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U.S. Supreme Court

Bienville Water Supply Co. v. Mobile, 175 U.S. 109 (1899)

Bienville Water Supply Company v. Mobile

No. 368

Submitted October 10, 1899

Decided November 6, 1899

175 U.S. 109


The Bienville Water Supply Company was a corporation organized under the laws of Alabama, and was authorized thereby to build water works in Mobile and to use the streets of that city for water purposes. The city and that company were authorized to contract together for the purpose of supplying the city with water. In the contract made between them under this authority, there was no express provision for furnishing the inhabitants of the city with water, and no stipulation by the company that it would do so, though it was clear that the parties contemplated that the company would contract with the inhabitants to supply them with water for domestic purposes. The city was also authorized by the legislature to build or otherwise acquire water works of its own to supply water to itself and its inhabitants for the extinguishment of fires, and for sanitary and domestic purposes, and in its contract with the Bienville Company the city did not agree not to do so. It did agree to pay the company monthly for a certain number of hydrants supplied by it, but there was no averment on the part of the company that the city had repudiated said obligation or refused to make such stipulated payments, or intended to do so. The company filed a bill in equity against the city to enjoin it from making or carrying out any other contract for supplying water to its inhabitants, or for constructing a system of water works for that purpose during the continuance of said contracts and from building or acquiring a system of water works to bring water into the city during such continuance. To this bill the city demurred. The bill was dismissed. Appeal being taken to this Court, a motion was made to dismiss it, joined with a motion to affirm. Held that as there were no facts averred showing that the city had violated, was violating, or intended to violate its contracts with the Bienville Company, and as there was no legislation to that end, the bill was properly dismissed in the court below, and as there was color for the motion in this Court to dismiss, the motion to affirm would be sustained.

Motion to dismiss or affirm.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 175 U. S. 110

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