Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

district than they could possibly save in freight rates in a hundred years.

Mr. PEAVEY. As a lawyer, let me ask you how does this municipal corporation find it possible to use municipal funds for such purposes, and how do they operate, by what method ?

Mr. JARMAN. They operate by a legal staff-not in the State of Illinois but in Chicago and they operate by a legal staff hired in every county in the Illinois River Valley. There are seven lawyers retained by the sanitary district in the Peoria district, two lawyers retained in the next county, and two lawyers retained in Cass County, near Beardstown. Let us be frank. We are simply in the hands of the sanitary district, and we can not get out of their hands, and they know it.

Mr. BARRETT. Is there not a provision in the law that attorney's fees shall be assessed in the cost? Mr. JARMAN. Yes.

Mr. BARRETT. And that has been sustained by the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. So the

So the farmer's attorney is paid if he has a legitimate case. Mr. JARMAN. If he has a case; yes.

Mr. BARRETT. You would not expect him to be paid if he did not have a case.

Mr. JARMAN. I would not say if he has a case. I would say if he gets a verdict. The situation is that all legitimate claims are not recognized and we can not get them paid. The CHAIRMAN. What was your question, Mr. Barrett? Mr. BARRETT. He has answered it; but I will repeat it. The sanitary district is the only one of its kind that I know of which propides that upon a claim for damage by reason of overflow, made by anybody in the Illinois Valley, there shall be assessed, in addition to the damages, as part of the costs incidental to the trial, attorney's fees for the plaintiff, and that has been sustained by our supreme court. The CHAIRMAN. Attorney's fees to be fixed by the court. Mr. BARRETT. Assessed by the court? The CHAIRMAN. Take one of your four trials. What amount was allowed in a trial lasting six weeks; what amount was allowed as an attorney's fee, by the court ?

Mr. JARMAN. Pardon me; but we did not get any verdict. (Laughter.] Mr. HULL. Was that in your own county? Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir. Mr. HULL. And you did not get a verdict? Mr. JARMAN. No. Mr. Hull. Then what kick have you coming? Mr. JARMAN. I am not through answering that question. Mr. VELDE. May I interject a statement? There are limitations upon that attorney fee provision in the law; that is, the law provides that if the claimant makes a demand within a given length of time before the suit is brought and if he does not recover a greater amount, or the same amount that he demands of the sanitary district, then he gets no attorney's fees; if his recovery is less than he has demanded of the sanitary district, or less than they have offered him, then he gets no attorney's fee.

Mr. JARMAN. I want to answer a question.

Mr. LYON. Before you do that I would like to ask one question. Does the sanitary district plead the statute of limitations? Give us the law on that.

The CHAIRMAN. What do you have as to that statute; do you have three years?

Mr. JARMAN. Five years. As I said awhile ago, the people along the Illinois River; the people in that valley, did not realize what this meant at first. First, about the attorney's fees; the gentleman seems to think that attorney fees would correct the whole thing. I said to you awhile ago that we did not recover a verdict in the suits that I referred to. I will answer that further when I get through answering these other questions. I am simply saying now we did not recover a verdict, because under the decision of the supreme court, as the case had been decided, after our suit was brought the statute of limitations of five years as against permanent damages applied to this, and therefore under instructions of the court we did not get any verdict.

Mr. Lyon. The time beginning and running from the time of the creation of the sanitary district in 1890? Mr. JARMAN. Yes. I will answer that now.

In the Jones case, what is known as the Jones case, the supreme court decided, by a divided court of four to three, that the statute of limitations did not apply, that under this statute there was the right of the sanitary district to construct this right of way, and also to use this water. In any event the supreme court by a divided court, four to three, decided the statute of limitations did not apply to that. Three of the members of the supreme court held that the statute of limitations as to permanent damages did apply. In subsequent proceedings the supreme court finally got to the point that the statute of limitations dið apply.

The CHAIRMAN. The three became four?
Mr. JARMAN. No; in the last case they stood six to one.
Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question?

Mr. Velde did not exactly state the provisions of the statute of limitations, he did not state them quite correctly.

Mr. JARMAX. Yes. As I understand, if you will file a claim, say long before suit is brought, and state in that claim the amount you want to recover, and you get into suit and do recover that amount, that then you are entitled to an attorney fee.

