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City of Fort Worth v. McDonald – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In City of Fort Worth v. McDonald, 293 S.W.2d 256 (Tex. Civ. App.--Fort Worth 1956, writ ref'd n.r.e.), the City of Fort Worth enacted an ordinance that defined marble boards as a nuisance per se; made their ownership, operation, or exhibition a misdemeanor; prescribed a fine up to $200 for each day of violation; and provided for summary seizure by any police officer. Id. at 258.

A state statute at the time levied an occupation tax on owners of "skill or pleasure coin-operated machines," which included marble machines, marble table machines, and marble shooting machines.

The court of appeals held that merely because a city has the power by charter and statute to define and prevent a nuisance does not mean a city "may 'by an arbitrary standard, declare that to be a nuisance which is not so in fact.'" Id.

The court concluded a city has no right to supersede a revenue statute by declaration that a licensed business is a nuisance. Id.

However, the court noted no general statute allowed the Fort Worth City Council to "prevent or prohibit" marble boards. Id.