RESPONDENT:Proprietors of Warren Bridge
LOCATION: Massachusetts Statehouse
DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Taney Court (1836-1837)
LOWER COURT: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
ARGUED: Mar 07, 1831 / Mar 08, 1831 / Mar 09, 1831 / Mar 10, 1831 / Mar 11, 1831 / Jan 19, 1837 / Jan 20, 1837 / Jan 21, 1837 / Jan 23, 1837 / Jan 24, 1837 / Jan 25, 1837 / Jan 26, 1837
DECIDED: Feb 14, 1837
John Davis – for the defendant in error
Daniel Webster – for the plaintiff in error
Warren Dutton – for the plaintiff in error
Simon Greenleaf – for the defendant in error
Facts of the case
In 1785, the Massachusetts legislature incorporated the Charles River Bridge Company to construct a bridge and collect tolls. In 1828, the legislature established the Warren Bridge Company to build a free bridge nearby. Unsurprisingly, the new bridge deprived the old one of traffic and tolls. The Charles River Bridge Company filed suit, claiming the legislature had defaulted on its initial contract.
Did the legislature enter into an economic contract with the Charles River Bridge Company that was impaired by the second charter in violation of Article I Section 10 of the Constitution?