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U.S. Supreme Court

Marion & Rye Valley Ry. Co. v. United States, 270 U.S. 280 (1926)

Marion & Rye Valley Railway Company v. United States

No. 315

Argued January 6, 1926

Decided March 1, 1926

270 U.S. 280


1. Where the taking (if any) of a railroad, under the Federal Control Act was purely technical, resulting from the generality of the President's proclamation, etc., and the Director General did not in fact take over its possession or control or deal with it specifically in any way, so that it continued to be operated by the owner company as theretofore, without interference, the company could not maintain an action for "just compensation" under § 3 of the Act, since nothing of value was taken from it, it was subjected to no pecuniary loss by the government, and nominal damages are not recoverable in the Court of Claims. P. 270 U. S. 282.

2. The Federal Control Act, in authorizing the President to agree with any carrier of whose railroad he took possession and control that it should

"receive as just compensation an annual sum . . . for each year, and pro rata for any fractional year of such federal control, not exceeding a sum equivalent as nearly as may be to its average annual railway operating income for the three years ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and seventeen"

(§ 1), did not establish a rule of compensation applicable when there was no agreement, but relegated the carrier in that case to proceedings for the ascertainment of just compensation (§ 3), in which the burden was on the carrier of proving the value of the use taken from it, or the damage suffered by it under rules ordinarily applicable to takings by eminent domain. P. 270 U. S. 283.

3. Although § 3 of the Federal Control Act declares that, in such proceedings, the report of a board of referees appointed by the Interstate Commerce Commission shall be prima facie evidence of the amount of just compensation and the facts stated therein, a report which, by its face and by the findings of the Court of Claims, is shown to have been based upon mere assumptions, without evidence of loss or damage, has no evidential value. P. 270 U. S. 285.

60 Ct.Cls. 230 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Claims rejecting a claim for compensation for the alleged taking of the petitioner's short line railway. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 270 U. S. 281

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