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SOUTHWESTERN TEL. & TEL. CO. V. DANAHER, 238 U. S. 482 (1915)

U.S. Supreme Court

Southwestern Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Danaher, 238 U.S. 482 (1915)

Southwestern Telephone & Telegraph Co. v. Danaher

No. 43

Submitted March 17, 1914

Restored to docket April 6, 1914

Reargued April 22, 1914

Decided June 21, 1915

238 U.S. 482


While it is not open in this Court to revise the construction placed on a state statute by the state court, it is open to determine whether the application of the statute as so construed is so arbitrary as to so contravene the fundamental principles of justice as to amount to deprivation of property without due process of law.

The rates of public service corporations, such as telephone companies, are fixed in expectation that they will be paid, and reasonable regulations tending towards prompt payment are necessary as the ability of such corporation to serve the public depends upon the prompt collection of their rates.

Collection of such rates by legal process being practically prohibitive,

Page 238 U. S. 483

regulations requiring payment in advance are not unreasonable, and a telephone company is not subject to penalties for refusing to render service to a subscriber who is delinquent on past rates and refuse to pay in advance in accordance with an established rule uniformly enforced, or because it charges the full price to a subscriber who does not pay in advance, while allowing a stated discount to those who do pay in advance.

To enforce against a telephone company a penalty for refusing to furnish service under such condition amounts to depriving it of its property without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

102 Ark. 547 reversed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of a statute of Arkansas relating to telephone companies, are stated in the opinion.

Page 238 U. S. 485

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