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Hanson Lumber Co., Ltd. v. United States, 261 U.S. 581 (1923)

Hanson Lumber Co., Ltd. v. United States

No. 300

Argued February 28, March 1, 1923

Decided April 9, 1923

261 U.S. 581


1. Authority from Congress to condemn a particular canal for use as part of a specified waterway includes by implication so much land on either side as is essential to that purpose. P. 261 U. S. 584.

2. The Secretary of War, having been authorized to purchase the Hanson Canal for use as part of the intracoastal waterway project (Act of July 25, 1912, c. 253, 37 Stat. 212), could acquire it by condemnation under the general authority given government officers by the Act of August 1, 1888, c. 728, 25 Stat. 357, so to proceed when authorized to procure real estate for the erection of a public building or for other public uses. P. 261 U. S. 585.

3. The Act of April 24, 1888, c.194, 25 Stat. 94, authorizing the Secretary of War to acquire by condemnation land, etc., needed to enable him to maintain, operate or prosecute works for the improvement of rivers and harbors, does not operate to exclude the field to which it relates from the purview of the Act of August 1, 1888, supra. Id.

4. The fact that an act authorizing purchase of specific property limits the price to be paid does not preclude resort to condemnation under a general statutory authority to proceed in that way, subject to the owner's constitutional right to have just compensation judicially ascertained and paid before his title passes and to retain his right to possession until reasonable, certain, and adequate provision has been made for obtaining just compensation. P. 261 U. S. 586.

5. In a proceeding by the United States to condemn a canal with land on each side,


(a) That resolutions of the board of directors of the corporate owner, reciting the necessity for the taking and an agreement with

Page 261 U. S. 582

the United States for a sale at a specified price and authorizing a conveyance, with certain reservations, upon payment of that sum, were not privileged as an attempt to compromise, but admissions, admissible as evidence of the government's right to take, decided by the court, and of the value of the property, decided by the jury. P. 261 U. S. 588.

(b) That instructions that the jury should consider the original cost of the canal, the cost of reproducing it, and the reasons of the owner for contracting to sell it at a certain price, but might find a greater or less amount, were unobjectionable. P. 261 U. S. 589.

(c) That evidence of the original cost, of a much larger reproduction cost, and of the size, suitability for use, and condition of the canal sustained a verdict for the amount of the original cost. Id.

277 F. 894 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a judgment of the district court in a condemnation case.

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