222 U.S. 39 (1911), 56, Troy Bank v. G. A. Whitehead & Company, Inc.

Docket Nº:No. 56
Citation:222 U.S. 39, 32 S.Ct. 9, 56 L.Ed. 81
Party Name:Troy Bank v. G. A. Whitehead & Company, Inc.
Case Date:November 06, 1911
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 39

222 U.S. 39 (1911)

32 S.Ct. 9, 56 L.Ed. 81

Troy Bank


G. A. Whitehead & Company, Inc.

No. 56

United States Supreme Court

November 6, 1911

Submitted October 9, 1911




When two or more plaintiffs, having separate and distinct demands, unite for convenience and economy in a single suit, it is essential that the demand of each be of the requisite jurisdictional amount; but when several plaintiffs unite to enforce a single title or right, in which they have a common and undivided interest, it is enough if their interest collectively equal the jurisdictional amount.

The Circuit Court has jurisdiction of a suit brought by several plaintiffs to enforce a vendor's lien equally securing notes aggregating more than $2,000 held by them and which neither can enforce in the absence of the other, even though the claims of each plaintiff is less than $2,000.

184 F. 932 reversed.

The facts, which involve the question of whether the sum or value of the matter in dispute was sufficient to give the circuit court jurisdiction, are stated in the opinion.

VANDEVANTER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was a suit in equity wherein the jurisdiction of the circuit court was invoked on the ground of diverse citizenship, and the sole question now presented for decision

Page 40

is whether the sum or value of the matter in dispute exceeded $2,000, exclusive of interest and costs, as required by the Act of August 13, 1888, c. 866, § 1, 25 Stat. 433. The facts are these:

Upon a sale of land situated in the Western District of Kentucky, the vendor lawfully reserved a vendor's lien for the unpaid portion of the purchase price, for which he took two promissory notes of $1,200 each, payable in one and two years. Shortly thereafter, the notes were assigned to the present appellants, one to each, and by the law of Kentucky the vendor's lien passed to the assignees, as a common security for the payment of both notes, without any priority of right in either assignee. After the maturity of the notes, both remaining wholly unpaid, the assignees jointly brought this suit to enforce the vendor's lien. They and their assignor were citizens of Indiana, and the defendant, who acquired the land with notice of the lien, was a citizen of Kentucky.

By a demurrer to the bill, the defendant...

To continue reading