146 U.S. 202 (1892), 403, Southern Pacific Company v. Denton

Docket Nº:No. 403
Citation:146 U.S. 202, 13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942
Party Name:Southern Pacific Company v. Denton
Case Date:November 21, 1892
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 202

146 U.S. 202 (1892)

13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942

Southern Pacific Company

v.

Denton

No. 403

United States Supreme Court

November 21, 1892

Submitted November 7, 1892

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED

STATES FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

Syllabus

Under the Act of March 3, 1887, c. 373, § 1, as corrected by the Act of August 13, 1888, c. 866, a corporation incorporated in one state only, and doing business in another state, is not thereby liable to be sued in a circuit court of the United States held in the latter state.

The want of the requisite citizenship of parties to give jurisdiction to a circuit court of the United States, when apparent on the face of the petition, may be taken advantage of by demurrer.

An objection to the jurisdiction of a circuit court of the United States for want of the requisite citizenship of the parties is not waived by filing a demurrer for the special and single purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction or by answering to the merits upon that demurrer being overruled.

The right of a corporation, sued in a circuit court of the United States, to contest its jurisdiction for want of the requisite citizenship of the parties is not affected by a statute of the state in which the court is held, requiring a foreign corporation, before doing business in the state, to file with the secretary of state a copy of its charter, with a resolution authorizing service of process to he made on any officer or agent engaged in its business within the state and agreeing to be subject to all the provisions of the statute, one of which is that the corporation shall not remove any suit from a court of the state into the circuit court of the United States, nor by doing business and appointing an agent within the state under that statute.

A statute of a state which makes an appearance in behalf of a defendant, although in terms limited to the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court, a waiver of immunity from jurisdiction by reason of nonresidence is not applicable to actions in a circuit court of the United States held within the state under Rev.Stat. § 914.

Motion to dismiss or to affirm. The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 203

GRAY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE GRAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This was an action brought January 29, 1889, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Texas, against the Southern Pacific Company by Elizabeth Jane Denton to recover damages to the amount of $4,970 for the death of her son by the defendant's negligence near Paisano, in the County of Presidio, on January 31, 1888. The petition alleged that

the plaintiff is a citizen of the State of Texas, and resides in the County of Red River in said state; that the defendant is a corporation duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Kentucky, is a citizen of the State of Kentucky, and is and at the institution of this suit was a resident of El Paso County in the State of Texas;

that at the day aforesaid and ever since,

the defendant was and is engaged in the business of running and propelling cars for the conveyance of freight and passengers over the line of railway extending eastwardly from the City of El Paso, Texas, into and through the Counties of El Paso and Presidio and the City of San Antonio, all of the State of Texas; that the defendant is now doing business as aforesaid, and has an agent for the transaction of its business in the City and County of El Paso, Texas, to-wit, W. E. Jessup.

The County of Red River is in [13 S.Ct. 45] the Eastern District, and the Counties of El Paso and Presidio, as well as the County of Bexar, in which is the City of San Antonio, are in the Western District, of Texas. Act of February 24, 1879, c. 97, §§ 2, 3, 20 Stat. 318.

The defendant, by leave of court, filed "an answer or demurrer," "for the special purpose, and no other, until the question herein raised is decided, of objecting to the jurisdiction of this Court," demurring and excepting to the petition because, upon the allegations above quoted,

it appears that this suit ought, if maintained at all in the State of Texas, to be brought in the district of the residence of the plaintiff -- that is to say in the Eastern District of Texas, and the defendant prays judgment whether this Court has jurisdiction, and it asks to be dismissed, with its costs; but should the court overrule this demurrer and exception, the defendant then asks time

Page 204

and leave to answer to the merits, though...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP