224 S.W.2d 105 (Mo. 1949), 41461, State ex rel. Southern Ry. Co. v. Mayfield

Docket Nº:41461, 41558
Citation:224 S.W.2d 105, 359 Mo. 827
Opinion Judge:Tipton, J.
Party Name:State of Missouri, at the Relation of Southern Railway Company, a Corporation, Relator, v. Waldo C. Mayfield, Judge of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, and His Successors, as Presiding Judge of Said Court, Respondent. State of Missouri ex rel. the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, a Corporation, Relator, v. The Hon
Attorney:John H. Lathrop, Sam D. Parker, Donald H. Sharp, Walter R. Mayne, and Fred W. Schwarz for relator Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. Kramer, Campbell, Costello & Wiechert, Fordyce, White, Mayne, Williams & Hartman, F. W. Schwarz and Thomas Rowe Schwarz for relator Southern Railway Compa...
Case Date:October 10, 1949
Court:Supreme Court of Missouri

Page 105

224 S.W.2d 105 (Mo. 1949)

359 Mo. 827

State of Missouri, at the Relation of Southern Railway Company, a Corporation, Relator,

v.

Waldo C. Mayfield, Judge of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, and His Successors, as Presiding Judge of Said Court, Respondent. State of Missouri ex rel. the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, a Corporation, Relator,

v.

The Honorable David J. Murphy, Judge of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, and His Successors, as Presiding Judge of Said Court, Respondent

Nos. 41461, 41558

Supreme Court of Missouri

October 10, 1949

Rehearing Denied November 14, 1949.

Original Proceeding in Mandamus.

Writ quashed.

SYLLABUS

Mandamus actions, consolidated for argument, against respondent circuit judges to compel them to exercise their judicial discretion as to whether they should dismiss upon the ground of forum non conveniens respective actions brought by nonresident plaintiffs under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. The respondent circuit judges do not have such discretion and the writs are quashed.

John H. Lathrop, Sam D. Parker, Donald H. Sharp, Walter R. Mayne, and Fred W. Schwarz for relator Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company.

