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Opinion of the Court.

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To sustain this contention it is claimed by appellants that there is no testimony in the record to show that the rates established in 1897 were lower than those charged in 1868. Appel

lants say:

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“The only thing which complainants rely on to establish this fact is the recital in the report of a committee of the council appointed in 1870 for the purpose of agreeing with the water company upon a schedule of water rates to be charged, in which it stated (by the joint committee) that they have established water rates and charges for doinestic purposes, taking as a guide, as near as can be, the charges and rates for domestic purposes charged in July, 1868. That your committee have also fixed the rates and charges for other reasonable objects and purposes, and report as follows.''

It is urged this is not a statement that the rates fixed in 1870 were equal to those of 1868; indeed, that they may have been higher. And it is also urged there is a distinction made between rates for domestic purposes and rates for “other reasonable objects and purposes,” which may mean not domestic purposes, and as to these it does not appear upon what they were based.

We are not disposed to dwell long on these claims. It is incredible that the city should have demanded statements from the company yearly; have passed ordinances yearly, and provoked and endured an expensive litigation to establish rates higher than or the same as those which already existed. If statements and ordinances were necessary in fulfilment of the duty of the city under the constitution of the State, neither controversy or litigation was necessary, nor would either have ensued.

It is urged under this head that it is not shown that the income of the water company is less under the rates fixed by the city than under those of 1868. The showing would be irrele

The contract concerns rates, not income, and the power of the city over them under the contract.

8. If the ordinance is invalid, it is void on its face, and there is, therefore, no cloud on the company's title.

The contention is that “if the contract of 1868 is valid, and the ordinance of 1897 reduces tbe income of the company below


Opinion of the Court.

that which it should receive, the ordinance is void on its face as being in conflict with the Federal Constitution, and is no cloud on complainants' title.”

It is hence deduced that the water company has adequate legal remedies, and cannot resort to an equitable one.

We concur with the learned trial judge that the ordinance is not void on its face. As said by him

“In the case at bar, however, the ordinance upon its face is valid, 88 Fed. Rep. 747, 748, and its invalidity appears only when considered in connection with the contract of July the 22d, 1868, and evidence showing what the water rates were at that date. While the court takes judicial notice of the ratifying act of April 2, 1870, still, since the provisions of the contract of July the 22d, 1868, are not embodied in said act, I am not sure that said provisions are matters of judicial knowledge, although such seems to be the ruling of the court, (one of the justices dissenting,) in Braily v. Page, 59 Cal. 52. Conceding, however, that the court will take judicial notice of all the provisions of said contract, still the one in question simply provides that water rates shall not be reduced below the rates then charged, without indicating what those rates were, and therefore the invalidity of the ordinance appears, not upon its face, but only in connection with extraneous evidence of what the rates were in July, 1868, and for this reason complainants have adduced that evidence in the present case."

And further

6. The defendants must either submit to the terms of the ordinance, or incur unusually onerous expenditures. It is reasonably certain that if, with the ordinance standing, they were to undertake the collection of rates in excess of those prescribed in the ordinance, they would be resisted at every point by the consumers of water, and thus be driven to innumerable actions at law. Besides, should they, in any instance, succeed in collecting, without an action, a higher rate than the ordinance prescribes, it is equally certain that they would thereby bring upon themselves protracted and heavy litigation, having for its object forfeiture of their entire system of works. Surely these injuries are irreparable, and actions at law, so far from being adequate

Opinion of the Court.

to the exigencies of the situation, are, as complainants, in their brief, forcibly put it, mere mockeries of a remedy."

9. The company violated the contract by taking water from the Los Angeles River, and, therefore, is not entitled to specific performance.

In reply to this contention we may adopt the language of the Supreme Court of the State of California, used on behalf of the court by Mr. Justice McFarland, in Los Angeles v. Los Angeles City Water Company, 12+ Cal. 377.

