Business Affected With a Public Interest
BUSINESS AFFECTED WITH A PUBLIC INTEREST
A commercial venture or an occupation that has become subject to governmental regulation by virtue of its offering essential services or products to the community at large.
A business affected with a public interest is subject to regulation by the police power of the state to protect and to promote the general welfare of the community which it serves. Such a designation does not arise from the fact that the business is large, or that the public receives a benefit or enjoyment from its operation. The enterprise, as a result of its integral participation in the life of the community or by the privilege it has been granted by the state to serve the needs of the public, is regulated more strictly by the state than other businesses.
What constitutes a business affected with a public interest varies from state to state. Three classes of businesses have been traditionally regarded as affected with a public interest: (1) those carried on pursuant to a public grant or privilege imposing a duty of making available essential services demanded by the public, such as common carriers and public utilities; (2) occupations considered from the earliest times in common law to be exceptional, such as the operation of inns or cabs; and (3) businesses that although not public at their inception have become such by devoting their activities to a public use, such as insurance companies and banks.
A business affected with a public interest remains the property of its owner, but the community is considered to have such a stake in its operation that it becomes subject to public regulation to the extent of that interest.