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MARCHANT V. PENNSYLVANIA R. CO., 153 U. S. 380 (1894)

U.S. Supreme Court

Marchant v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 153 U.S. 380 (1894)

Marchant v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

No. 221

Argued January 18-19, 1894

Decided May 14, 1894

153 U.S. 380


When a plaintiff below has the benefit of a full and fair trial in the several courts of his own state whose jurisdiction he invokes, and where his rights are measured not by laws made to affect him individually, but by general provisions of law applicable to all in like condition, even if he can he regarded as deprived of his property by an adverse result, the proceedings that so resulted were in "due process of law" as that phrase is used in the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

The leading cases touching the construction of that phrase in the Amendments reviewed.

The fact that a railroad company is held liable for damages suffered by a person by reason of the occupation of a public street in a city in front of his premises by an elevated track furnishes no ground for holding it liable to an owner on the other side of the same street but in a different part of it by reason of the construction of a similar elevated track opposite to him but not on the public street.

The construction of an elevated railroad, under laws of the state, on private land abutting on a public street in a city gives to the owner of land on the opposite side of the street no claim to recover consequential damages for injury inflicted upon him thereby.

Edward D. Marchant brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas, No. 3, for the County of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at September term, 1884, against the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, a corporation of Pennsylvania, for the recovery of the damages occasioned to him in the erection by the defendant company of its elevated road on property belonging to the railroad company and abutting on the south side of Filbert Street, in the City of Philadelphia, in front of plaintiff's property, which was situated on the north side of Filbert Street, a public highway fifty-one feet in width. No portion of the plaintiff's property was actually taken or occupied by the railroad company, nor was Filbert

Page 153 U. S. 381

Street, where it extends in front of the plaintiff's lot, occupied by the structure of the railroad company. But at another portion of Filbert Street not far from plaintiff's lot, the bed of the street was and is occupied by the railroad. The plaintiff alleged in his declaration that, by the erection and maintenance of the elevated railroad and the continuous passage of passenger and freight cars thereon, driven by steam locomotives, he was injured in the possession, use, and enjoyment of his property and that his dwelling and business house on said lot was rendered unfit for habitation and was greatly depreciated in value. The trial resulted in a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $4,980. The cause was taken on error to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, where the judgment was reversed, the majority of the court holding that the plaintiff had no legal cause of action. The plaintiff having died pending the litigation, his administratrix was substituted, and thereupon sued out a writ of error to this Court.

Page 153 U. S. 383

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