(1) The trial court had jurisdiction to entertain or grant defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens. The doctrine of forum non conveniens is applicable to suits brought under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. Federal Employers' Liability Act, Sec. 6; 45 U.S.C.A. 56; Douglas v. New Haven R. Co., 279 U.S. 377, 49 S.Ct. 355; Chesapeake & O. Ry. Co. v. Kuhn, 284 U.S. 44, 52 S.Ct. 45; Lavender v. Kurn, 355 Mo. 168, 195 S.W.2d 460, certiorari denied 329 U.S. 762, 67 S.Ct. 111; Jenkins v. Kurn, 348 Mo. 942, 156 S.W.2d 668, 313 U.S. 256, 61 S.Ct. 934; Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Kepner, 313 U.S. 542, 61 S.Ct. 841; 28 U.S. Judicial Code, 1404(a). (2) The decisions of this court cited and relied upon by the trial court do not deprive the trial court of discretion to entertain or grant such a motion. Bright v. Wheelock, 323 Mo. 840, 20 S.W.2d 684; Shaw v. Chicago & Alton Railroad Co., 314 Mo. 123, 282 S.W. 416; Wells v. Davis, 303 Mo. 388, 261 S.W. 58; State ex rel. Foraker v. Hoffman, 309 Mo. 625, 274 S.W. 362; Hoffman v. State ex rel. Foraker, 274 U.S. 21, 47 S.Ct. 485. (3) The Missouri statutes do not attempt to deny the right of courts to apply the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Sec. 14, Mo. Code of Civil Procedure; Newlin v. The Railroad, 222 Mo. 375, 121 S.W. 125; State ex rel. Walker v. State Board of Health, 61 S.W.2d 925; Cary v. Schmeltz, 141 Mo.App. 570, 125 S.W. 532; Maxey v. Railey Bros. Banking Co., 57 S.W.2d 1091; Mosely v. Empire Gas & Fuel Co., 313 Mo. 225, 281 S.W. 762. (4) Missouri courts have a fundamental and inherent power to apply the doctrine of forum non conveniens to prevent injustice. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S.Ct. 839; Chicago, B. & Q.R. Co. v. Gildersleeve, 219 Mo. 170, 118 S.W. 86; State ex rel. South Missouri Pine Co. v. Deering, 180 Mo. 53, 79 S.W. 454; Sec. 645, R.S. 1939; Dickey v. Volker, 321 Mo. 235, 11 S.W.2d 278; Hawkinson v. Johnston, 122 F.2d 724; Van Denburgh v. Tungsten Reef Mines Co., 48 Ariz. 540, 63 P.2d 647; Murnan v. Wabash R. Co., 246 N.Y. 244, 158 N.E. 508; Whitney v. Madden, 400 Ill. 185, 79 N.E.2d 593; Universal Adj. Corp. v. Bank, 281 Mass. 303, 184 N.E. 152; Bethlehem Fab., Inc., v. Watts, 286 Mass. 556, 190 N.E. 828; Lydia Pinkham Med. Co. v. Gove, 298 Mass. 53, 9 N.E.2d 573; Pinson v. Potter, 298 Mass. 109, 10 N.E.2d 136; Kantakevich v. Delaware, L. & W.R. Co., 18 N.J. Misc. 77, 10 A.2d 651; Standard S. & C. Co., N.Y., v. Caravel Indust. Corp., 128 N.J.Eq. 104, 15 A.2d 258; Anderson v. Delaware, L. & W.R. Co., 18 N.J. Misc. 153, 11 A.2d 607; James H. Rhodes & Co. v. Chausovsky, 137 N.J.L. 459, 60 A.2d 623; Jackson & Sons v. Lumbermen's Mut. Cas. Co., 86 N.H. 341, 168 A. 895; Horner v. Pleasant Creek Mining Corp., 165 Ore. 683, 107 P.2d 989; Stewart v. Litchenberg, 148 La. 195, 86 So. 734; Hagen v. Viney, 124 Fla. 747, 169 So. 391; Overfield v. Pennroad Corp., 113 F.2d 6; Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S.Ct. 839; Douglas v. N.Y. & N.H.R. Co., 279 U.S. 377, 49 S.Ct. 355. (5) The facts in this case demonstrate the need for the application of the doctrine of forum non conveniens to prevent undue expense and harassments to Missouri courts and to this defendant. Logan v. Bank of Scotland, 1 K.B. 141; Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S.Ct. 839; 27 Texas Law Review, No. 5.

Kramer, Campbell, Costello & Wiechert, Fordyce, White, Mayne, Williams & Hartman, F. W. Schwarz and Thomas Rowe Schwarz for relator Southern Railway Company.

Joseph B. McGlynn and Roberts P. Elam for respondent Waldo C. Mayfield, Judge. Harvey B. Cox and Roberts P. Elam for David J. Murphy, Judge; Jerome F. Duggan, William F. Smith and Cox & Cox of counsel.

