HOOKER V. LOS ANGELES, 188 U. S. 314 (1903)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hooker v. Los Angeles, 188 U.S. 314 (1903)

Hooker v. Los Angeles

No. 149

Argued January 23, 1903

Decided February 23, 1903

188 U.S. 314


Where the controversy in the state court does not involve the construction of the Treaty of 1848 with Mexico, but only the validity of the title of certain Mexican and Spanish grants made prior to the treaty, no federal question is involved.

The Fourteenth Amendment does not control the power of a state to determine the form of procedure by which legal rights may be ascertained, if the method adopted gives reasonable notice and affords a fair opportunity to be heard.

Where the validity, on account of repugnancy to the federal Constitution, of statutes of California as to the paramount right of the City of Los Angeles to the surface and subterranean waters of the Los Angeles River is not drawn in question in the trial or in the supreme court of the state, the decisions of the state courts will not be reviewed in this Court.

This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of California to review a judgment of that court affirming the judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles, California, in favor of the City of Los Angeles, and against Hooker and Pomeroy. The city brought suit against Hooker and Pomeroy, to condemn all their "estate, right, title, and interest" in and to certain tracts of land, described in the complaint, for the purpose of enabling the city "to construct and maintain thereon the headworks' of its projected system for supplying water to its inhabitants for private and municipal purposes." All questions except the amount of compensation to be awarded were by stipulation tried by the court. The jury returned a verdict awarding $23,000 as the value

"of an estate in fee simple in the lands described in the complaint, including all their elements of value, subject to the paramount right of the City of Los Angeles to take from the Los Angeles River, from time to time, all the water that may be needed at such time for the use of the inhabitants of said city, and for all municipal and public uses and purposes therein,"

and $2,000 as damages to the remaining

Page 188 U. S. 315

portion of the tract of which that land formed a part. Judgment was rendered thereon for the amount so found, and costs. The case was carried to the supreme court, and the judgment affirmed. 124 Cal. 597.

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