PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. V. MILLER, 132 U. S. 75 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Miller, 132 U.S. 75 (1889)

Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Miller

No. 36

Argued October 24-25, 1889

Decided November 11, 1889

132 U.S. 75


Neither the charter of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, contained in an Act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania passed April 13, 1846, Laws of 1846, No. 252, p. 312, nor the acts supplementary thereto, nor the Act of that legislature passed May 16, 1857, Laws of 1807, No. 579, p. 519, constituted such a contract between the state and the company as exempted the latter from the operation of Section 8 of Article XVI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania of 1573, requiring that corporations invested with the privilege of taking private property for public use should make compensation for property injured or destroyed by the construction or enlargement of their works, highways or improvements; nor did such constitutional provision, as applied to the company, in respect to cases afterwards arising, impair the obligation of any contract between it and the state.

The company took its original charter subject to the general law of the state, and to such changes as might be made in such general law, and subject to future constitutional provisions and future general legislation, since there was no prior contract with it exempting it from liability to such future general legislation in respect of the subject matter involved.

Page 132 U. S. 76

Exemption from future general legislation, either by a constitutional provision or by an act of the legislature, cannot be admitted to exist unless it is expressly given or unless it follows by an implication equally clear with express words.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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