CHESAPEAKE & OHIO RY. CO. V. MILLER, 114 U. S. 176 (1885)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Miller, 114 U.S. 176 (1885)

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company v. Miller

Argued March 18-19, 1885

Decided April 6, 1885

114 U.S. 176


The provision in the act of the Legislature of West Virginia incorporating the Covington & Ohio Railroad Company that "no taxation upon the property of the said company shall be imposed by the state until the profits of said Company shall amount to ten percent on the capital" was personal to that company, and did not inhere in the property so as to pass by a transfer of it.

Immunity from taxation conferred on a corporation by legislation is not a franchise. Morgan v. Louisiana, 93 U. S. 217, quoted and affirmed.

A statute of West Virginia regulated sales under foreclosure of mortgages by railroad companies and provided that

"such sale and conveyance shall pass to the purchaser at the sale not only the works and property of the company as they were at the time of making the deed of trust or mortgage, but any works which the company may, after that time and before the sale, have constructed,"

and that "upon such conveyance to the purchaser, the said company shall ipso facto be dissolved," and further that "said purchaser shall forthwith be a corporation" and "shall succeed to all such franchises, rights and privileges . . . as would have been had by the first company but for such sale and conveyance." Held (1) that purchasers thus becoming a corporation derived the corporate existence and powers of the corporation from this act, and were subject to general laws as to corporations then in force; (2) that an immunity from taxation enjoyed by the former corporation was not embraced in the words of description in the act, and did not pass to the new corporation.

Page 114 U. S. 177

This suit was begun by a bill in equity in a court of the State of West Virginia against the auditor of that state to restrain the collection of a tax, alleged to be illegal, on the ground that the plaintiff in error enjoyed an immunity from taxation. Being decided against the claim of exemption, the cause was brought here by writ of error. The grounds of the claim and the other facts which make the federal question are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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