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Crim. No. 1900. In Bank, April 14, 1915.

In the Matter of the Application of A. H. STEPHAN, on Habeas Corpus.

[1] PERSONAL PROPERTY BROKERS' ACT-LAW CONSTITUTIONAL. The act of April 16, 1909, amended April 21, 1911, defining personal property brokers and regulating their charges and business, does not violate the provisions of section 11 of article I of the constitution which declares that all laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation, nor does it violate the provisions of subdivision 23, section 25, article IV, which forbids special laws "regulating the rate of interest on money".

[2] ID.-CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-PERSONAL PROPERTY BROKERS-PROPER SUBJECT OF CLASSIFICATION.-The business of loaning money on chattel mortgages or like instruments and that of loaning or advancing money on assignments or other transfers of wages, earnings and the like has become so well known and so capable of classification and recognition that the legislature is entirely justified in describing those engaged in it as a peculiar class and giving them the name of personal property brokers.

Application for writ of habeas corpus prayed to be directed against D. A. White, Chief of Police of the City and County of San Francisco.

For Petitioner-Olin L. Berry.

For Respondent-C. M. Fickert, District Attorney, and A. R. Cotton, Assistant District Attorney.

The petitioner was imprisoned on a charge of having violated the provisions of the act entitled, "An act to define personal property brokers and regulate their charges and business," enacted April 16, 1909, and amended April 21, 1911. (Stats. 1909, 969; Stats. 1911, 978.) He asks a release from custody on the claim that the law is unconstitutional.

Section 1 of the law provides that every person "enagaged in the business of loaning or advancing money" on the security of chattel mortgages or other contracts by which personal property is hypothecated as security for such loan and the use and possession thereof is not to be in the lender, or on the security of a lien upon, or assignment of, or power of attorney relating to "wages, salary, earnings, income or commissions", shall be deemed a "personal property broker". Sections 2 and 3 allow such brokers to charge and receive two per cent per month as interest on the money loaned on such security and provide that they shall not charge or receive more, either directly, or under any pretext, as for costs, expenses and the like. Section 5 requires such personal property broker, on making such loan or advancement, to give to the borrower a memorandum showing the name of the lender, the nature of the instruments taken as security and certain other particulars of the transaction. It is further provided that contracts for such loans or advancements are void if a greater rate of interest or benefit than the statute allows is accepted therefor or provided for or agreed upon therein, and that a failure of the broker to give the memorandum required by section 5 is a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

The petitioner was charged with being engaged in the business aforesaid and with having made such a loan upon the security of a chattel mortgage, without giving to the borrower the memorandum aforesaid.

Section 11 of article I of the constitution declares that "all laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation". Section 21 of the article forbids the granting of special privileges or immunities to any citizen or class of citizens, which, upon the same terms, shall not be given to all. [1] Under the rules now well established in this state we think it is clear that this statute does not controvert these provisions. It is not a violation thereof for the legislature to enact laws applying to persons throughout the state, but only to those of a specified class, provided the distinctions which mark the class are those which reasonably arise out of the nature of the things composing it and distinguish them from others not embraced within it in such a manner that the peculiar legislation is not arbitrary or unreasonable. The legislative judgment as to what is a sufficient distinction cannot be overthrown by the courts, unless it is, beyond rational doubt, erroneous. No authority need be cited in support of these propositions. It follows also, as a corrollary, that a decision holding such legislative judgment wrong in this respect with regard to one statute, upon the conditions relating to it, is not necessarily authority for a similar decision upon another statute, unless the facts and conditions are essentially the same in the one case as in the other. The decision in this particular is like any other decision on a question of fact-not a precedent except for cases where the facts are the same.

The present case is not essentially different from Ex parte Lichtenstein, 67 Cal. 359. In that case a penal law applying only to pawnbrokers was declared valid and constitutional on the ground that pawnbrokers constituted a class doing a peculiar business which the legislature might justly consider required peculiar regulations. The business of pawnbroking is ancient and its characteristics are, of course, well known. This is not true of personal property brokers. [2] But we think it must now be conceded that in the course of the development of modern civilization the business of loaning money on chattel mortgages, or like instruments, and that of loaning or advancing money on assignments or other transfers of wages, earnings, and the like, as well, have become so well known and so capable of classifi cation and recognition that the legislature is entirely justified in describing them as a peculiar class and giving them the name of personal property brokers. Their business is as dis tinct in many respects from other classes of business as is that of a pawnbroker. Nor can it be denied that abuses have grown up in connection therewith which the legislature might well deem to call for the regulations imposed by this law. This being the case the limitation of the legislation to these classes alone does not destroy the uniformity of the law nor confer unlawful special privileges upon those persons not engaged in the business regulated.

It is not a special law, within the meaning of subdivision 23, section 25, article IV, of the constitution, forbidding special laws "regulating the rate of interest on money". This proposition is settled by the decision in Ex parte Lichtenstein, supra, where the point was expressly decided with respect to the pawnbrokers' act. No substantial difference can be seen between that act and the personal property brokers' act, so far as the appli cation of this constitutional provision is concerned.

We do not consider the decision in Ex parte Sohncke, 148 Cal. 262, as in substantial conflict with these views. The classification there condemned was far more arbitrary and fanciful than that made by this act. There the same kind of an act was punishable in different ways by one of the statutes declared invalid, according to the person who committed it. The other act declared invalid, permitted loans upon mortgages of certain kinds of chattels without limitation as to the rate of interest, while forbidding loans upon such mortgages upon other chattels, except at a limited rate. This is apparently a distinction without a legal difference. There may be expressions in the opinion that are inconsistent with the views here given but they are not essential to the decision and should be disregarded. The writ is discharged and the prisoner is remanded to the custody of the respondent.

