Recent Cases

1894 Harvard Law Review  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 494 HARVARD LAW REVIEW. RECENT CASES. BILLS AND NOTES -FICTITIOUS PAYEE. -The cashier of plaintiff bank drew checks on defendant bank payable to customers of plaintiff. The cashier then indorsed the checks in the names of the customers, which were put into circulation and paid by the defendant. Held, these checks were in legal effect no different from checks payable to non-existing persons, because the names used were those of customers of the bank. Plaintiff is liable to defendant for the amount of the checks. Phil/ips v. Bank, 35 N. E. Rep. 982 (N. Y.). The case seems perfectly sound, and is well reasoned. As the court say: "The fictitiousness of the maker's direction to pay does not depend upon the identification of the name of the payee with some existent person, but upon the intention underlying the act of the maker in inserting the name." That is, if the maker intends to use a name in a bill he has drawn to realize money fradulently, he is in effect drawing it payable to himself, and his own indorsement in the assumed name passes good title. This way of working out the rights of the parties seems more satisfactory than the ordinary treatment of such bills as payable to bearer. BILLS AND NOTES -IMMATERIAL ALTERATIONS. -Purchasers of goods gave in payment therefor a note payable to the plaintiff bank (the respondents), all the parties to the sale going to the bank to get it discounted. To satisfy the bank, the vendor signed his name below those of the makers; but fearing he would be held on it as a maker he afterwards returned to the bank and persuaded the cashier to change the note, so as to make it payable to his order, and then indorsed it and guaranteed it on the back to the bank, erasing his signature from the face of the note. Held, that as this alteration did not change the liability of the parties to the note, it was no defence to an action upon it. Reilly v. Trust Nat'l Bank, 35 N. E. Rep. I I lo (Ill.). The decision is rather a striking instance of what will be deemed an immaterial alteration. The vendor before the note was changed was an anomalous indorser, and in those States where such an indorser is held to be a joint maker, it is submitted the decision must necessarily be against the plaintiff. In Illinois an anomalous indorser is presumably a guar-antor, and there the alteration would not seem to increase the maker's liability. On the general questioln as to what constitutes an immaterial alteration, see 2 Daniel Negot. Inst. 3 ed. ? I398 to ? 1400, I Ames Cas. on Bills and Notes, p. 449. For the position of an anomalous indorser in Illinois see I Ames Cas. on Bills and Notes, p. 27I, note c. CARRIERS. -Action for injunction, by a railway company against defendant, a hackman, to restrain the latter from entering upon the grounds and station of the plaintiff to solicit passengers. Held, that section 34, c. 565, Laws of I890, prohibiting carriers from giving " preference for the transaction of business of a common carrier upon its grounds, etc., to any one of two or more parties competing in the same business, etc.," does not apply to the present case, but only where the ccmpeting parties are "under contractual relations'" with the carrier; and that the plaintiff has the right to exclude the defendant from its grounds, when he is not under contract with a passenger. New York Central &' H. R. R. Company et al. v. Flynn et al., 26 N. Y. Sup. 859. It is difficult to see what force is left to the statute by this construction, but the scope of the decision is clear, to the effect that by common law a carrier may exclude a hackman seeking to enter its grounds for the purpose of soliciting patronage. The same decision is reached in Railroad Company v. Tripp, 147 Mass. 35, which is cited and approved by the New York court. The true view of this question seems to be based upon the reasonableness of such a regulation made by a carrier, in the light of th e carrier's duty to the public to furnish ready means of access to its stations, and to facilitate the arrival and departure of its passengers and their baggage. The weight of authority appears to look with disfavor upon excludinig certain hackmen and favoring others, as tending to inconvenience passengers and to create a monopoly resulting in increased hack-fares, etc. Railroad v. Langlois, 9 Mont. 419; Hack &a Bus Company v. Sootsma, 84 Mich. 194; Crazens v. Rodgers, IOI Mo. 247; McConnell v. Pedigo et al., i8 S. W. Rep. (Ky.) I 5; Steamboat Company v. Trans.portation Company, io So. Rep. (Fla.) 480. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -ACT EXCLUDING CHINESE. -Held, that an Act attempting to prohibit Chinese from coming into the State is in conflict with that clause of the United States Constitution giving the general government authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Ex parte A/h Cue, 35 Pac. Rep. 556 (Cal.). This case decides correctly, it seems, a very interesting point. The court treat the question as too clear for extended argument. RECENT CASES. 495 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -CORPORATIONS.-Held, that an Act imposing on a railroad corporation absolute liability for fires communicated by locomotive engines is not unconstitutional. Mathews v. St. Louis &P S. f: Ry. Co., 24 S. W. Rep. 59I (Mo.). A former case in Missouri held that it was a constitutional provision to impose absolute liability on a railroad for all cattle killed. That decision would seem to require the present result because the fires in the engines are much more under the control of the company than are cattle in the fields along the line. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -INTERSTATE COMMERCE -UNREASONABLE CHARGES BY CARRIERS. -Plaintiffs brought suit in a State court against defendant, a common carrier, for charging unreasonable rates for transporting plaintiffs' beef to other States. The suit was removed to the United States District Court by virtue of the citizenship of the parties. Held, by Grosscup, Dist. J., that the suit could not be maintained. Plaintiffs could not avail themselves of the Interstate Commerce Act in a suit brought originallv in a State court; and the common law of the State could not be applied, because charges for interstate carriage are a subject of interstate commerce requiring uniform regulation, and must be regulated exclusively by the law of the United
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