CITY SOLICITOR’S REPORT

 

February 22, 1860

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

To the Hon. City Council:

 

In accordance with the Ordinance controlling this Office, I herewith transmit my Annual Report for the year ending Feb. 22d., 1860.

 

Cases pending, as per last Annual Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

212

Old Cases redocketed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

18

Total number of Cases pending at the beginning of the year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

230

Total number of Cases disposed of during the year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

187

Total number of Cases commenced during the year. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

47

Total number of Cases now pending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

90

 

 

The Cases commenced during the year are as follows:—

 

In the Supreme Court of United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

In the Circuit Court of U.S. for Ohio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

In the Supreme Court of Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3

In the District Court of Hamilton County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

In the Superior Court of Cincinnati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

13

In Hamilton County Common Pleas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

14

In Hamilton County Probate Court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

Before Justices of the Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

13

 

 

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

47

 

 

The Cases now pending are as follows:—

 

In the Supreme Court of the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

In the Circuit Court of U.S. for Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

In the Supreme Court of Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3

In the District Court of Hamilton County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11

In the Superior Court of Cincinnati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

21

In Hamilton County Common Pleas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

52

In Butler County Common Pleas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

 

 

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

90

 

 

The Cases disposed of during the past year are as follows:—

 

In the Supreme Court of Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2

In the District Court of Hamilton County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6

In the Superior Court of Cincinnati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

27

In Hamilton County Common Pleas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

138

Before Justices of the Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

13

In Hamilton County Probate Court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

 

 

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

187

 

 

 

 

Ninety-nine of the number of Cases disposed of in the Court of Common Pleas, as above depended upon a single Case

 

Number of Cases now pending, less than the number pending at date of last Annual Report. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  140   

Counting 99 Cases above mentioned as one Case, the actual diminution is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

42

Number of Cases disposed of in which judgments were rendered in favor of the City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

158

Number of Cases disposed of in which judgments were rendered against the City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

30

 

 

Of this number, five were judgments by Justices of the Peace which were appealed from, and so far as decided in the Court of Common Pleas, have been reversed.


 

The amount of Damages claimed by the City in all Cases disposed of during the past year was. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$   2,373.16

Amount of judgments recovered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$   2,176.16

 

 

Of the amount recovered, $1,116.00 is not collectable

 

The amount of Damages claimed in Cases now pending in which the City is Plaintiff, is. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$11, 416.03

 

 

A Decree has also been entered in the Case of Varnum and others against the Eaton & Hamilton Railroad Company, in Butler County Common Pleas, for the amount of Interest due from said Railroad Company to the City, payable after certain preferred claims have been settled out of the net earnings of the Road, and providing if such earnings are not sufficient to discharge the interest on or before the first of July, 1861, the Railroad shall be sold to pay the same.

 

The character of the Claims presented against the City is shown in the following exhibit of the amounts claimed, compared with the amounts recovered, in Cases disposed of during the past year:—

Damages were claimed in the Superior Court of Cincinnati in the Cases disposed of during the year, amounting in aggregate to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$50,899.37

Total amount of judgments recovered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

$15,116.40

 

Of this amount, however, $14,104.85 was recovered in two Cases in which the litigation was chiefly as to the liability of the City, and not as to the amount of the claim: viz.,

$8,957.00 in the case of Reynolds vs. the City, known as the “High Street Case,” and $5,157.85 in the Aspinwall case, for Interest on Bonds withheld by the City.

 

If the amounts claimed and recovered in these two Cases are deducted from the aggregates above named, the result is:

Damages claimed from the City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35,899.37

Damages recovered from the City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $  1,011.65

 

The Damages claimed in the Cases disposed of in the Court of Common Pleas during the year, amounted to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$31, 966.32

Amount of judgments recovered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..$      419.65

 

There was in this Court on Condemnation Case, viz:—

The City against the Cincinnati, Columbus & Wooster Turnpike Co., in which the amount of Damages claimed against the City was . . . $72,000.00

The amount recovered was, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $  9,000.00

 

In the Probate Court, the Case of the Cincinnati Street Railroad Company against the City for the Condemnation for the purpose of Street Railroads, of parts of several important Streets, was tried, and a practical denial of the right to condemn was obtained by means of a verdict in favor of the City of $250,000

 

In the Case of John Doe vs. Richard Roe, a judgment by default was obtained in November last in the United States Circuit Court of Kentucky, for the Public Landing of Cincinnati.  But the City Wharf Master has not yet been dispossessed by the United States Marshal for Kentucky, and it is believed that no collision between the officers named, is likely to occur by reason of said judgment.

 

In the District Court of Hamilton County two Cases have been disposed of by settlement:—

Amount claimed of City  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . .$24,000.00

Amount paid  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . .$  2,500.00

 

In Magistrates’ Cases, the amount claimed of the City  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,372.40

Amount of judgments against the City   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$   385.00

 

Total Damages claimed in all Cases disposed of since the last Annual Report . . . . . . . . . . $180,238.09

Total Damages recovered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   $  27,241.69

 

The Damages claimed in pending Cases are as follows:—

In the Superior Court of Cincinnati, Cases not yet tried . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $    6,299.00

 

There is also a suit pending brought by Charles McMicken, in his life time, in which $20,000 is claimed for injury to real estate, caused by the opening of North Elm Street, but as the City is now the holder of the real estate, it is probable that the Case will not be further prosecuted.

 

The Case of the Niles Works against the City, in which $50,000 was claimed, is pending in the General Term of the Superior Court, but as the judgment in the Court below was in favor of the City, upon the merits, it is not apprehended that the judgment will be reversed.

 

Amount of Damages claimed in the Cases now pending in Hamilton County Common Pleas, $29,790.94.

 

Of this amount, $7,000 is claimed as the value of that part of the Cincinnati and Xenia Turnpike which the City is about to condemn.  In the remaining Cases, it is not probable that more than one-third of the amount claimed will be recovered.

 

Amount of Damages claimed in Cases now pending in the District Court of Hamilton County, $8,000.00

 

There is also a Case in error to reverse the judgment in the Case of the Cincinnati, Columbus & Wooster Turnpike, before referred to.

 

Total amount claimed in all litigated Cases now pending, $34,069.94.

 

The most important Cases in which the City is interested, now pending, are three suits in which the title to valuable real estate is involved:—

 

The McMicken Will Case, pending in the Supreme Court of the United States, at Washington.

 

The Commercial Hospital Lot Case, pending in the Supreme Court of Ohio.

 

The Burnet Lot Case, pending in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio.

 

It is not probable that these Cases will all be finally decided during the coming year.

 

In a carefully prepared Report to the City Council in regard to the business of the City Solicitor’s Office, made in 1853, it was said, that at the rate the business of the Office was then increasing, it would within five years require four City Solicitors to attend to the regular business of the Office.  It is a matter of congratulation that this prediction has not been fulfilled, and that the litigation of the City is not now greater than it was in 1853.

 

This favorable condition of the litigation of the City is due, in a large degree no doubt, to the superiority of our present system of Courts; but chiefly, I am inclined to think, to the greater prudence which has prevailed in the Board of City Improvements and the City Council, during the last two or three years, in respect to opening and improving Streets on the side-hill in the Eastern and Northern parts of the City.  An examination of the judgments against the City will show that during the last few years the heaviest losses the City has sustained in its litigation have been caused by improvements upon the side-hills, often of little value.  It is probably not expected that the law business of the City will ever be materially less than it is now.  But with proper care in laying out and improving Streets, we may reasonably hope that its increase will be only proportionate to the increase of the City in wealth and population.

 

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