Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/100

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Latest Important Cases for Nuisance — Rights of Tenant's Servant. Kas. Where a nuisance dangerous to life is created by the owner on his premises, or through his gross negligence is suffered to remain there, it is held in Bailey v. Kelly (Kas.) 39 L. R. A. (N. S.) 378, that he cannot, by leasing the property to another, avoid his own liability to any person who is rightfully upon the premises, and who, without any fault, is injured by reason of such nuisance. This liability is also held to extend to a ser vant of the tenant, notwithstanding the tenant, by reason of his own fault or neglect or knowl edge of the danger, could not have maintained an action against the owner for any injury suffered by himself. Monopolies. Alleged General Combination of Coal-Carrying Railways — No Hard Coal Trust — Specific Contracts Illegal — A bnormal and Un usual Methods of Trade — Sherman Act. U. S. The suit of the United States against the Philadelphia & Reading, the Lehigh Valley, and other anthracite coal-carrying railways for an alleged general combination in violation of the Sherman anti-trust law was lost, the United States Supreme Court holding, in an opinion filed by Mr. Justice Lurton on December 16, that the evidence introduced by the Govern ment did not prove the contention that a general combination existed. The charges were dismissed on the ground that the Government had no right to make the smaller groups, within the alleged general combination, defend their action in a suit which charged, first of all, a general com bination. "The case is barren of documentary evidence of solidarity," said the Court, adding that if there existed a general combination its existence must be deduced from specific acts. The Court found, however, that "certain con tracts made with producers covering between 20 and 25 per cent of the total annual supply of coal, known as the 65 per cent contracts, by which such independent producers bound them selves to deliver the output of their mines, or any other mine which they might acquire, to the railroad companies for 65 per cent of the average market price at tidewater, were also void, because in violation of the anti-trust act as abnormal and illegal restraints upon inter state commerce." Of these contracts the Court said: "It is not essential that these contracts, considered singly, be unlawful as in restraint of trade. So considered, they may be wholly inno cent. Even acts absolutely lawful may be steps in a criminal plot. But a series of such contracts,


if the result of a concerted plan or plot between the defendants to thereby secure control of the sale of the independent coal in the markets of other states, and thereby suppress competition in the price as between their own output and that of the independent operators, would come plainly within the terms of the statute and as parts of the scheme or plot would be unlawful." The Government according won on this poirit. The Court also found that "the principal de fendants did combine, for the purpose of shutting out from the anthracite coal fields a projected independent line of railroad, the New York, Wyoming & Western Railroad, and to accom plish that purpose it is found that the stock of the Temple Iron Company and of the Simp son & Watkins collieries, was acquired for the purpose of and with the intent, not of normally and lawfully developing trade, but of restraining interstate commerce and competition in trans portation, which would have presumably come about through the construction and operation of the proposed competing line of railroad be tween the mines and tidewater." The Court reiterated the doctrine of the Standard Oil case, that an act of Congress does not "forbid or restrain the power to make nor mal and usual contracts to further trade by resorting to all normal methods, whether by agreement or otherwise, to accomplish such purpose." Nevertheless, it held that the acts which it found in this case to be illegal, the Temple Iron and 65 per cent contracts, were not within this class, but on the contrary were abnormal in their character and directly added to and were intended to illegally restrain trade and commerce within the statute. Contract Limiting Field of Business not Void under Anti-Monopoly Statute — Restraint of Trade. Miss. A contract by a telephone company doing only long-distance business, with a local com pany doing no long-distance business, by which the former undertakes to furnish apparatus to the latter, and requires it not to extend its lines so as to transact long-distance business or make long-distance connections with other companies without the consent of the contracting party, is held in Cumberland Teleph. & Teleg. Co. v. State ex rel. Hudson (Miss.) 39 L.R.A. (N. S.) 277, not to violate a statute making unlawful any combination or contract in restraint of trace, or which shall monopolize or attempt to monopo lize the production, management, or control of any kind of business. See Unfair Competition.