PENNSYLVANIA COAL CO. V. MAHON, 260 U. S. 393 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon, 260 U.S. 393 (1922)

Pennsylvania Coal Company v. Mahon

No. 549

Argued November 14, 1922

Decided December 11, 1922

260 U.S. 393


1. One consideration in deciding whether limitations on private property, to be implied in favor of the police power, are exceeded, is the degree in which the values incident to the property are diminished by the regulation in question, and this is to be determined from the facts of the particular case. P. 260 U. S. 413.

2. The general rule, at least, is that, if regulation goes too far, it will be recognized as a taking for which compensation must be paid. P. 260 U. S. 415.

3. The rights of the public in a street, purchased or laid out by eminent domain, are those that it has paid for. P. 260 U. S. 415.

4. Where the owner of land containing coal deposits had deeded the surface with express reservation of the right to remove all the coal beneath, the grantees assuming the risk and waiving all claim to damages that might arise from such mining, and the property rights thus reserved, and contracts made, were valid under the state law, and a statute, enacted later, forbade mining in such a way as to cause subsidence of any human habitation or public street or building, etc., and thereby made commercially impracticable the removal of very valuable coal deposits still standing unmined, held, that the prohibition exceeded the police power, whether viewed as a protection to private surface owners or to cities having only surface rights, and contravened the rights of the coal owner under the Contract Clause of the Constitution and the Due process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 260 U. S. 413.

274 Pa.St. 489 reversed.

Error to a decree of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, for the defendants in error, in their suit to enjoin the Coal Company from mining under their property in such a way as to remove supports and cause subsidence of the surface and of their house.

Page 260 U. S. 412

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