226 U.S. 112 (1912), 22, Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh

Docket NºNo. 22
Citation226 U.S. 112, 33 S.Ct. 69, 57 L.Ed. 146
Party NameSelover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh
Case DateDecember 02, 1912
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 112

226 U.S. 112 (1912)

33 S.Ct. 69, 57 L.Ed. 146

Selover, Bates & Co.

v.

Walsh

No. 22

United States Supreme Court

December 2, 1912

Submitted October 29, 1912

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

Syllabus

With the ruling of the state court as to the applicability of a state statute to a particular contract this Court has nothing to do. It is concerned only with the question of whether, as so applied, the law violated the federal Constitution.

The court may, through action upon or constraint of the person within its jurisdiction, affect property in other states.

The obligation of a contract is the law under which it was made, even though it may affect lands in another state, and, in an action which

Page 113

does not affect the land itself but which is strictly personal, the law of the state where the contract is made gives the right and measure of recovery.

A contract made in one state for the sale of land in another can be enforced in the former according to the lex loci contractu, and not according to the lex rei sitae. Polson v. Stewart, 167 Mass. 211, approved.

Where the state court has construed a state law as applied to the case at bar, this Court will presume that the state court will make the statute effective as so construed in other cases. This Court will not anticipate the ruling of the state court.

A state statute providing that the vendor of lands cannot cancel the contract without reasonable written notice with opportunity to the vendee to comply with the terms is within the police power of the state, and so held that Chapter 223 of the Laws of 1897 of Minnesota is not unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment as depriving a vendor of his property without due process of law or denying him the equal protection of the law.

The test of equal protection of the law is whether all parties are treated alike in the same situation.

Contentions as to unconstitutionality of a state statute not made in the court below cannot be made in this Court.

A corporation cannot claim the protection of the clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which secures the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States against abridgment or impairment by the laws of a state. Western Turf Association v. Greenberg, 204 U.S. 359.

109 Minn. 136 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of a contract made in Minnesota for sale of land situated in Colorado, and the application thereto of a statute of Minnesota, are stated in the opinion.

Page 120

MCKENNA, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.

Error to the Supreme Court of Minnesota to review a judgment of that court awarding damages to defendant in error for a breach by plaintiff in error of an executory contract for the sale of land situated in the State of Colorado.

The contract was made by one Bates for plaintiff in error at the office of the latter, in the City of Minneapolis, he being one of its officers, with P. D. Walsh, the husband of defendant in error. Walsh, however, actually signed the contract at his residence in South Dakota. He subsequently assigned his interest to her, as Bates did to plaintiff in error.

Plaintiff in error, asserting that Walsh had made default of the terms of the contract, cancelled it and subsequently sold the land to other parties. This action was then brought by defendant in error, resulting in a judgment for her which was affirmed by the supreme court. 109 Minn. 136.

By the contract, Bates, the assignor of plaintiff in error, covenanted to convey the land to Walsh, the assignor of defendant in error, reserving certain mining rights therein. Payments were to be made in installments at the office of plaintiff in error in Minneapolis, punctually, and it was stipulated "that time and punctuality" were "material and essential ingredients" of the contract. It was convenanted, that in case of failure to make the payments

Page 121

"punctually and upon the strict terms and times" limited, and upon default thereof or in the strict and literal performance of any other covenant, the contract at the option of the party of the first part (Bates), should become utterly null and void, and the rights of the party of the second part (Walsh) should, "at the option of the party of the first part, utterly cease and determine" as if "the contract had never been made." There was forfeiture of the sums paid and a reversion of all rights conveyed, including the right to take immediate possession of the land "without process of law," and it was covenanted that no court should "relieve the party of the second part upon failure to comply strictly and literally" with the contract.

[33 S.Ct. 71] The default of Walsh consisted in the failure to pay taxes, and plaintiff in error elected to terminate the contract, and gave notice of such election to him in writing in the State of North Dakota. Against the effect of such default and notice, defendant in error opposed Chapter 223, Laws of Minnesota, which provides that a vendor in a contract for the sale of land shall have no right to cancel, terminate, or declare a forfeiture of the contract except upon thirty days' written notice to the vendee, and that the latter shall have thirty days after service of such notice in which to perform the conditions or comply with the provisions upon which default shall have occurred.

The trial court and the supreme court held the statute applicable, and judgment went, as we have said, for defendant in error. This ruling is attacked on the ground that, as so applied, the statute offends against the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States in that it deprives plaintiff in error of its property without due process of law and of the equal protection of the laws.

With the ruling of the court as to the applicability of the statute to the...

