Sunday, May 18, 2014

Miller v. Horton case brief summary

Miller v. Horton case brief summary
MA, 1891

a)       Massachusetts passed a statute which held that if it was decided by a majority of commissioners that a horse had glanders, they were justified in ordering the horse to be killed. The owner of the horse could be reimbursed for the actual cost of killing the horse, but not for the value of the horse itself. Miller’s horse was killed under this ordinance; it was later discovered that the horse did not have glanders. Miller brought this action to recover the value of the horse. The question facing the court was whether the ordinance protected the men who actually killed the horse (the ∆s in this case) in the event of a mistaken diagnosis and whether the horse owner was entitled to a hearing to prove that the horse was healthy. The court held that the proper construction of the statute only protected the commissioners and others involved if the horse actually had the glanders; the appropriate due process entitled the owner to a hearing. 
(1)     Holmes opinion
b)      Strikes upon the question of discretion à discretion lies in the original examination of the horse, statute doesn’t touch on how they condemn
c)       According to Holmes, due process requires a hearing if you are deprived of property
(1)     Whether it requires a pre-action hearing or a post-action hearing is a cost-benefit analysis
(2)     Most of the time, the horse owner is not in dire need
(3)     There is an immediate need to kill the infected horses
d)      Touches upon externalities and immunity
e)       Taking (discreet, identifiable locale/item, benefit will not be fully internalized by property owner; courts shy away from this term) v. regulation (justify to individual that in the big picture, the property owner is really better off)
(1)     Is there a difference when the state is not justified to take without compensation and when the state is justified to take without compensation?
(2)     Holmes sees no difference
(3)     Dissent does
f)        What is the difference between public safety and private benefits?
g)       Regulatory State
(1)     Moves value around from person to person in regulation – imposes costs on people with the ideal goal of conferring more benefits on the community as a whole and thus for the individual
(2)     In the cases where externalities are severe, we have a collective action problem – we need an institution for enforcement
(3)     There are self-regulating communities, but when the world starts to expand, it gets harder and harder to regulate on the goal of avoiding the world where externalities are left to fall on others
(a)     The tragedy of the commons
(b)    Market failure
(4)     Everyone who s being regulated benefits from the regulation and we can justify the costs by the communal benefits

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