The contract of 1868 and the right of the water company to take water from the river was considered and decided. The learned justice said:

“Before considering the main questions in the case, it is proper here to notice a preliminary point made by the city, and somewhat insisted on, to wit: That the only quantity of the water of the Los Angeles River to which the water company is entitled under the contract is ten inches under a four-inch pressure. This contention cannot be maintained. The words of the contract on this subject are simply that the company shall not take from the river more than ten inches of water without the previous consent' of the city; there is nothing in the contract about four-inch pressure,' nor is there any intimation as to what the parties meant by 'ten inches of water. But, looking at the context and the subject matter of the contract, it is quite evident that the parties did not mean only ten inches under a four-inch pressure. If that had been the meaning, there would have been no sense in the other important covenants. At the time of the contract it would have taken many times ten inches under a four-inch pressure to furnish water for domestic purposes to even the few thousand people who were then inhabitants of the city; and much more than that amount was necessary to supply free water under the contract; and a solemn covenant to supply a growing city with sufficient water for domestic and municipal purposes for thirty years from a flow of ten inches under a four-inch pressure would have been absurd. The company, immediately after the date of the contract, commenced to use an amount of water greatly in excess of ten inches under a four-inch pressure; soon after the execu

Opinion of the Court.


tion of the contract the company was using three hundred inches under a four-inch pressure, and from that to the present time they have been using, with the knowledge and consent of the city, from three hundred to seven hundred inches so measured. Therefore, whatever (if anything) was meant by the simple words ‘ten inches,' the contract was immediately, and has been continuously, construed by the action of the parties as meaning more than ten inches measured under a four-inch pressure. There is no pretence that the city ever objected to the use of this water by the water company until 1896, when an ordinance was passed by the city government undertaking to withdraw the city's consent to the taking of more than ten inches from the river. It is difficult to imagine how this ordi

. nance was passed seriously; for if the water company had been prevented from taking from the river at that time more than ten inches of water under a four-inch pressure, there certainly would have been a water famine in the city, for the city had no works of its own and no means whatever for supplying water for either domestic or municipal purposes. But the city, having allowed the water company, for nearly thirty years, to divert the quantity of water above mentioned, and to expend vast sums of money upon the faith of a continuance of the right to take said water, could not withdraw its consent within the period of the contract."

The learned justice then quoted and approved the following remarks of the Circuit Court in the case at bar:

-66. If it be conceded, as claimed by defendants, (which, however, I do not decide,) that the provision of the contract, limiting the quantity of the water to be taken from the river without previous consent of the city, is sufficiently certain for enforcement, or, more specially, that said quantity is ten inches measured under a four-inch pressure, still the consent of the city to the taking of a larger quantity, once given, cannot be withdrawn during the life of the contract, for the reason that large expenditures have been made by complainants in reliance upon such consent.' The court cites as authorities to the point: Rhodes v. Otis, 33 Ala. 600; 73 Am. Dec. 439; Woodbury v. Parshley, 7 N. H. 237; 26 Am. Dec. 739; Lacy v. Arnett, 33 Pa. St.



Opinion of the Court.

169; Russell v. Hubbard, 59 Ill. 339; Beall v. Marietta &c. Mill Co., 45 Ga. 33; Veyhte v. Raritan Water Power Co., 19 N. J. Eq. 153; Wilmington &c. R. R. Co. v. Battle, 66 N. C. 546; Flickinger v. Shaw, 87 Cal. 126 ; 22 Am. St. Rep. : t; Grimshaw v. Belcher, 88 Cal. 217; 22 Am. St. Rep. 298; Smith v. Green, 109 Cal. 228, all of which sustain the point.”

Decree affirmed.



No. 249. Submitted April 18, 1900. – Decided May 14, 1900.

All questions arising under the constitution and laws of Kansas are, for

the purposes of this case, foreclosed by the decisions of the state courts. It is the duty of a receiver appointed by a Federal court to take charge of

a railroad, to operate it according to the laws of the State in which it is situated, and he is liable to suit in a court other than that by which he was appointed, even in a state court, for a disregard of official duty which

causes injury to the party suing. A city, when authorized by the legislature, may regulate the speed of trains

within its limits, and this extends to interstate trains in the absence of

congressional action on the subject. The Interstate Transit Railway is a railway connecting Kansas City, Mis

souri, with Kansas City, Kansas, and the exception of its trains from the general provision in the city ordinance respecting the speed of trains in the city was an exception entirely within the power of the legislature to make.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. B. P. Waggener and Mr. Albert H. Horton, for plaintiff in error.

Mr. George B. Watson for defendants in error.

MR. JUSTICE BREwer delivered the opinion of the court.

While in their briefs many matters are discussed with full

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