133 U.S. 529 (1890), Lincoln County v. Luning

Citation133 U.S. 529, 10 S.Ct. 363, 33 L.Ed. 766
Party NameLINCOLN COUNTY v. LUNING. [1] SAME v. SUTRO. SAME v. VINCENT.
Case DateMarch 03, 1890
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 529

133 U.S. 529 (1890)

10 S.Ct. 363, 33 L.Ed. 766

LINCOLN COUNTY

v.

LUNING. 1

SAME

v.

SUTRO.

SAME

v.

VINCENT.

United States Supreme Court.

March 3, 1890

COUNSEL

[10 S.Ct. 363] H. F. Bartine, for plaintiff in error.

A. C. Freeman, for defendant in error.

OPINION

BREWER, J.

This is an action on bonds and coupons. Judgment was rendered against the county, and it alleges error. The primary

Page 530

question is as to the jurisdiction of the circuit court. This jurisdiction is challenged on two grounds: First, it is claimed that, because the county is an integral part of the state, it could not, under the eleventh amendment of the federal constitution, be sued in the circuit court; and, secondly, inasmuch as the act under which the bonds were issued provided for litigation concerning the same, and named a court of the state in which such litigation could be had, that such jurisdiction was exclusive, and prevented suit in the circuit court.

With regard to the first objection, it may be observed that the records of this court, for the last 30 years, are full of suits against counties; and it would seem as though by general consent the jurisdiction of the federal courts in such suits had become established. But, irrespective of this general acquiescence, the jurisdiction of the circuit courts is beyond question. The eleventh amendment limits the jurisdiction only as to suits against a state. It was said by Chief Justice MARSHALL, in Osborn v. Bank, 9 Wheat. 738, 857, that 'the eleventh amendment, which restrains the jurisdiction granted by the constitution over suits against states, is of necessity limited to those suits in which the state is a party on the record.' While that statement was held by this court in the case of In re Ayers, 123 U.S. 433, 8 S.Ct. 164, to be too narrow, yet, by that decision the jurisdiction was limited only in respect to those cases in which the state is a real, if not a nominal, defendant; and while the county is territorially a part of the state, yet politically it is also a corporation created by, and with such powers as are given to it by, the state. In this respect, it is a part of the state only in that remote sense in which any city, town, or other municipal corporation may be said to be a part of the state. Railroad Co. v. District of Columbia, 132 U.S. 1, ante, 19.

The constitution of the state of Nevada explicitly provides for the liability of counties to suit. Article 8 is entitled 'Municipal and Other Corporations,' and its 10 sections contain provisions, some applicable to private, and others to both

Page 531

private and municipal, corporations. Section 5 declares that 'corporations may sue and be sued in all courts in like manner as individuals;' and that this section is not to be limited to private corporations is evident, not alone from the generality of its language, [10 S.Ct. 364] and from the title of the article, but also from several sections therein in which municipal corporations are expressly I amed. Thus the second section subjects the property of corporations to taxation, with a proviso 'that the property of corporations formed for municipal * * * purposes may be exempted by law;' and section 10 expressly recognizes the county as a municipal corporation; for its language is 'no county, city, town, or other municipal corporation shall become a stockholder,' etc. Thus the liability of counties as municipal corporations to suit is declared by the constitution itself. Further, the act under which these bonds were issued provided for suits against the county in respect to this indebtedness in one of the courts of the state; and this liability of a county to suit...