Mr. BARRETT. No; that is not the law, is it, Mr. Velde!
Mr. VELDE. No.

Mr. ADCOCK. If you get any verdict you are entitled to an attorney's fee. The statute provides that they shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees as part of the costs.

The CHAIRMAN. I would say with reference to that that, generally speaking, throughout the State, where there is an offer of settlement-and that is substantially what Mr. Velde said-if the party to whom the offer is made does not recover more than the amount offered, he does not only not recover the additional allowance which this would be but he does not recover any costs at all, but the costs go against him.

Mr. BARRETT. That is not the provision of our law.
The CHAIRMAN. But is not that the provision of your general law?

Mr. BARRETT. No. You can not recover attorney's fees in our State, except by a special provision of the statute.

The CHAIRMAN. What I was saying applied to courts generally, that from the time an offer is made the costs go against the man to whom the offer is made unless he recovers more than the amount of the offer.

Mr. BARRETT. That might be where you do not pursue a claim for unliquidated damages, but in a case of this sort it is impossible.

I want to make another statement: We have had a couple of cases down there; and in one case the recovery was $1,000, and the allowance for attorney's fees was $7,500. The supreme court said it was unreasonable. And another case where the allowance was $5,000, and the supreme court again said it was unreasonable. All these cases have to be tried away from the Sanitary District of Chicago; they are tried in your courts and with your jurors and not with ours.

Nr. JARMAN. There are 300 cases pending in the city of Chicago that have gone there from down State. What are you talking about? Let me answer one question at a time now.

Mr. MORGAN. Mr. Chairman, I am in the same position in regard to these proceedings that I was yesterday in regard to the proceedings then.

The CHAIRMAN. Let us have the witness continue with his statement for a while.

Mr. JARMAN. I want to answer that question. He says that down State a man recovered a thousand dollars and $7,500 was allowed as attorney's fees. That was a case brought by Congressman Graff against the district. The judgment was $750. Congressman Graff owned 2,000 acres of overflowed land. He brought suit at Peoria. He had four attorneys in the suit representing him. The sanitary district had about twice that many attorneys. That case was tried for six weeks, and the jury came in and rendered a verdict of $750. Mr. HULL. On 2,000 acres. Mr. JARMAN. That is a fact; you need not smile about it. Mr. Hull. Well, he was my Congressman. Mr. JARMAN. Was it not a fact? Mr. HULL. I don't know. Mr. JARMAN. They know it. The circuit court judge offered to give him a new trial, but he said, “ No, I can not afford to have a new trial to test this thing with this fellow.” And he refused to have a new trial. The court did allow him $750, and it was taken to the court of appeals and set aside; and they compromised it when it came back. But the circuit court ordered an investigation as to whether or not that jury was bribed, and that investigation took place before a grand jury under, the circuit court. They did not succeed in getting any proof, but it was thought sufficiently important for that circuit judge to instruct that grand jury as to the inFestigation of bribery of that jury. Now, you have got your case. Mr. BARRETT. They were tried by your jurors. Mr. JARMAN. Our jurors can be bribed as well as yours.

Mr. Boyce, This is all very interesting, but is it not aside from the questions of merit in this case?

Mr. Jarman. I am just answering questions. Mr. BOYCE. I know, and they are widening in scope, not material to the question before the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. It is only material to this extent: The claim is here that the Illinois landowners are damaged by these floods; and the answer of the proponents is, “ Yes, but you are paid;" and the witness says, “No, we are not paid; we find when we prosecute our lawsuits that the proceedings are so prolonged and so technical that we can not get any relief, and it costs more than it comes to. So in fact we do not get any relief.” That is the only respect in which it has any bearing on the case.

Mr. MANSFIELD. Is not this material as to the Rainey case, which provides for a board to adjust these matters?

Mr. PEAVEY. I was the one that started these fireworks by my question, and to my mind it seems that there is, further, a still bigger point to be brought out, and that is this: Thạt the evidence given by those who are supporting Mr. Hull's bill, one of their principal claims for consideration, is that we should take into consideration the serious condition in the city of Chicago, the situation that confronts those poor people as to sanitation and care of their sewage. Now, as the reverse of that proposition we have the proposition of their dumping their sewage on some other innocent poor people, and they show no consideration for those people in Illinois when they are dumping their sewage. Now, how can they come and ask for consideration for their Chicago residents, when they show no consideration for the rights of these other people ?

