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U.S. Supreme Court

Georgia Power Co. v. City of Decatur, 281 U.S. 505 (1930)

Georgia Power Co. v. City of Decatur

No. 363

Argued April 16, 17, 1930

Decided May 19, 1930

281 U.S. 505


1. Upon review of a decree of a state court requiring a street railway company to continue operating for a noncompensatory rate upon the ground that it is bound to operate for that rate by contract with a municipality, this Court must pass upon the company's claim that the contract has expired and that the decree deprives it of its property without due process of law. P. 281 U. S. 508.

2. A street railway company in Georgia which, pursuant to a town ordinance, made a contract with the town prescribing a maximum fare with respect to one of its lines situate partly within the town

Page 281 U. S. 506

limits, afterwards claimed that the only franchise for the operation of the line within the town was an earlier ordinance of the town under which the line had been constructed by the company's predecessor in title, and that the obligation to operate the line and maintain the contract fare ended with the expiration of the predecessor's charter some time after the date of the contract. Held (accepting the state court's construction of the state law and it decision as to the effect of the contract), that the new company's franchise to operate was granted by the state, that all that the town could give was its consent to use the streets, which was given by the contract, and that the franchise of the new company and the contract are still in force. P. 281 U. S. 509.

3. There is nothing in the ordinance or contract here in question to indicate a purpose to terminate the obligation of the carrier in respect of the fare limited while it continues to operate the line as part of its system under its present franchise. P. 281 U. S. 510.

4. The contract will continue to bind the carrier during the period intended by the parties unless earlier altered by them or relaxed by state authority, and losses attributable to the stretch of track in question and the fares fixed by the contract are immaterial while the contract continues. P. 281 U. S. 511.

168 Ga. 705 affirmed.

Certiorari, 280 U.S. 544, to review a decree which affirmed a decree permanently enjoining the present petitioner from ceasing to operate a street railway line within the City of Decatur, Georgia, and from violating a contract fixing rates of fare and transfer privileges.

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