« AnteriorContinuar »
der the act of 1887; and after a full consid- from the railroad to the land company and eration it decided in favor of the land com- from the latter to its grantees. So she acted pany,-a decision which, in effect, deter-with knowledge both of the law and the mined that the company had acted with all facts, and is not in a position now to comnecessary promptness, and was entitled to plain of the action of the Land Departments the benefit of the statute. Of course, the We are not justified in setting aside the deprivilege granted by the statute would be of cision of the Land Department, and holding little or no avail if it had to be exercised on that it erred in awarding to the land comthe very day. Some time must be allowed pany the privilege which the statute, withfor acquiring knowledge of the situation and out any express limitation of time, gives to determining the course of action. The plain- it. tiff was as fully charged with knowledge of We see no error in the record, and the this act of 1887 as the land company. Up- judgment of the Supreme Court of Washing. on the records of the county were the deeds' ton is affirmed.
(196 U. S. 447) EDMUND J. SMILEY, Piff. in Err., use, or consumption in this state. Fifth.V.
To make or enter into, or execute or carry STATE OF KANSAS.
out, any contract, obligation, or agreement
of any kind or description by which they Error to state court-questions of fact, shall bind or have to bind themselves not to
construction of state statute-constitu- sell, manufacture, dispose of, or transport tional law—freedom to contract-validity any article or commodity, or article of of Kansus anti-trust law.
trade, use, merchandise, commerce, or con
sumption below a common standard figure, 1. The verdict of the jury settles all questions
of fact on a writ of error from the United or by which they shall agree in any manner States Supreme Court to a state court.
to keep the price of such article, commodity, 2. The scope and meaning of a state statute or transportation at a fixed or graded figure,
as determined by the highest court of the or by which they shall in any manner estabstate conclude the Federal Supreme Court in lish or settle the price of any article or comdetermining, on writ of error to the state modity or transportation between them or court, whether or not such statute violates themselves and others, to preclude a free
the Federal Constitution.* 3. The freedom to contract protected by U. s. and unrestricted competition among them
Const. 14th Amend. is not unduly abridged selves or others in transportation, sale, or vy so much of the Kansas anti-trust law of manufacture of any such article or commodMarch 8, 1897, as is construed by the state ity, or by which they shall agree to pool, courts to forbid inducing four competitive combine, or unite any interest they may wheat buyers in a single town to enter into an agreement under which, if either should have in connection with the manufacture, purchase more than one fourth of the wheat sale, or transportation of any such article coming into the market, he should pay the or commodity, that its price may in any others 3 cents a bushel for the excess. manner be affected. And any such combina[No. 13.]
tions are hereby declared to be against pub
lic policy, unlawful, and void.” Laws of Argued October 20, 21, 1904. Decided Feb. Kansas, 1897, p. 481. [2 Kan. Gen. Stat. ruary 20, 1905.
1897, p. 791.] 1
Subsequent sections prescribe penalties, N ERROR to the Supreme Court of the
State of Kansas to review a judgment and provide procedure for enforcing the act. which affirmed a conviction in the District On September 27, 1901, the county attorney Court of Rush County, in that State, of a filed in the district court of Rush county, violation of the anti-trust law. Affirmed.
Kansas, an information charging that the See same case below, 65 Kan. 240, 69 Pac. defendant did, on November 20, 1900, "then 199.
and there unlawfully enter into an agreeStatement by Mr. Justice Brewer:
ment, contract and combination, in the On March 8, 1897, the legislature of Kan-county of Rush and the state of Kansas, sas passed an act, the 1st section of which with divers and sundry persons, partner. is as follows:
ships, companies, and corporations of grain “Sec. 1. A trust is a combination of capi- dealers and grain buyers in the town of tal, skill, or acts, by two or more persons, said, to wit, Humburg & Ahrens, the La
Bison, in the said county and state aforefirms, corporations, or associations of per-Crosse Lumber & Grain Company, the Bison sons, or either two or more of them, for Crosse Lumber & Grain Company, the Bison either, any, or all of the following purposes: Milling Company, and George Weicken, who
, First.-To create or carry out restrictions were at the said time and place competitive in trade or commerce or aids to commerce, grain dealers and buyers, to pool and fix or to carry out restrictions in the full and the price the said grain dealers and buyers free pursuit of any business authorized or
should pay for grain at the said place, and
, permitted by the laws of this state. Second. to divide between them the net earnings -To increase or reduce the price of mer
of the said grain dealers and buyers, and to chandise, produce, or commodities, or to prevent competition in the purchase and sale control the cost or rates of insurance. Third. of grain among the said dealers and buy-- To prevent competition in the manufac
A trial was had, the defendant was ture, making, transportation, sale, or pur
found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine chase of merchandise, produce, or commodi of $500, and to imprisonment in the county ties, or to prevent competition in aids to jail for three months. On appeal to the su
Fourth.—To fix any standard preme court of the state the judgment was or figure, whereby its price to the public affirmed. 65 Kan. 240, 69 Pac. 199. Whereshall be, in any manner, controlled or estab- upon this writ of error was sued out. lished, any article or commodity of merchandise, produce, or commerce intended for sale,
Mr. H. Whiteside for plaintiff in error. *Ed, Note. For cases in point, see vol. 13,
Messrs. D. R. Hite, H. J. Bone, and 0. Cent. Dig. Courts, 957.
