Chicago, Burlington &c. Railroad v. Chicago – Case Brief Summary (U.S. Supreme Court)

Chicago, Burlington &c. Railroad v. Chicago - Case Brief Summary (U.S. Supreme Court)

In Chicago, Burlington &c. R.R. v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226, 251 (1897), it was held that when the city opened a new street across the railroad it was not bound to take and pay for the fee in the land, but only to make compensation to the extent that the value of the company's right to use the land for railroad purposes was diminished by opening the street across it; and that the company was not entitled to have its compensation increased because of the fact that in order to safeguard the crossing it would thereafter be obliged to construct gates, and a tower for operating them, plank the crossing, fill in between the rails, and incur certain annual expenses for depreciation, maintenance, employment of gatemen, etc.

In Chicago, Burlington &c. Railroad v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226 (1897), the right under the Constitution of the United States was claimed by plaintiff in error after verdict and in a motion to set aside the verdict and to grant a new trial.

It is true that in that case, being a proceeding to condemn land under the eminent domain act of the State of Illinois, no provision was made for an answer, but this accounts for some but not all of the language of the decision.

Mr. Justice Harlan, speaking for the court, said:

"It is not, therefore, important that the defendant neither filed or offered to file an answer specially setting up or claiming a right under the Constitution of the United States. It is sufficient if it appears from the record that said right was specially set up or claimed in the state court in such manner as to bring it to the attention of that court." But he said further: "But this is not all. In the assignment of errors filed by the defendant in the Supreme Court of Illinois these claims of rights under the Constitution of the United States were distinctly reasserted."