act of 1933 into conflict with the constitutional provision or render void those of its provisions which impose indebtedness upon the city.
I, therefore, conclude that the act of 1933 was valid and effectual in making the improvement bonds involved in this suit valid and binding obligations and debts of the City of Chester. This extended review of the subject has been made necessary by the fact that the constitutionality and effect of the act of 1933 have never been considered by the appellate courts of Pennsylvania. The subject has, however, received the consideration of the court of common pleas of Northampton county, which in an opinion by President Judge Stewart fully upheld the constitutionality of the act. In re Indebtedness of City of Easton, 25 Northam.Law Rep., Pa., 347. I need only add that it is a settled principle of constitutional law in Pennsylvania that all doubts as to the constitutionality of statutes must be resolved in favor of their validity. The party who wishes to pronounce a law unconstitutional takes upon himself the burden of proving beyond all doubt that it is so. Powell v. Commonwealth, 114 Pa. 265, 7 A. 913, 60 Am.Rep. 350. "Nothing but a clear violation of the Constitution -- a clear usurpation of power prohibited -- will justify the judicial department in pronouncing an act of the legislative department unconstitutional and void." Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. Riblet, 66 Pa. 164, 169, 5 Am.Rep. 360.
My conclusion that the act of 1933 is valid makes it unnecessary to consider the second ground of liability urged by the plaintiff, which is that the city has been negligent in the levying of assessments, the issuance of bonds, and the collection and disbursement of funds to an extent which renders it liable generally for the face amount of the bonds with interest.
Each of the bonds is payable by its terms within ten years from the date of its issue and interest therein is payable semiannually. In the light of the provisions of the act of 1933, it must be held that the city is directly obligated to pay the interest on each of its improvement bonds semiannually when due and the principal thereof within ten years from the date of issue. Its obligation is not restricted to payment out of the proceeds of the paving assessments mentioned in the bonds, but may be enforced out of any other available funds in the city treasury. It follows that, if the city has failed to pay either the semiannual interest when due or the principal of any of the bonds within ten years from their respective dates, the holders are entitled to bring suit against the city and recover judgment against it for the amounts so remaining unpaid.
I think it is otherwise, however, with respect to the principal of bonds issued within ten years and which have, therefore, not yet matured. The bonds contain no clause providing for acceleration of maturity of the principal in case of default by the city in performing its covenants. Therefore, the city is entitled to the full period of ten years in which to make payment, unless, perhaps, it should appear in the case of any particular bond that proceeds of the assessments which were pledged to its payment are or should be available in the city treasury in sufficient amount to to retire it.
Nor do I think that negligence on the part of the city in making or collecting the assessments or administering the proceeds thereof would have the effect of accelerating the maturity of the bonds.Whatever may have been the case prior to the passage of the acts of 1929, 1931, and 1933, those acts have, as we have seen, converted these bonds into general obligations of the city. The holder is no longer required to look only to the proceeds of the assessments for his payment but now has the general funds of the city available for the payment of his debt. Consequently failure of the city to administer the assessment funds prudently and in the manner directed by the ordinances under which the bonds were issued, while perhaps a breach of duty which would support an action of mandamus, is clearly no longer such a material breach as would entitle bondholders to recover as damages the principal amount of their bonds prior to maturity.
It follows that the plaintiff in the present action is entitled to judgment against the city for the principal amount of all the improvement bonds held by it which were issued more than ten years ago and for all interest accrued and unpaid thereon. It is entitled in addition to judgment for the amount of all semiannual installments of interest accrued and unpaid on the improvement bonds held by it which have not matured.
I accordingly find in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant, in an amount to be assessed in accordance with this opinion.
The statements of fact contained in this opinion, together with the parties' requests for findings of fact which I have affirmed, may be considered the special findings of fact contemplated by section 649, Rev.St., 28 U.S.C.A. § 773.
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