SHAW, J.

We concur:

SLOSS, J.

MELVIN, J.

ANGELLOTTI, C. J.

HENSHAW, J.

LORIGAN, J.

L. A. No. 3713. In Bank. April 15, 1915.

L. GHRIEST, proprietor of and doing business in the name of Newport Beach Electric Light and Power Company, Petitioner, v. RAILROAD COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

[1] RAILROAD COMMISSION-ORDER EXTENDING SERVICE OF ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER CORPORATION-TERRITORY ALREADY SERVED BY LIKE PUBLIC UTILITY-FAILURE TO OBSERVE RULES AND PROCEDUREORDER NOT REVIEWABLE.-An order of the railroad commission made under the provisions of section 50 of the Public Utilities Act determining that public convenience and necessity require the extension of the service of an electric light and power corporation into a city which is already being served by a public utility of like character, is not subject to review on the ground that the application and procedure did not conform in certain respects to the rules adopted by the commission relative to such application and the hearings thereon.

[2] ID. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT-ORDERS OF COMMISSION-IRREGU LARITY IN PROCEEDINGS-EFFECT OF.-The mere failure of the commission to observe rules adopted by it relative to practice and procedure does not render its order one in excess of its jurisdiction, or warrant a holding that the commission has not "regularly pursued its authority".

Application for writ of review, prayed to be directed against the Railroad Commission of the State of California.

BY THE COURT.

This is an application for a writ of review wherein petitioner seeks to have reviewed and set aside an order made by the railroad commission, determining that public convenience and necessity require the construction, operation and maintenance by the Pacific Light and Power corporation of an electrical transmission line from Dominguez in Los Angeles county to the city of Newport Beach, and the construction, operation and maintenance of an electrical distributing system in the city of Newport Beach. The petitioner is and for a long time has been operating in said city an electrical generating plant and an electric distributing system, and the effect of the order of the commission will be that the Pacific Light and Power corporation will enter into competition with him and he will be injuriously affected by such competition.

The order complained of was one made under the provisions of section 50 of the Public Utilities act, which prohibit such a public utility as the Pacific Light and Power corporation from extending its service into a city, etc., theretofore served by a public utility of like character, without having first obtained from the railroad commission a determination that the present or future convenience and necessity requires or will require such extension.

[1] The scope of our inquiry regarding orders of the railroad commission was exhaustively discussed in the opinions in Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Eshelman et al., 46 Cal. Dec. 551. Under the views there expressed, it is clear that the petition here affords no warrant for the issuance of a writ. If it be conceded that we may in such a proceeding inquire whether any right of the petitioner under the constitution of the United States is violated by the action of the commission, notwithstanding there was no excess of jurisdiction on the part of the commission, it is clear that no such violation is shown by the allegations of the petition. Even if we assume that petitioner was entitled to notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard, he was present at the hearing in response to what he now says was an insufficient notice, and, so far as appears, was not denied the opportunity to be heard. It is not stated that he requested any postponement of the hearing. Nor can we see that any excess of jurisdiction on the part of the commission is shown. The claim is that the application and procedure thereon did not conform in certain respects to the rules adopted by the commission relative to such application and the hearings thereon. [2] It is clear that it must be held that the mere failure of the commission to observe rules adopted by it relative to practice and procedure does not render its order one in excess of its jurisdiction, or warrant us in holding that the commission has not "regularly pursued its authority". Indeed, it is expressly provided in the Public Utilities act that "ne informality in any proceeding.

shall

invalidate" any order or decision, made by the commission. (Sec. 53.)

The application for a writ is denied.

L. A. No. 3999. Department One. April 15, 1915.

In the Matter of the Estate of SAMUEL W. LITTLE, Deceased. WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION FEDERATION OF LOS ANGELES, Appellant, v. WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA et al., Defendants.

[1] PROBATE LAW-WILL-BEQUEST TO CORPORATION-MISTAKE IN DESIGNATION-INTENT OF TESTATOR-PAROL EVIDENCE ADMISSIBLE.— Where a testator makes a bequest to a body or society which he designates in his will as "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Los Angeles," and it appears that such designation does not describe exactly either one of three different corporations who appear to claim the legacy, parol evidence is admissible to determine which corporation was intended.

Appeal from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County-James C. Rivers, Judge.

For Appellant-James H. Blanchard and Will D. Gould.

For Respondent-Elizabeth L. Kenney, Steward & Steward.

Mr. Justice Shaw delivered the opinion of the court, Sloss, J., and Lawlor, J., concurring.

Samuel W. Little in May, 1902, made his will bequeathing a certain part of his estate to a body or society which he designated in his will as "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Los Angeles". At that time, according to the evidence in the case, there was a corporation in existence having the corporate name of "The Los Angeles Woman's Christian Temperance Union". There was also another corporation in existence whose corporate name was "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Southern California", and an association or federation of societies which was known at that time by the name of the Union of Unions but which subsequently became incorporated under the name of "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union Federation of Los Angeles”. Each of these three bodies, upon the distribution of the estate, applied for the legacy or bequest given to The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Los Angeles. Each claimed to be the body designated by that description.

It is a mistake to say that the order of words in a corporate name is not important or may not be necessary in order to designate the body corporate intended. Very many illustrations might be given of that fact. For example, there is or has been a corporation known as the Southern California Railway Company and also a corporation known as the California Southern Railway Company, two distinct corporations distinguished only by the fact that the word "California" comes first in one and second in the other. It appears on the face of this record from the applications of the claimants alone, in connection with the will, that the designation, "The Woman's Christian Temperance

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