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UNION REFRIGERATOR TRANSIT COMPANY v. LYNCH.

decided: April 9, 1900.

UNION REFRIGERATOR TRANSIT COMPANY
v.
LYNCH.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF UTAH.

Author: Fuller

[ 177 U.S. Page 151]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

The constitution of the State of Utah provided that: "All

[ 177 U.S. Page 152]

     property in the State, not exempt under the laws of the United States, or under this constitution, shall be taxed in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as provided by law;" and that: "All corporations or persons in this State, or doing business herein, shall be subject to taxation for state, county, school, municipal or other purposes, on the real and personal property owned or used by them within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax." Constitution, Art. 13, ยงยง 2, 10.

Some question was raised in the Supreme Court of Utah as to the proper construction and scope of the state statutes in respect of taxation, but the court held that by those laws all property, owned or used by railway, car, telephone, telegraph and other companies, within the territorial limits of the State, was subjected to taxation according to its value regardless of the domicil of its owner.

The contention on this writ of error is that the taxation of the ten cars of plaintiff in error was forbidden by the Constitution of the United States because they had no situs for that purpose in the State of Utah, and the tax imposed a burden on interstate commerce.

In American Refrigerator Transit Company v. Hall, 174 U.S. 70, quotations were made from the opinions in Pullman's Palace Car Company v. Pennsylvania, 141 U.S. 530; Adams Express Company v. Ohio, 165 U.S. 194, and Adams Express Company v. Ohio, 166 U.S. 185, and the conclusion of the court was thus expressed: "It having been settled, as we have seen, that where a corporation of one State brings into another, to use and employ, a portion of its movable personal property, it is legitimate for the latter to impose upon such property, thus used and employed, its fair share of the burdens of taxation imposed upon similar property used in like way by its own citizens, we think that such a tax may be properly assessed and collected, in cases like the present, where the specific and individual items of property so used and employed were not continuously the same, but were constantly changing, according to the exigencies of the business, and that the tax may be fixed by an appraisement and valuation of the average amount of the property thus habitually used and employed. Nor would the fact that such

[ 177 U.S. Page 153]

     cars were employed as vehicles of transportation in the interchange of interstate commerce render their taxation invalid."

The case before us involves the taxation by the State of Utah of certain cars belonging to a corporation of Kentucky; the case cited involved the taxation by the State of Colorado of certain cars belonging to a corporation of Illinois; and if this case comes within the rule laid down in that case, nothing further need be said.

In that case the facts were stipulated; and it appeared that the American Refrigerator Transit Company was a corporation duly organized and existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Illinois, with its principal office in the city of East St. Louis in said State; that it was engaged in the dusiness of furnishing refrigerator cars for the transportation of perishable products over the various lines of railroads in the United States; that these cars were the sole and exclusive property of the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff furnished the same to be run indiscriminately over any lines of railroad over which shippers on said railroads might desire to route them in shipping, and furnished the same for the transportation of perishable freight upon the direct request of shippers or of railroad companies requesting the same on behalf of shippers, but on the responsibility of the carrier and not of the shipper; and plaintiff had not and never had had any contract of any kind whatsoever by which its cars were leased or allotted to or by which it agreed to furnish its cars to any railroad company operating within the State of Colorado; that it had and had had during said times no office or place of business nor other property than its cars within the State of Colorado, and that all the freight transported in plaintiff's cars in or through the State of Colorado, including the cars assessed, was transported in such cars either from a point or points of the United States outside of the State of ...


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