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CA S ES
PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANIES
PUBLIC CARRIERS, PUBLIC WORKS, AND
OTHER PUBLIC UTILITIES
SOMETIME PROFESSOR OF LAW IX HARVARD UNIVERSITY
This collection of cases is designed to show the development of the law of public service in its most modern forms: the public carriers, the public works, and the other public utilities. The distinction between the private callings - the rule — and the public callings — the exception - is a striking feature of the law governing business relations as it is to-day. The causes of the division are economic rather than strictly legal. Free competition, the very basis of the modern social organization, superseded almost completely medieval restrictions, but it has just come to be recognized that the process of free competition fails in some cases to secure the public good, and it has been reluctantly admitted that some control is necessary over such lines of industry as are affected with a public interest. At this point the problem of public callings becomes a legal one.
No one can carefully study the authorities on this subject without feeling that we are just entering upon a great and important development of the common law. What branches of industry will eventually be of such public importance as to be included in the category of public callings, and to what extent the control of the courts will be carried in the effort to solve by law the modern economic problems, it would be rash to predict. Enormous business combinations, virtual monopolization of the necessaries of life, the strife of labor and capital, now the concern of the economist and the statesman, may prove susceptible of legal control through the doctrines of the law of public callings. These doctrines are not yet clearly defined. General rules, to be sure,
have been established, but details have not been worked out by the courts ; and upon the successful working out of these details depends to a large extent the future economic organization of the country. Only if the courts can adequately control the public service companies in all contingencies may the business of these companies be left in private hands.
As a result of the present state of the law it has seemed essential to bring together examples of every sort of public calling. Here will be found decisions concerning coaches and ships, the turnpike and the toll-bridge, the railway and the tram, the inn and the warehouse, the telegraph and the telephone, the purveyors of light and water. Materials are thus provided for analogy and comparison, and for a careful study of the rights and duties of persons engaged in every sort of public employment.
When this preface was first written in 1902 this unity of the public service law had not been generally perceived; now it is a recognized branch of the law, recognized by all as of overshadowing importance. An impressive instance of this growth in the law is the number of fundamental cases which the last few
years have produced that have been added to this new edition.
This collection is intended primarily for use as a basis for class discussion in a law school, and the choice and arrangement of cases have been directed to that end. Cases have been abridged with freedom, but the fact has always been indicated. The annotation is not exhaustive, but is intended to draw the attention of students to a variety of cases, valuable for purposes of study, which bear upon the subjects discussed in the text. The subdivisions are kept few and general so as to leave the student to formulate the law for himself without the interference of the editor.