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U.S. Supreme Court

North Shore Boom & Driving Co. v. Nicomen Boom Co., 212 U.S. 406 (1909)

North Shore Boom & Driving Company

v. Nicomen Boom Company

No. 107

Argued January 29, February 1, 1909

Decided February 23, 1909

212 U.S. 406


A state, in the absence of any statute by Congress, has plenary power in regard to navigable streams wholly within its boundaries, and obstructions in such streams, in the absence of statute, constitute no offense against the United States, and whether obstructions are unlawful under state law is not a federal question. Willamette Iron Bridge Co. v. Hatch, 125 U. S. 1.

Where a federal law is applicable requiring consent of the federal government, there is concurrent or joint jurisdiction of the state and national governments over the erection of structures obstructing navigation of a navigable stream wholly within a state. Cummings v. Chicago, 188 U. S. 410; Montgomery v. Portland, 190 U. S. 89.

Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of March 3, 1899, c. 425, 30 Stat. 1151, alters § 7 of the River and Harbor Act of September 19, 1890, c. 907, 26 Stat. 454, and prohibits obstructions in navigable waters of the United States not affirmatively authorized by Congress, and whether the state has assented to such obstructions remains with the state alone, and is not a federal question reviewable by this Court under § 709, Rev.Stat.

Writ of error to review 40 Wash. 315 dismissed.

The Nicomen Boom Company, hereinafter called the plaintiff, commenced an action against the North Shore Boom & Driving Company, hereinafter called the defendant, in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, Pacific County, to enjoin the defendant from building a boom in the North River (a river wholly within the boundary of the State of Washington), within the locality designated in the plaintiff's plat and survey for its boom.

The action was founded upon the allegations that the plaintiff was the first to file its plat, and that it commenced to build its boom under the statutes of the State of Washington, and chanrobles.com-red

Page 212 U. S. 407

that the defendant was threatening to build its boom within the locality marked out and designated by the plaintiff in its plat or survey filed with the Secretary of State, although its boom had not actually been completed the whole distance indicated in such plat or survey.

The defendant denied the various allegations of the plaintiff, and the parties went to trial, which resulted in a judgment for the defendant, dismissing the plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff appealed to the supreme court of the state, where the judgment was reversed and the cause remanded to the superior court with directions to enter judgment enjoining the defendant from building the boom within the location marked on the plat or survey for the plaintiff's boom. See the opinion of the state court, 40 Wash. 315, showing plainly and in full the grounds of the decision.

The defendant has sued out a writ of error from this Court, and brings the judgment here for review. chanrobles.com-red

Page 212 U. S. 410


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