(1) The alternative writs of mandamus herein were improvidently granted and must be quashed, because independently of the Federal Employers' Liability Act venue provisions, the circuit courts of Missouri have no power to dismiss an action under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, and, therefore, the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis had no jurisdiction to entertain or grant relators' motions based upon that doctrine in the Blevins and Seachris cases. By virtue of the constitutional and statutory provisions of this state, the doctrine of forum non conveniens is no part of the law of this state. Art. 1, Secs. 10, 14, Art. V, Sec. 14, Constitution of Missouri 1945; Sec. 14, Civil Code of Missouri; Laws 1943, p. 360, sec. 14; State ex rel. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Grimm, 239 Mo. 135, 143 S.W. 483; Gold Issue Mining & Milling Co. v. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., 267 Mo. 524, 184 S.W. 899; British-American Portland Cement Co. v. Citizens Gas Co., 255 Mo. 1, 164 S.W. 468; Burg v. Knox, 67 S.W.2d 96; Second Employers' Liability Cases (Mondou v. New York, N.H. & H.R. Co.), 223 U.S. 1, 32 S.Ct. 169, 56 L.Ed. 327; McKnett v. St. Louis & S.F.R. Co., 292 U.S. 230, 54 S.Ct. 690, 78 L.Ed. 1227; Hoffman v. State ex rel. Foraker, 274 U.S. 21, 47 S.Ct. 485, 71 L.Ed. 905; Denver v. R.G.W.R. Co. v. Terte, 284 U.S. 284, 52 S.Ct. 152, 76 L.Ed. 515; Wells v. Davis, 303 Mo. 388, 261 S.W. 58; State ex rel. Foraker v. Hoffman, 309 Mo. 625, 274 S.W. 362; Shaw v. Chicago & A.R. Co., 314 Mo. 123, 282 S.W. 416; Bright v. Wheelock, 323 Mo. 840, 20 S.W.2d 684. (2) The constitutional and statutory provisions of this state having given citizens of this state access to its courts for the enforcement of transitory actions for damages for personal injuries arising outside the state, irrespective of the residence of defendant, to deprive citizens of other states similar access to the courts of this state would violate the "privileges and immunities" and "due process of law" clauses of the Federal Constitution. Art. IV, Sec. 2, Constitution of the United States; Amendment 14, Sec. 1, Constitution of the United States; Decisions cited under point (I) supra; Cole v. Cunningham, 133 U.S. 107, 10 S.Ct. 271, 33 L.Ed. 338; Chambers v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., 207 U.S. 142, 28 S.Ct. 34, 52 L.Ed. 143; Missouri Pac. R. Co. v. Clarendon Boat Oar Co., 257 U.S. 533, 42 S.Ct. 210, 66 L.Ed. 354. (3) Such access to the courts of this state is not dependent upon comity, in the sense in which relators use that term here. It is a substantive right under our state statutory and constitutional provisions, and under the mentioned clauses of the Federal Constitution. State ex rel. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Grimm, 239 Mo. 135, 143 S.W. 483; State of Okla. ex rel. Freeling v. Natl. City Bank, 220 Mo.App. 474, 274 S.W. 945; Chambers v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., 207 U.S. 142, 28 S.Ct. 34, 52 L.Ed. 143. (4) This is particularly true where, as here, the cause of action accrues under a Federal statute, which is the law in and of any and all states, and is not the law of a foreign state or jurisdiction. Second Employers' Liability Cases (Mondou v. New York, N.H. & H.R. Co.), 223 U.S. 1, 32 S.Ct. 169, 56 L.Ed. 327; Wells v. Davis, 303 Mo. 388, 261 S.W. 58. (5) By virtue of the provisions of Section 6 of the Federal Employers' Liability Act the doctrine of forum non conveniens is precluded from being applied to actions under that Act. The provisions of that section of the Act grant a substantive right of selection of forum. 45 U.S.C.A., sec. 56; Kepner v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., 314 U.S. 44, 62 S.Ct. 6, 86 L.Ed. 28; Miles v. Illinois Central R. Co., 315 U.S. 698, 62 S.Ct. 827, 86 L.Ed. 1129; Kilpatrick v. Texas & P.R. Co., 166 F.2d 788; Schendel v. McGee, 300 F. 273; Akerly v. New York Central R. Co., 168 F.2d 812; Sacco v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., 56 F.Supp. 959. (6) The right and privilege is absolute, and precludes the application of forum non conveniens to any action brought under that Act in either state or federal courts. Kepner v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., supra; Miles v. Illinois Central R. Co., supra; Kilpatrick v. Texas & P.R. Co., supra; Sacco v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., supra; Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S.Ct. 389, 91 L.Ed. 1055; United States v. Natl. City Lines, 334 U.S. 573, 68 S.Ct. 1169, 92 L.Ed. 1584; Ex parte Collett, 337 U.S. 55, 69 S.Ct. 944, 93 L.Ed. 901; Leet v. Union Pacific R. Co., 25 Cal.2d 605, 155 P.2d 42, certiorari denied 325 U.S. 866, 65 S.Ct. 1403, 89 L.Ed. 1986. (7) The enactment of Section 1404 (a) of the Judicial Code [28 U.S.C.A., Sec. 1404 (a)] in no way affected the inapplicability of the doctrine of forum non conveniens to actions under the Federal Employers' Liability Act in the courts of the various states, because Section 1404 (a) did not have the effect of repealing any of the provisions of Section 6 of the Federal Employers' Liability Act, which are the basis for the inapplicability of that doctrine to actions...

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