CHAPPELL tI. UNITED STATES.
CHAPPELL 'V. UNITED STATES.
(Oircuit Oourt, D. Maryland. April 19, 1888.)
COURTS-FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURTS-CLAIMS AGAINST UNITED STATES NENT DOMAIN.
Under act of March 3, 1887, c. 359, the circuit court has jurisdiction of a claim exceeding $1,000, for compensation to the owner of land. who. by command of the light-house board, under authority of congress has been prevented from making use of his land lying between two range lights, the use intended by him being one which would have obstructed the lights. Such a restriction upon the use of private property, if authorized by the United States, entitles the owner to compensation.
The act of congress of March 3, 1887, c. 359, having given jurisdiction to the circuit court of all claims against the United States exceeding $1,000, founded upon contracts, express or implied, or for damages; liquidated or unliquidated, in cases not sounding in tort, if the facts alleged in claimant's petition show that the claim is not founded upon torts of officers of the government, but on acts of theirs which were authorized by legislation of congress. it is immaterial whether the petition claims compensation as upon an implied contract or as for damages. If the facts alleged show a case for compensation, the court is to give upon the facts and the law. and without regw:u to forms of action. (8J!llabua by the Court.)
Action for compensation for use ofland.
F. P. Stevens, for plaintiff. Th0ma8 G. Hayes, U. S. Dist. Atty., for defendant.
MORRIS, J. This is a suit against the United States under act of March 3,1887, to recover compensation exceeding $1,000 for the use of plaintiff's land at Hawkins' point, on the Patapsco river. The nature of the case upon which the plaintiff's claim is based is this: The United States light-house board by authority of congress, and with money appropriated by congress for that purpoRe, has erected two light-houses,one in the water at Hawkins' point, in front of the shore of plaintiff's land, and the other on Leading point, about one mile back in a north. westerly direction, upon land of some one else other than the plaintiff. They are range lights to enable vessels to direct their course, so as to keep in the Brewerton channel as excavated by the United States, when coming up orgoing down the river to and from the port of Baltimore. For that use it is requisite that there should be no intervening object between the light-houses; the intention being that when a vessel is on her true course in the channel the rear light on Leading point. shall, in the night. time, be seen in a line with and directly above the front light on Haw· kins' point, and similarly in the day-time the signal balls shall be so seen. The land of the plaintiff in respect of which he claims compensation lies between the two lights and is used by him, according to his petition, as a site for buildings for manufacturing purposes. He claims that the United States has required of him that so much of his land as lies within the range between the two light-housfls, and for So space not v.34F.no.9-43
less than 60 feet in width, shall remain unobstructed by buildings, and that he has been prevented by the United States from erecting buildings upon, and from using, that portion of his land, and that the United States has used it in the manner aforesaid. The district attorney of the United States has demurred to this petition, and contends-First, that the plaintiff has not alleged facts from whieha contract, express or implied, on the part of the United States to pay for the use of the land can be deduced; and, secondly, that of light across the plaintiff's land cal'lnotbe held to be a use of it; and that, if the plaintiff yielded to the direction of the officers of the light-house boar4, not to obstruct the line of range, he voluntarily 'Consented to do what the officer could not have required him to do, and has no remedy at law. With regard to the first contention in support of the de!llurrer, it is to be noticed that the act of March 3, 1887, gives to the cireui(court jurisdiction of aU claims founded upon the constitution of the United States, or any law of congress, or upon any regula.tionof any executive department, or upon any contract, express or implied, or for damages, liquidated or unliquidated, in cases not sounding in tort, in respect of which claims the party would be en· titled to reciress f'.gainstthe UhibldStates, in aeourt of law, equity, or admiralty, if the United States were suable. Under ,this law, which is broader in its terms than that by which heretofore claims against the United States were cognizable in the court of claims, if the plaintiff has SUffered, damage by being prevented from using his1and, and he has properly stated his case, and that case as stated is not one sounding iI;l tort, we do not see that upon the grouI;ld of jurisdiction his petition is demur. rable. If the erection of the light-houses, and the establishment of the range beacons. and the restriction put upon the plaintiff not to erect structures on. his own land would obstruct the range was not by lawful authority of the United States, then, of course, those who interfered with the plaintiff were wrong-doers, and their acts tortious. But this is not t4e issue raised by the demurrer, or contended in argument. It is not suggested that the were not located and maintaip.ed by of congress. It is not denied, as the petition is now amended, that theland, is the private property of t4e plaintiff. ,It is not denied that the obstruction which would have resulted from the plaintiff buill!-:ing upon his land between the would have defeated the lawful purpose of.the United would have endangered the safety of vessels using the channel,'Y4ich congress had directed should be deepened, should be marked by: range beacons. These being the facts, it would seem clear that in requiring that the beacons should remain unobstructed, and ill requiring that the plaintiff should desist from building on l1isAntervening land, the of the light-house board were dojng anci authorized sct,and; one necessarily involved in the direction by congress that the, ,should erect and the range cannot be said, that act was tortious. And we think it f9110ws that, if the .plaintiff, by submitting to their lawful commands; conljented to a restriction upon the free use of his property 01'l05S upon him, there is no obstac:le in the ju.
CITY OF GAI,F.sBURG· V. GALESBURG WATER CO.
· · ·" f
,risdiction. of .. court to pis recover,)'. .In pase of U. S.v. Mdn'uJacturing Co., 1l2V. S. 645,5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 306, tlw Sl.lpreme court tinctly neld that whertl, pl,lrsuant to an act of congress, private propertr has been taken for public"us(;l by officers of the government, there is al1 implied upon the government to make compensation to owner, andaItnough the taking be irregular,and might have been joined, that the claimant, <lould waive his right to resist the officers of the government, and, electing to regard their action as lawful, might sue in the court of claims forjust compensation. We are of opinion that the amended petition does state a case from which a promise to make compensation may be or at any rate it states a case not sounding in tort, entitling plaintiff' to recover any damages he may be able to prove have been sustained ,by him. ''These considerations are also applicable to the ,second contention, viz., that the mere passing. of light across the plaintiff's land in the nighttime, or the mere exhibiting. range signals in the day-time to be seen across it. is not a use of landfor which compensation can be recovered. In our judgment it is immaterial whether the suit is to he considered as one for usa and occupation of land by the United States, or for damages resulting from the prevention of plaintiff's use of his own land. Section 5 of the act of March 3, 1887, c. 359, provides that the plaintiff shall bring his suit by petition, anchhall set forth "the nature of his claim, and a succinct statement of the facts upon which the claim is based, the money or other thing claimed, or the damages sought to be recovered, and praying the court for a judgment or decree the facts and the law." The form of action is not. therefore, material, and such a petition is not demurrable if it sets forth facts from which a contract may be implied. or if it alleges lawful and authorized acts of the government, nottorts onts agents, upon which an obligation to pay damages may be sustained. The demurrer is overruled.
CITY OF GALESBURG
(Oircuit OOU'1't, N. D. lllinoi8. March 20,1888.
)IUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS-CONTRACTS-RESCISSION-EsTOPPEL BY RESOLUTION OF CITY COUNCIL.
A city that has granted a party the right, for a specified time, to erect waterworks. and supply the city with water for public and private use, is not estopped by a resolution of the city council, reciting that the water-works stood the test required by the ordinance, from maintaining an action to rescind the contract, the works proving 'inadequate, against a corporation to whom the contract had been assigned. and holders of bonds Issued by such co.rporation, who had purchased subsequent to the passage ofthe resolution. The bondholders, however, are entitled to 8 fair remuneration for the watcr actually furnished and consumed.