Waterworks Litigation

Waterworks Litigation

The Supreme Court has affirmed a judgment for $13,011.07 obtained by the town of Dover, N. J., against the Richardson & Boynton Co., which was sued for abstracting water surreptitiously from the mains of the municipality. A previous verdict for $15,881.20 had been set aside by the court on the ground that the amount was not justified by the evidence. Involved in the suit was an alleged breach of confidence on the part of the company in trying to steal a part of its water supply. In order to afford adequate protection in case of fire the municipality agreed to leave available a large main, the valves of which it was agreed should not be turned on, except in case of emergency, in which event the company was to pay for such water as might be taken. Notwithstanding this agreement it was shown that under the direction of certain of their superiors, employes of the company made a practise of turning on these valves, thus obtaining a large part of the company’s water supply without the knowledge of the municipal authorities. The court held that the jury was justified in concluding that the town had lost enormous amounts of water by these abstractions. It was also pointed out by the court that in an action in tort, such as that brought by the town, the evidence does not need to be so convincing as in a similar case on contract.

Suit to recover $50,000 was instituted recently in United States court by the New York Continental Jewell Filtration Company against the Lebanon Consolidated Water Company. The complainants allege an infringement of a patent by the Lebanon company. The bill of particulars cites that the complainant company is owner of letters-patent granted in 1905 to Omar H. Jewell on a water filter. It alleges that the Lebanon Water Company has been using and making this filter without the consent of the owners of the patent rights, and asks court for an injunction to restrain the Lebanon company from further infringement, and to collect damages to the extent of $50,000. The New York Continental Jewell Filtration Company has also filed suit in the United States district court against the city of New Orleans, in which it prays for an injunction restraining that city from further use of a filter which, it is alleged, is an infringement upon its patent, and for such damages as the court may assess for losses the plaintiff sustained through the use of the filter for the last several years. It is set forth in the petition that the plaintiff secured a decree in the United States court for the western district of Pennsylvania forbidding the Butler Water Company from infringing upon its patent, but that since then the Butler Water Company has secured a license to manufacture the article, and the city of New Orleans has been using it, which, it is alleged, has worked a damage to the plaintiff.

Waterworks Litigation

Waterworks Litigation

Residents on Red Mountain will get a water supply from the Birmingham, Ala., Water W orks Company, under their present contract with the city, according to a decision handed down by the supreme court at Montgomery. The court holds that the contract between the company and the city is an ordinary agreement, and that the company’s duty is plain. The case had been appealed from the Jefferson county chancery court by the waterworks company. The waterworks company alleged that it had contracted to supply the city of Birmingham for a certain period and protested against supplying citizens along Red Mountain on the ground that there were no customers outside the valley when the franchise was granted, and that Birmingham had outgrown its expectations. The supreme court overruled the contention. Water will be supplied for both fire and domestic purposes for about 750 persons.

All residents of Birmingham. Ala., must be supplied with city water, if they demand it. The waterworks company must furnish-those who live on Red Mountain with water for fire protection and domestic purposes. Such is the effect of a decision of the supreme court. The Birming-. ham Water Works Company admitted that the city had outgrown its expectations, and that the existing contract was not made with a view to supplying so much territory. The company says its standpipes will not raise the water to the required level, and that heavy expense will be incurred if it is required to lift it to the top of Red Mountain. But the supreme court says the contract is an ordinary agreement and that the duty of the company is plain. About 150 residences will get the benefit of this decision.

Differences between the Omaha, Neb., Water Company and the county as to whether the water company should pay taxes on the physical valuation of the waterworks or on the value of the judgment it holds against the city have been settled and both sides consent to the issuance of a decree that the $25,000 tax against the judgment is illegal and the $35,000 tax against the physical property shall stand as valid. The decree was issued by Judge Kennedy. The county is ordered to refund the $25,000 tax on the judgment, paid by the water company through a misunderstanding, and the water company is to pay the assessment of $35,000 on the physical valuation. The decree finds that at the time of the assessments the water company still owned the plant, the validity of its judgment still being in controversy.