C. Coleman for defendant in error. 25 S. C.-19.
Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opin
It is well settled that in cases of this ion of the court:
kind the interpretation placed by the highThe verdict of the jury settles all ques- est court of the state upon its statutes is tions of fact.
conclusive here. We accept the construcIn Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Haber, 169 tion given to a state statute by that court. U. S. 613, 639, 42 L. ed. 878, 887, 18 Sup. St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Paul, 173 U. Ct. Rep. 488, it is said: “Much was said at S. 404, 408, 43 L. ed. 746, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. the bar about the finding of the jury being 419; Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. McCann, against the evidence. We cannot enter upon 174 U. S. 580, 586, 43 L. ed. 1093, 1096, 19 such an inquiry. The facts must be taken as Sup. Ct. Rep. 755; Tullis v. Lake Erie & found by the jury, and this court can only W. R. Co. 175 U. S. 348, 44 L. ed. 192, 20
, consider whether the statute, as interpreted Sup. Ct. Rep. 136. Nor is it material that to the jury, was in violation of the Federal the state court ascertains the meaning and Constitution. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. scope of the statute as well as its validity Chicago, 166 U. S. 226, 242, 246, 41 L. ed. by pursuing a different rule of construc979, 986, 988, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 581." tion from that we recognize. It may be
We pass, therefore, to a consideration of that the views of the Kansas court in rethe questions of law. It is contended that spect to this matter are not in harmony the act of 1897 is in conflict with the 14th with those expressed by us in United States Amendment to the Federal Constitution, in v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214, 23 L. ed. 563; Tradethat it unduly infringes the freedom of con- Mark Cases (United States v. Steffens), 100 tract; that it is too broad, and not sufficient. U. S. 82, 25 L. ed. 550; United States v. ly definite, and that while some things are Harris, 106 U. S. 629, 27 L. ed. 219, 1 Sup. denounced which may be within the police Ct. Rep. 601; and Baldwin v. Franks, 120 power of the state, yet its language reaches U. S. 678, 30 L. ed. 766, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 656, to and includes matters clearly beyond the 763. We shall not stop to consider that limits of that power, and that there is no question nor the reconciliation of the supsuch separation or distinction between those posed conflicting views suggested by the within and those beyond as will enable the chief justice of the state. The power to decourts to declare one part valid and another termine the meaning of a statute carries part void. We quote from the brief of coun- with it the power to prescribe its extent sel for plaintiff in error:
and limitations, as well as the method by “Section one goes entirely too far, and is which they shall be determined. an unwarranted attempt upon the part of The transaction, as shown by the testithe legislature to limit the rights of the in- mony, was practically this: There were four dividual in the matter of contracting and dealers in wheat in Bison, a small village dealing with his fellow men. The liberty to in Rush county, situated on the Missouri contract is as much protected by the consti- Pacific Railroad. Three of them owned eletutional provisions above referred to as is vators and one a mill. They were competithe liberty of person, and any attempt to tors in the purchase of grain. The defendabridge or limit that right will be held void, ant was secretary of the State Grain Dealunless such abridgment or limitation is necers' Association. He was not himself in the essary to preserve the peace and order of grain business, nor interested in that of the community, or the life, liberty, and either of the four dealers. He came to Bison morals of individuals, in which cases it is for the purpose of investigating some claims held to be the proper exercise of the police of Bison firms against the Missouri Pacific power of the state.”
