234 U.S. 74 (1914), 338, Taylor v. Anderson

Docket Nº:No. 338
Citation:234 U.S. 74, 34 S.Ct. 724, 58 L.Ed. 1218
Party Name:Taylor v. Anderson
Case Date:May 25, 1914
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 74

234 U.S. 74 (1914)

34 S.Ct. 724, 58 L.Ed. 1218

Taylor

v.

Anderson

No. 338

United States Supreme Court

May 25, 1914

Submitted April 30, 1914

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA

Syllabus

Whether a case begun in a district court is one arising under the Constitution or a law or treaty of the United States in the sense of the jurisdictional statute (Judicial Code § 24) must be determined from what necessarily appears in the plaintiff's statement of his own claim in the declaration unaided by anything alleged in anticipation or avoidance of defenses which may be interposed by defendant.

197 F. 383 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of the district court of the United States under § 24, Judicial Code, are stated in the opinion.

VANDEVANTER, J., lead opinion

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

The judgment here under review is one of dismissal for want of jurisdiction. The action was in ejectment. The petition alleged that the plaintiffs were owners in fee and entitled to the possession; that the defendants had forcibly taken possession and were wrongfully keeping the plaintiffs out of possession, and that the latter were damaged thereby in a sum named. Nothing more was required to state a good cause of action. Snyder's Comp.Laws (Okla.) §§ 5627, 6122; Joy v. St. Louis, 201 U.S. 332, 340. But the petition, going beyond what was required, alleged

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with much detail that the defendants were asserting ownership in themselves under a certain deed, and that it was void under the legislation of Congress restricting the alienation of lands allotted to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. However essential or appropriate these allegations might have been in a bill in equity to cancel or annul the deed, they were neither essential nor appropriate in a petition in ejectment. Apparently, their purpose was to anticipate and avoid a defense which it was supposed the defendants would interpose, but, of course, it rested with the defendants to select their ground of defense, and it well might be that this one would not be interposed. In the orderly course, the plaintiffs were required to state their own case in the first instance, and then to deal with the defendants' after it should be disclosed in the answer. Snyder's Comp.Laws, §§ 5634, 5642,...

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