The CHAIRMAN. It is a development of your point, that while technically they have relief in the courts, as a matter of fact in practice they find that they do not get reliéf.

Mr. VELDE. May I be permitted when I get home to send you on a copy of the provision of the law relative to attorney fees, that it may go in the record ?

The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. JARMAN. The gentleman's statement reminds me of a little story. Some time ago, about two years ago, I think it was last summer or two summers ago, a client of mine living on the Illinois River came into my office. He had been to Chicago with a load of livestock, and he said that after he got through his business he wandered out into the parks of Chicago, a very beautiful place, and he said “In my wanderings I came to a sign 'Keep off the grass, and in my musings I thought, what a situation; when I come up here they tell me to keep off the grass with my clean-shod feet, but down at home they are dumping their sewage in my front yard." Now, that expresses the situation.

Mr. Hull. If you will excuse me a moment, I want to answer him while it is fresh in my mind. Mr. Peavey brought out a point that I want to answer. The State of Illinois in 1899 passed a law turning the sewage down this river, and the State of Illinois passed a law also providing for 8,900 cubic feet per second as the flow of water. What I want to bring out is the fact that the State of Illinois is more responsible for this sewage and the water coming down than the sanitary district, because the State passed the law.

Mr. JARMAN. Is that so? Who asked them to pass the law?
Mr. HULL. That is not the question.
Mr. JARMAN. The sanitary district.
Mr. HULL. The sanitary district was not formed at that time,

was it?

Mr. JARMAN. The law provided for the formation of the Sanitary District of Chicago, and it was formed for the purpose of giving them the right to take care of this sewage.

Mr. HULL. Then why is not the State to blame for this? Mr. JARMAN. To blame for what? Mr. HULL. Having the sewage dumped on them. Mr. JARMAN. Well, they gave them permission to do it. Mr. Hull. They passed a law, did they not? Mr. JArman. Yes; you are interrupting the trend of my remarks. Mr. Hull. I am sorry. Mr. JARMAN. Here is the act of the legislature. This is the act of the legislature of 1899, under which the Sanitary District of Chicago was organized. Section 21 provides : Any channel or outlet under the provisions of this act, which shall cause any discharge of sewage into or through any river or stream of water beyond or without the limits of the district constructing the same, shall be kept and maintained in such size and in such condition that the water thereof shall be neither offensive nor injurious to the health of any of the people in this State; and before any sewage shall be discharged into such channel or outlet all garbage, dead animals, and parts thereof, and other solids, shall be taken therefrom.

That is what the State of Illinois says. Has the sanitary district complied with that?

Mr. HULL. I don't think they have. Mr. JARMAN. Well, they have been violating the law all the time. You talk about the State being to blameMr. Hull (interposing.) But the State is to blame for starting it.

Mr. JARMAN. But you are coming here appealing to Congress to do this thing above the State. This committee has no authority, of course, except from the standpoint of navigation. You are asking that the State shall give, in addition to what they have, the 10,000 cubic feet.

Mr. Hull. No; I am not. I am asking that they carry out the law by asking that they do not go beyond that 10.000 cubic feet.

Mr. MORGAN. As I understand you, repeating somewhat, you favor a transportation waterway and you favor the city of Chicago, or rather, claim that the city of Chicago shall provide for the caring of its sewage disposal at the earliest possible date? Is that right?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes. Mr. Morgan. In brief, that is your position? Mr. JARMAN. Yes; and as they provide for that sewage this water shall be taken out of the Illinois River. Now, what objection can anybody have to that, what objection can there be?

Mr. MORGAN. That is merely getting your position. If I understand it, it is based upon those two points, that you favor a transportation waterway, and the city of Chicago at the earliest possible date caring for its sewage disposal?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, and the protection of this land.
Mr. MORGAN. Well, of course, that is implied.

Mr. JARMAN. Our information is that these purifications can be taken care of in five or six years or more. We won't say that; we won't claim it can be done in five or six years.

Mr. MORGAN. In other words, you consider that a reasonable time should be given for the construction of the sewage-disposal plants?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes; under the direction of the War Department.

« AnteriorContinuar »