May, 1884, the Attorney-General filed in the Circuit Court in Cerro Gordo county a petition in words and figures following:
IN THE IOWA CIRCUIT COURT IN AND FOR CERRO GORDO
COUNTY- MAY TERM, 1884.
THE STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff,
THE CENTRAL IOWA RAILWAY COMPANY,
AND THE BURLINGTON, CEDAR RAPIDS & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY,
PETITION IN EQUITY. .
Your petitioner the State of Iowa, by direction of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State, to its Attorney-General complains of the defendants and alleges:
1. That heretofore on the 7th day of March, A. D. 1882, there was pending before the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State a certain complaint. of citizens of Northwood and of Worth county, Iowa, the same being resident citizens and tax payers of said places, which said complaint was against defendart herein, The Central Iowa Railway Company, wherein it was alleged among other things, that the Central Railroad Company of Iowa, June 23, 1869, organized under the laws of Iowa, its object being to acquire, construct, maintain and operate a railroad from the south to the north line of Iowa, beginning at the Missouri line and running thence north on the sixteenth meridian of longitude west from Washington, or as near thereto as practicable, the said road to run through the following towns and cities: Moravia, Albia, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Eldora. That to aid in the construction of the said railroad, the people of Worth county, by vote of the people of said county, granted said railroad 32,000 acres of swamp land, and September 22, 1871, conveyed said road said land, with conditions in said deed that said company should take said land, subject to which conditions were the “grading, tieing, bridging, and constructing all that part of the said road from the south to the north line of Worth county.' Also conveying all swamp land indemnity, money, warrants granted or to be granted, to said county in lieu of swamp lands.
Also, that under chapter 102, laws 1870, there was voted and paid in accordance with the provisions of said law, to said company, $15,985.20 in the aid of the construction thereof. That the notice for the election contained provisions that the taxes were to be expended only in constructing the road within Worth county, and that the tax should not be spread upon the books for collection until said railroad company should have run their cars into Northwood,
That Samuel Egbert conveyed to said company lands of the value of $1,200, B. H. Becket lands to the value of $500, D. McKercher lands to the value of $200, and L. L. Woodworth three and three-fourths acres of land, all in consideration of said company building the line of road from the south line of Worth county to Northwood.
That the said railroad company constructed its road as agreed, and in October, 1871, commenced running its trains into the town of Northwood, and the road was so operated until August, 1880, at which time all trains were abandoned north of Manley Junction, to the great damage of said complainants.
2. And the State of Iowa now says that all of said matters are and were true, and were made of issue before said Board of Railroad Commissioners.
3. Your petitioner further avers the truth to be that in July, 1877, the people of Northwood voted to the defendant, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company, or the company of which it is the seccessor, $3,060.38 to build its line of road from its then terminus near Plymouth, to a point in sections 21 or 28, township 98, range 20, and there make a junction with the Iowa Central line, and thence over the line of the said last named company to Northwood, and thence build from Northwood to the north line of Worth county.
4. Your petitioner further avers that to said complaint before said
Board of Railroad Commissioners, the said Central Iowa Railway Company appeared and made answer, fully denying its legal obligation to operate its lipe of railroad north of Manly Junction, and asking that said complaint be dismissed.
5. That upon full hearing, the said Board of Railroad Commissioners did, March 7, 1882, order and adjudge that Central Iowa Railway Company is under legal obligation to equip, maintain and operate that portion of its road between Manly Junction, Iowa, and Northwood, Iowa, and to so equip, maintain and operate it as a portion and part of, and in connection with, its entire and continuous line between its points of termini, as provided in its charter, under which it was constructed; and that a failure to so equip, operate and maintain said portion of its road, and its entire road, is a violation of its charter duties and obligations, and contrary to law; and recommending that the Central Iowa Railway Company resume the operation of that portion of its road between Manly Junction and Northwood.
6. And afterward, said Central Iowa Railway Company asked and was denied a rehearing in said case, and which said orders and adjudicatiors have ever since and now are of full force and effect, and in no way have been reversed or modified. Notwithstanding of all which the said Central Iowa Railway Company still refuses to operate its line of said road to any point north of Manly Junction.
7. That the Central Railroad Company, by its charter, was to build, organize, construct and maintain a line of rail from Southern Iowa to said north lire of Iowa, passing through Albia, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown, Eldora, and other points, and contracted to build, maintain and operate north of said Manly Junction to said Northwood; and it was so built, constructed, and was being so operated to said Northwood, from its southern terminus, as one continuous line of road, at the time of the organization of the defendant, the Central Iowa Railway, the successor of said Central Railroad Company; and when the said Central Iowa Railway Company was organized and became the owner of said road, it had full knowledge of the charter and all legal obligations of the said Central Railroad Company.