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58 practice notes
  • 4 S.E.2d 776 (Va. 1939), Morrison v. Morrison
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • October 9, 1939
    ...is situated in the state of North Carolina. This is an attack upon the court's jurisdiction. In the case of Selover, etc., Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 33 S.Ct. 69, 71, 57 L.Ed. 146, there was involved a judgment of the supreme court of Minnesota awarding damages to the defendant in error fo......
  • 158 P.2d 134 (Utah 1945), 6779, Johnson v. Allen
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court of Utah
    • April 20, 1945
    ...Callaway v. Prettyman, supra; Detroit & Cleveland Nav. Co. v. Hade, 106 Ohio St. 464, 140 N.E. 180; Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 33 S.Ct. 69, 57 L.Ed. 146; Polson v. Stewart, 167 Mass. 211, 45 N.E. 737, 36 L.R.A. 771, 57 Am. St. Rep. 442; Story, Conflict of Laws, Sec......
  • 274 U.S. 76 (2016), Southern Railway Co. v. Kentucky
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Supreme Court
    • April 11, 1927
    ...Texas, 202 U.S. 446, 452; Montana v. Rice, 204 U.S. 291, 301; Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 180; Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112; Illinois Central R. Co. v. Mulberry Coal Co., 238 U.S. 275, 281; Bullen v. Wisconsin, 240 U.S. 625, 632; Hiawassee River P. Co. v. Power Co......
  • 149 N.W. 721 (N.D. 1914), Wilson v. Kryger
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • November 12, 1914
    ...109 Minn. 136, 123 N.W. 291. The lex loci contractus governs in the cancelation of a land sale contract. Selover, B. & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 57 L.Ed. 146, 33 S.Ct. 69. The contract itself involves certain rights of the parties, irrespective of where the subject-matter thereof is l......
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56 cases
  • 4 S.E.2d 776 (Va. 1939), Morrison v. Morrison
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • October 9, 1939
    ...is situated in the state of North Carolina. This is an attack upon the court's jurisdiction. In the case of Selover, etc., Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 33 S.Ct. 69, 71, 57 L.Ed. 146, there was involved a judgment of the supreme court of Minnesota awarding damages to the defendant in error fo......
  • 158 P.2d 134 (Utah 1945), 6779, Johnson v. Allen
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court of Utah
    • April 20, 1945
    ...Callaway v. Prettyman, supra; Detroit & Cleveland Nav. Co. v. Hade, 106 Ohio St. 464, 140 N.E. 180; Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 33 S.Ct. 69, 57 L.Ed. 146; Polson v. Stewart, 167 Mass. 211, 45 N.E. 737, 36 L.R.A. 771, 57 Am. St. Rep. 442; Story, Conflict of Laws, Sec......
  • 274 U.S. 76 (2016), Southern Railway Co. v. Kentucky
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Supreme Court
    • April 11, 1927
    ...Texas, 202 U.S. 446, 452; Montana v. Rice, 204 U.S. 291, 301; Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 180; Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112; Illinois Central R. Co. v. Mulberry Coal Co., 238 U.S. 275, 281; Bullen v. Wisconsin, 240 U.S. 625, 632; Hiawassee River P. Co. v. Power Co......
  • 149 N.W. 721 (N.D. 1914), Wilson v. Kryger
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • November 12, 1914
    ...109 Minn. 136, 123 N.W. 291. The lex loci contractus governs in the cancelation of a land sale contract. Selover, B. & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 57 L.Ed. 146, 33 S.Ct. 69. The contract itself involves certain rights of the parties, irrespective of where the subject-matter thereof is l......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Forms Of Business Association-Definitions And Distinctions
    • United States
    • Corporate Counsel Guides: Corporation Law
    • July 3, 2012
    ...or shareholders, see Chapter 7. 2. Asbury Hosp. v. Cass County, 326 U.S. 207, 210–12 (1945); Selover, Bates & Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112, 126 3. See, e.g., Allenberg Cotton Co. v. Pittman, 419 U.S. 20, 32–34 (1974) (state court does not have jurisdiction over corporation incorporated in......
  • The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction.
    • United States
    • Constitutional Commentary Vol. 16 Nbr. 2, June 1999
    • June 22, 1999
    ...75 U.S. (8 Wall.) 168, 179-85 (1868). (35.) Asbury Hospital v. Cass County, 326 U.S. 207 (1945); Selover, Bates and Co. v. Walsh, 226 U.S. 112 (1912); Western Turf Ass'n v. Greenberg, 204 U.S. 359 (1907); Orient Ins. Co. v. Daggs, 172 U.S. 557 (1899). (36.) 25 F. Cases 239 (C.C.D. Va. 1800)......