Railroad. While there he induced these It may be conceded, for the purposes of dealers to enter into an arrangement by this case, that the language of the 1st sec- which, if one bought and shipped more grain tion is broad enough to include acts beyond than the others, that excess purchaser would the police power of the state, and the pun- pay them a certain per cent. As security ishment of which would unduly infringe up- for such agreement the parties deposited on the freedom of contract. At any rate their checks for $100 each with the defendwe shall not attempt to enter into any con- ant. They made to him weekly reports of sideration of that question. The supreme the amount.of grain purchased. If one had court of the state held that the acts charged purchased more than his share, he paid the and proved against the defendant were clear- defendant three cents a bushel for the exly within the terms of the statute, as well cess, and that amount was then divided as within the police power of the state; and among the other dealers. Upon these facts, that the statute could be sustained as a pro- under appropriate instructions, the jury hibition of those acts irrespective of the found the defendant guilty. question whether its language was broad That the transaction was within the letenough to include acts and conduct which ter of the statute, in that it tended to prethe legislature could not rightfully restrain.'vent competition in the purchase of mer.
chandise, is not open to doubt. It is also that he himself has been wrongfully includ
, . within the spirit of the statute. It im- ed in the terms of the law, he can have no
, posed an unreasonable restraint upon com- just ground of complaint. This is fundapetition. It is stated by counsel for plain- mental and decisively settled. Kansas City tiff in error in his brief that not far from v. Union P. R. Co. 59 Kan. 427, 52 L. R. A. Bison were a number of other small towns, 321, 53 Pac. 468, affirmed under the title
a at which the principal commercial business Clark v. Kansas City, 176 U. S. 114, 44 L. was the buying and selling of wheat. But ed. 392, 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 284; Albany Coun
. . . . where there were four buyers, as in Bison, ty v. Stanley, 105 U. S. 305, 311, 26 L. ed. apparently competing, farmers nearer to 1044, 1049; Pittsburgh, C. C. & St. L. R. Co.
& Bison than to other villages, if not farmers v. Montgomery, 152 Ind. 1, 71 Am. St. Rep. more remote, would naturally seek that 301, 49 N. E. 582.” place in order to benefit by the competition. We see no error in the judgment of the They would find an apparent competition, Supreme Court of Kansas, and it is afand yet each buyer was restrained by this firmed. contract from seeking to purchase more than his fourth of the wheat coming to the mar
(197 U. S. 40) ket, or, if he purchased more, must neces
CHARLES H. UTERMEHLE, Plff. in Err., sarily, in order to make his profit, buy his wheat, pay at least 3 cents a bushel less than
MAMIE E. NORMENT et al. what he might otherwise pay, that being the penalty for an excess purchase. It was not Estoppel-by receiving benefits ignorance an open agreement in respect to price, nor
of law. one that enabled sellers to know in advance
1. exactly what they could get for their wheat.
A party taking the benefit of a provision in
his favor under a will is estopped to assert Undoubtedly there is a certain freedom of contract which cannot be destroyed by 2. Ignorance of the rule of law that a party
the invalidity of that instrument.* legislative enactment. In pursuance of that taking the benefit of a provision in his favor freedom parties may seek to further their under a will is estopped to assert the inbusiness interests, and it may not be al
validity of that instrument, although coupled ways easy to draw the line between those with ignorance of any evidence on which a
contest could be based, will not prevent the contracts which are beyond the reach of the
application of such rule, in the absence of police power and those which are subject to
fraud, imposition, misrepresentation, prohibition or restraint. But a secret ar- where the original situation cannot be rerangement, by which, under penalties, an stored, and there has been extreme negligence apparently existing competition among all in attempting to discover the facts. the dealers in a community in one of the necessaries of life is substantially destroyed,
[No. 63.] without any merging of interests through Argued November 28, 29, 1904. Decided partnership or incorporation, is one to which
February 20, 1905. the police power extends. That is as far as we need to go in sustaining the judgment in I NDERROR to the Court of Appeals of the this case That
District of court of the state went. If other transacIf other transac-ment which affirmed a decree of the Supreme
a tions are presented, in which there is an ab- Court of that District, sitting as a court of solute freedom of contract beyond the power probate, admitting a will to probate as a of the legislature to restrain, which come will of real estate which had previously within the letter of any of the clauses of been admitted to probate as a will of perthis statute, the courts will undoubtedly ex-sonalty, with the concurrence and consent clude them from its operation. As said by of all the parties. Affirmed. the supreme court of the state concerning See same case below, 22 App. D. C. 31. the defendant's criticism of the breadth of this statute (p. 247, Pac. p. 201):
Statement by Mr. Justice Peckham: “He cannot be heard to object to the stat- The plaintiff in error seeks by this writ ute merely because it operates oppressively to review the judgment of the court of apupon others. The hurt must be to himself. peals of the District of Columbia (22 App. The case, under appellant's contention as to D. C. 31), affirming the decree of the suthis point, is not a case of favoritism in the preme court of that District, sitting as a law. It is not a case of exclusion of classes court of probate, admitting the will of who ought to have been included, the leav. George W. Utermehle to probate as a will ing out of which constitutes a denial of the of real estate, by virtue of the jurisdictio equal protection of the law, but it is the conferred upon the court by the act of Conopposite of that. It is a case of the inclu- gress of June 8, 1898. 30 Stat. at L. 434, sion of those who ought to have been ex- chap. 394.