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328 practice notes
  • 241 B.R. 862 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Ohio 1999), 98-3134, In re Pitts
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Sixth Circuit
    • 9 September 1999
    ...900; Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 97 S.Ct. 568, 50 L.Ed.2d 471 (1977); Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 364, 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890). For example, it is clear that a state taxing authority is afforded the protections contained i......
  • 142 B.R. 670 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1990), 90-1107, In re Decalcomania Mfg. Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • 19 October 1990
    ...Co. v. Dept. of Treasury, supra, but does not extend to counties and similar municipal corporations." See Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363 [363], 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890); Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U.S. 693, 717-721, 93 S.Ct. 1785, 1799-1801, 36 L.Ed.2d 596 Mt.......
  • 206 B.R. 831 (Bkrtcy.E.D.Va. 1997), 92-11704, In re NVR L.P.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Fourth Circuit
    • 7 March 1997
    ...and boroughs, cannot invoke their parent state's constitutional immunity from suit in federal court. See Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 363, 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890); see also Lake Country Estates, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency, 440 U.S. 391, 400-01, 99 S.Ct. 11......
  • 146 B.R. 702 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Tex. 1992), 92-4232, In re Great Western Coal, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Fifth Circuit
    • 6 May 1992
    ...Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U.S. 693, 717-721, 93 S.Ct. 1785, 1799-1802, 36 L.Ed.2d 596, 614-16 (1973); Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 364, 33 L.Ed. 766, 767 (1890). Moreover, there is specific authority holding the Eleventh Amendment inapplicable to the count......
  • Free signup to view additional results
306 cases
  • 241 B.R. 862 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Ohio 1999), 98-3134, In re Pitts
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Sixth Circuit
    • 9 September 1999
    ...900; Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 97 S.Ct. 568, 50 L.Ed.2d 471 (1977); Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 364, 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890). For example, it is clear that a state taxing authority is afforded the protections contained i......
  • 142 B.R. 670 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1990), 90-1107, In re Decalcomania Mfg. Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • 19 October 1990
    ...Co. v. Dept. of Treasury, supra, but does not extend to counties and similar municipal corporations." See Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363 [363], 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890); Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U.S. 693, 717-721, 93 S.Ct. 1785, 1799-1801, 36 L.Ed.2d 596 Mt.......
  • 206 B.R. 831 (Bkrtcy.E.D.Va. 1997), 92-11704, In re NVR L.P.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Fourth Circuit
    • 7 March 1997
    ...and boroughs, cannot invoke their parent state's constitutional immunity from suit in federal court. See Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 363, 33 L.Ed. 766 (1890); see also Lake Country Estates, Inc. v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency, 440 U.S. 391, 400-01, 99 S.Ct. 11......
  • 146 B.R. 702 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Tex. 1992), 92-4232, In re Great Western Coal, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Fifth Circuit
    • 6 May 1992
    ...Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U.S. 693, 717-721, 93 S.Ct. 1785, 1799-1802, 36 L.Ed.2d 596, 614-16 (1973); Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530, 10 S.Ct. 363, 364, 33 L.Ed. 766, 767 (1890). Moreover, there is specific authority holding the Eleventh Amendment inapplicable to the count......
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1 firm's commentaries
21 books & journal articles
  • The Alden Trilogy: praise and protest.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 23 Nbr. 2, March 2000
    • 22 March 2000
    ...corporations and similar governmental entities are [[sections] 1983] `persons'"). (239.) See Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529, 530 (1890) (holding that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar a federal suit to collect debt against a (240.) See Workman v. New York, 179 U.S. 552, 563-6......
  • Its hour come round at last? State sovereign immunity and the great state debt crisis of the early twenty-first century.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 35 Nbr. 2, March - March 2012
    • 22 March 2012
    ...question suit by a citizen of the defendant state). (39.) See Shapiro, supra note 16, at 70. (40.) ORTH, supra note 7, at 55. (41.) 133 U.S. 529 (1890). (42.) ORTH, supra note 7, at 111. (43.) Id. at 118. (44.) Id. (45.) See, e.g., Edward A. Purcell, Jr., The Particularly Dubious Case of Ha......
  • The plenary power of states to infringe intellectual property under the cloak of sovereign immunity.
    • United States
    • The Journal of High Technology Law Vol. 6 Nbr. 2, July 2006
    • 1 July 2006
    ...process or the product of a particular manufacturer or manufacturers is selected by such person or such person's agent." Id. (198.) 133 U.S. 529 (1890). "The Eleventh Amendment limits the jurisdiction only as to suits against a state [and] 'is of necessity limited to those suits i......
  • Religious liberty after Gonzales: a look at state RFRAS.
    • United States
    • South Dakota Law Review Vol. 55 Nbr. 3, September 2010
    • 22 September 2010
    ...Sch. Dist. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977) (school boards); Workman v. New York, 179 U.S. 552 (1900) (cities); Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529 (1890) (counties). (108.) See, e.g., Merced v. Kasson, 577 F.3d 578 (5tb Cir. 2009) (ordering injunctive relief against municipal officials pur......
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