183 U.S. 53 (1901), 11, Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company v. Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners

Docket Nº:No. 11
Citation:183 U.S. 53, 22 S.Ct. 18, 46 L.Ed. 78
Party Name:Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company v. Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners
Case Date:November 11, 1901
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 53

183 U.S. 53 (1901)

22 S.Ct. 18, 46 L.Ed. 78

Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company


Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners

No. 11

United States Supreme Court

November 11, 1901

Argued and submitted October 16, 1901




When a state court refuses permission to remove to a federal court a case pending before the state court, and the federal court orders its removal, this Court has jurisdiction to determine whether there was error on the part of the state court in retaining the case.

The plaintiffs were citizens of the Missouri, in which this action was brought. The railway company was a citizen of the Kansas. On the face of record, there was therefore diverse citizenship, authorizing, on proper proceedings being taken to bring it about, the removal of the action from the state court to the federal court, and the State of Missouri is not shown to have such an interest in the result as would warrant the conclusion that the state was the real party in interest, and the consequent refusal of the motion for removal.

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This case involves the question of removal from a state to a federal court.

The State of Missouri has a body of statutes for the regulation of railroads. By one section a board of railroad commissioners is created. To this board is committed the duty of supervising the conduct and charges of railroads, of hearing and deciding complaints [22 S.Ct. 19] against them, and making such orders as the circumstances require. Section 1143, Rev.Stat. Mo. (1899), identical with section 2646, Rev.Stat. Mo. (1889), contains this provision:

SEC. 1143. Commissioners to See to Enforcement of Article -- Investigate Complaints. -- It shall be the duty of the railroad commissioners of this state to see that the provisions of this article are enforced. When complaint is made in writing by any person having an interest in the matter about which complaint is made, that any rate or rates established by any common carrier are unreasonable, unjust, or extortionate, or that any of the provisions of this article have been or are being violated, it shall be the duty of said railroad commissioners to proceed at once to investigate such complaint and determine the truth of the same.

The section also authorizes the commissioners to summon witnesses, to punish for failure or refusal to attend or testify, declares that any common carrier willfully or knowingly obstructing of preventing the commissioners from making such investigations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine. Other sections provide for penalties and forfeitures. In section 1144, the same as section 2647, Rev.Stat. 1889, is this clause:

SEC. 1144. Forfeitures, How Recovered and Disposed of. -- The forfeitures and penalties herein provided for shall go to the county school fund of the county where sued for, and may be recovered in a civil action in the name of the State of Missouri at the relation of the board of railroad commissioners to the use of said fund.

Section 1150 (section 2653, Rev.Stat. 1889) reads as follows:

SEC. 1150. Proceedings when Order of Commissioners is Disobeyed -- Circuit Court -- Enforce or Renew Order -- Proceedings. --

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Where the complaint involves either a private or a public question as aforesaid, and the commissioners have made a lawful order or requirement in relation thereto, and where such common carrier, or the proper officer, agent, or employee thereof, shall violate, refuse, or neglect to obey any such order or requirement, it shall be lawful for the board of railroad commissioners, or any person or company interested in such order or requirement, to apply in a summary way, by petition, to any circuit court at any county in this state into or through which the line of railway of the said common carrier enters or runs, alleging such violation or disobedience, as the case may be, and the said court shall have power to hear and determine the matter on such short notice to the common carrier complained of as the court shall deem reasonable. And such notice may by served on such common carrier, its officers, agents, or servants, in such manner as the court may direct, and said court shall proceed to hear and determine the matter speedily in such manner as to do justice in the premises, and to this end said court shall have power, if it thinks fit, to direct and prosecute in such mode and by...

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