8. That the said defendant, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company, now claims to have a lease on and over that part of said railroad from Manly Junction to Northwood, a distance of ten to fifteen miles. That as to the length of time sáid lease is to run your petitioner has not knowledge nor informaticn sufficient to form a belief; but said lease is and was illegal, and said Central Iowa Railway had no power nor authority to make the same. That it is against public policy and void, for that it deprives all people of the State of having a continuous line of railway from Albia, Iowa, to Northwood, as said Central Railroad and the Central Iowa Railway contracted to furnish and maintain. That it is a wrong, and a fraud and oppressive to said people of Worth county and Northwood, by reason of the foregoing, and ky reason of the large considerations paid in money and property to said Central Railroad Company, to construct, operate and maintain, all of which the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad Company well knew when it so leased that part of said road. Toat. said road, if properly maintained, is sufficient to carry all the property and passengers of both said roads,
9. That each of defendants herein is a corporation, organized as such under the laws of Iowa.
10. Wherefore your petitioner prays that said orders and decrees and finding of said Board of Railroad Commissioners of Iowa, be adjudged reasonable and just. That a decree be entered for a rule, order and mandatory injunction against the Central Iowa Railway directing and commanding it to maintain and forever operate the said line of railway from its. southern terminus to the town of Northwood, and which orders and injunctions shall be binding upon the successors of said company. That said lease to said The Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway shall be canceled and declared for naught. That plaintiff recover its reasonable attorney fees herein, to-wit.: one thousand dollars.
And for such other further and general relief as equity and good conscience may require, including costs.
S. MCPHERSON, Attorney-General,
Attorney for Plaintiff. STATE OF IOWA,
I, S. McPherson, on oath do say that I am Attorney-General of Iowa, plaintiff herein; that the foregoing petition, which I have read, is true, as I verily believe.
Subscribed and sworn to before and in my presence by S. McPherson, May 5, 1884. [SEAL.]
C. S. MURPHY,
Notary Public. (1856.] Filed May 8, 1884.
Clerk Circuit Court.
On the 19th of May, 1884, J. H. Blair, solicitor for the Central Iowa Railway Company, filed a general demurrer to the petition on the ground that "the facts stated do not entitle the plaintiff to the relief demanded, nor to any relief whatever.” The Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway filed at the same time a demurrer in precisely the same terms. The same day both defendants filed a motion for a change of venue, supported by affidavits. May 20th, 1884, the Court granted the change of venue prayed for, and transferred the case to the District Court of Iowa in and for Cerro Gordo county.
At the session of the District Court of Cerro Gordo county, held some time in November last, the demurrer heretofore filed was argued and submitted, and as the Commissioners are advised, the demurrer was overruled, the Court holding there was merit in the bill. Issue was then joined and testimony is now being taken, and it is understood that the case will be submitted for final decision in the coming January.
ED. BARBER, Glidden, Iowa,
Filed February 20, 1884.
The facts in this case will be found sufficiently stated in the opinions of the Commissioners herewith set forth:
COMMISSIONER ANDERSON'S OPINION.
Mr. Barber complains of an overcharge by the defendant on a buggy he had shipped from Morrison, Ill., to Glidden, Iowa. The buggy weighed 550 lbs., but was rated and charged for as 2,000 lbs., at 48 cents per hundred pounds.
The complaint was referred to Mr. IIewitt, General Manager of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, and by him referred to Mr. H. C. Wicker, General Traffic Manager, for answer. Mr. Wicker answers that "the rate charged (84 cents per 100 lbs., on 2,000 lbs., $16.80), is the regular Chicago first-class tariff rate, as it has been our custom for several years past to give our interior manufacturing towns the benefit of Chicago tariff rates. Had we not done so in this instance, the rate would have been $1.05 per 100 lbs., that being the rate for 265 miles, as per our Inter-State Distance Tariff.
The rate of 57 cents per 100 lbs., for 265 miles, per lowa local freight tariff, does not apply, as the business is strictly inter-State. I apprehend the trouble is not so much in the rate, as in the constructive weight of 2,000 lbs., when the actual weight was only 550 lbs., as alleged by Mr. Barber. He probably overlooked the fact that space was taken up in the car, of about four times that occupied by ordinary first-class freight.”
This is the Company's answer in full, italics and all.
The facts sufficiently appear in this answer of Mr. Wicker's, for a full understanding of the issue in this case. The complaint is that the freight charge is “an outrageous price,” and Mr. Wicker "apprehends,” in answer thereto, that the "trouble is in the constructive weight of 2,000 lbs.," etc. Mr. Barber does not say that the trouble is in the constructive weight, but that simply the amount charged him for transporting the freight named was an "outrageous price."
It seems to me that there is no occasion in this case to "apprehend” or suspect what the "trouble” is, as Mr. Wicker's own answer and explanations of this complaint removes the whole matter from the field of speculation.