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CHICAGO v. UNITED STATES

May 15, 1905

CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE AND ST. PAUL RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
UNITED STATES



APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS

Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, Brown, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day

Author: Mckenna

[ 198 U.S. Page 385]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

The appellant, a Wisconsin corporation, filed a petition in the Court of Claims, August 25, 1896, which it amended July 19, 1900, and by which it sought recovery from the United States of the sum of $9,101.08, for compensation for carrying the mails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Republic, Michigan, and thence to Champion, Michigan.

The services were rendered by the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company. Appellant's ownership was derived from that company, as alleged in the petition, as follows:

"Your petitioner further avers that on the 30th day of September, 1890, it became the purchaser, and thereupon it

[ 198 U.S. Page 386]

     became the lawful owner, by assignment and transfer, of all of the capital stock of the said Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company; that on the 1st day of October, 1890, the board of directors of the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company was reorganized by the Election of persons who were either directors or officers of the petitioner, and the offices were filled by the election of persons who were officers of its company, with the solitary exception of the president of the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company; that from the 30th day of September, 1890, until the 26th day of June, 1893, that company operated the railroad as a separate organization and in the name of the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company; that on the 26th day of June, 1893, pursuant to a vote of the stockholders of the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company, the latter company executed a deed to the petitioner, whereby it conveyed to petitioner all its railroads, railways, rights of way, depot grants, tracks, bridges, etc., and also all other property and choses in action whatsoever, both real and personal, of the said Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company, and all its rights, privileges and corporate franchises connected with or relating to such railroad or to the construction, maintenance, use or operation of the same. And that thereafter, to wit, August 28, 1893, the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad Company held its last stockholders' meeting and its last directors' meeting, and since that time it has not exercised any corporate functions or powers, nor has it pretended to do anything of the sort."

The United States demurred to the petition on the grounds that (1) "The claim came to the claimant, if at all, by a pretended assignment which as to the United States was void; (2) the allegations of the amended petition did not state facts sufficient to constitute a claim against the United States." The demurrer was sustained and the petition dismissed, whereupon this appeal was taken.

The demurrer presented the questions of the validity of the assignment and the merits of the claim. We rest our decision

[ 198 U.S. Page 387]

     on the latter. We express no opinion of the validity of the assignment.

The Milwaukee and Northern Railroad ran from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Republic, Michigan, a distance of 255.37 miles. Under the authority given him by law, "to arrange the railway routes on which mail is carried," (section 3997 of the Revised Statutes of the United States), the Postmaster General designated the road from Milwaukee to Republic as Postal Route No. 139,016, and compensation was fixed for carrying the mails thereon. On February 4, 1890, the road was extended to Champion, Michigan, a distance of 8.89 miles. Provision was made for the extension by an order dated February 4, 1890, which directed that service should be extended from Republic to Champion, increasing distance 9.16 miles, less .27 miles, making a net increase of ...


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