FEDERAL REPORTER. THE CITY
December 27, 1881.)
(Districe Coure, E. D. New York.
Where a steam-boat and a tug and tow were approaching each other OD nearly opposite courses, and they came together with their starboard l.>ows, caused by the change in the direction of the tug, which could not be kept steady with her tow in the ebb tide, the libel against the steam-boat was dismissed.
Owen IX Gray, for libellant. Shipman. Ba·rlow, Larocque IX Choate, for claimant.
BENEDICT, D. J. The controlling facts of this case, as they appear to be disclosed by the testimony, are these: The two vessels were approaching each other on nearly opposite courses, the City of Chester being upon the port of the Beard. This is proved by witnesses from both vessels. Several of the libellant's witnesses say that the Chester was on their port, and testimony to the same effect is produced by the claimant. The vessels came together with the starboard bow ot the Chester to the starboard bow of the Beard, and the blow was glancing. The cause of the collision was, therefore, necessarily a change on the part of the Chester towards Brooklyn, or a change on the part of the Beard towards New York. The libel states that the Chester made no change until the vessels were within a short distance, but asserts that when within a short distance she attempted to go between the Beard and Brooklyn. This latter assertion is not borne out by the testimony. The weight of the evidence is that the City of Chester did not change towards Brooklyn, but that the Beard did change towards New York. There is testimony from the. libellant's witnesses that the Beard, with a canal-boat on her port side, could not be kept steady in the ebb tide, and the accident was doubtless caused by a swing of the Beard towards New York when the vessels were too near each other to give the pilot time to couuteract it. For a collision so caused the Chester is not in fault, and the libel must be dismissed, with costs.
NOTES OF CURRENT DECISIONS
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.
Constitutional Law-Rule of Construction-Decisions of State Courts.
TAYLOR '0. CITY OF YPSILANTI,4 Morr. Trans. 326. Error to the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Michigan. This action was brought by a citizen of New York to recover from the city of Ypsilanti the amount of certain coupons on bonds issued by that city in aid of the con" struction of a railroad. Among other questions, the proposition was advanced on behalf of the city that the act of the legislature under which the bonds were issued is repugnant to the constitution of Michigan as expounded by the highest judicial tribunal of that state in People v. Salem, 20 Mich. 452; Bay City v. State Treasurer, 23 Mich. 499, and several other cases decided in the same court at a subsequent period, and that these cases constitute the law of the case and should be followed, as of obligation, without reference to the time when they were made, or to any opinion as to the soundness of the principles announced. The. case was. decided on appeal before the supreme court of the United States, on March 20, 1882, Mr. Justice Harlan delivering the opinion of the court: The legislature of a state, in the absence of constitutional prohibition, may authorize municipal corporations to aid in the construction of railroads, and a statute authorizing certain municipalities to aid in such construction is not in conflict with sections of the state constitution forbidding the credit of the state from being loaned to private persons or corporations, and forbidding the state from subscribing to the stock of any corporation, or from being interested in any work of internal improvement,and forbidding any person from being deprived of his property without due process of law. Where a resolution of a city voting aid t03 railroad on condition that if any of its citizen,s subscribe and pay for any stock in the railroad, the latter should deliver to such persons the bonds of the city to that amount, is a loan or donation within the meaning of the statute which authorizes mnnicipal corporations to pledge their aid to a railroad" by loan or donation, with or without conditions." Federal courts, in all cases within their jurisdiction depending on local law, administer that law, so far as it affects contract obligations and rights, as judicially expounded ill the state courts, at the time such obligations