chap. 394. The same will had been admitcluded. Hence, unless appellant can show
*Ed. Note.--For cases in point, see vol. 49, Cent. Dig. Wills, $$ 1717-1721, 2057.
ted to probate in the District in the year estate, wherever situated, and all the real 1889 as a will of personalty (which was all estate of which he might die seized and the jurisdiction at that time possessed by the possessed, other than that already devised, court), with the concurrence and consent of to his two daughters, Mamie Norment and the plaintiff in error. The facts upon which Rosa Taylor, as tenants in common, share the case hinges are in substance the fol- and share alike; he appointed his wife sole lowing:
executrix of his will, and revoked all other George W. Utermehle, the testator, died wills theretofore made by him; he suggested in the city of Washington on the 16th day that, as he had no debts, and his personal of April, 1889, leaving a large amount of estate was to go to his wife, a very moderate real and personal property, the real estate bond should be required of her as execuamounting, as is said, to about a million trix. dollars, and the personalty to between six After the death of his grandfather, the hundred thousand and a million of dollars. plaintiff was present at his late residence He left a will, bearing date December 7, and heard this will read. 1887, which appeared on its face to have Immediately after the reading of the will been duly executed for the conveyance of he left the house, but Mrs. Taylor, one of real estate. The testator left him surviv- his aunts, as he was leaving, asked him to ing his widow, two daughters—Mrs. Taylor come over the next day, which he did. He and Mrs. Norment—and the plaintiff in er-testified on this trial that he arrived at the ror, his grandson, the son of his deceased house and went into the dining room, and son, as his sole heirs at law and next of Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Norment, and his grandkin. The widow was named executrix of mother were there. Mrs. Taylor did the the will, and she propounded the same for talking, and started the conversation by probate April 26, 1889. It was duly ad- stating to the plaintiff in error that the mitted to probate on that day, on the peti- will had virtually cut him off, and that if tion of the widow, as executrix, with the it had not been for her and the Doctor (her written consent of the daughters and the husband) the plaintiff in error would not plaintiff in error. The executrix gave a have been left the property called the Young bond in the sum of $20,000 for the payment Law Building; but that they had had his of all just debts and claims against the de grandfather paint it up and put it in receased, and for the payment of the legacies pair, so that when it came into his posbequeathed by the will, and letters were session it would not be any expense to him issued to her. She duly administered upon to put it in condition at the time. She the estate, paid the funeral expenses and further said that his grandmother was left other charges, and the legacies mentioned all the personal property, which amountin the will, including that to the plaintiff in ed to almost, if not quite as much, as that
She filed no inventory, but made a which they (his aunts) would receive under statement of account on the 14th day of the will, and that when his grandmother May, 1890. The personal property, except died she proposed to make him right,—to such as was otherwise disposed of under the make him equal with them by equalizing will, and in payment of debts and legacies, his share; that his grandmother wanted to she retained for herself, as sole and absolute know what the mortgage on his farm was, owner, in accordance with the terms of the as she understood that there was a mortwill. Of this amount it is said that she gage; that she wanted to pay it off; that thereafter disposed of a large part in chari- she wanted to start him off without any ties. By the will of George W. Utermehle, debts on him. His grandmother was sitting he bequeathed to each of his three nieces, there at the time, but said nothing. He was residing in Germany, the sum of $3,000; he asked what the mortgage was on his farm. devised to his grandson, the plaintiff in He told them $11,500. The only remarks error, the property known as the Young Law made were those between Mrs. Taylor (his Building, in Washington; he also bequeathed aunt) and himself, and the only statement to him the interest due or to become due he made was what the mortgage on the farm on a note for $750, secured on a lot in was. He also testified on the trial below Washington, and also the principal of the that he believed what was then promised same; he bequeathed to his wife, Sarah him, as to what his grandmother would do Utermehle, all the rest of his personal prop- when she made her will; that he had no erty, of every kind, to be taken by her in doubt whatever that she would fulfil her lieu of dower, and to be disposed of by her promise. His grandmother told him at that by deed, will, or otherwise, as she pleased; interview she would give him a check for the he devised to her his then present residence mortgage in a few days, and he then went and the property adjoining, being square home. Subsequently, and on the 26th day 765 in the city of Washington; he then be- of April, 1889, he signed the consent to queathed all the rest and residue of his real' the probate of the will. He did it in re