Charles River Bridge Case


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Charles River Bridge Case,

decided in 1837 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Charles River Bridge Company had been granted (1785) a charter by the state of Massachusetts to operate a toll bridge. The state later authorized (1828) a competing bridge that would eventually be free to the public. The Charles River Bridge Company brought suit against the competing company, claiming that the state charter had given it a monopoly. The court upheld the state's authorization to the other company, holding that since the original charter did not specifically grant a monopoly, the ambiguity in the contract would operate in favor of the public, thus allowing a competing bridge. The holding modified the Dartmouth College CaseDartmouth College Case,
decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1819. The legislature of New Hampshire, in 1816, without the consent of the college trustees, amended the charter of 1769 to make Dartmouth College public. The trustees brought suit.
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, which held that a state could not unilaterally amend a charter.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fact that the Charles River Bridge case involved a regulatory contract with the government is beyond dispute.
For Sidak and Spulber, the Charles River Bridge case is significant primarily because the regulation at issue involved a contract(45) It unquestionably did, as did most regulation of that time.
Significantly, the Charles River Bridge case did not merely involve a price-regulated public utility.

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