256 U.S. 490 (1921), 25, Ex Parte State of New York, No. 1

Docket NºNo. 25, Original
Citation256 U.S. 490, 41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057
Party NameEx Parte State of New York, No. 1
Case DateJune 01, 1921
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 490

256 U.S. 490 (1921)

41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057

Ex Parte State of New York, No. 1

No. 25, Original

United States Supreme Court

June 1, 1921

Argued December 13, 14, 1920

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION

AND/OR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

Syllabus

1. The power to issue a writ of prohibition to prevent a district court from exceeding its jurisdiction in admiralty is conferred upon this Court by Jud.Code, § 234, and may be exercised in a clear case even where an ultimate remedy exists by appeal. Pp. 496, 503.

2. Under the Eleventh Amendment, an admiralty suit in personam cannot be brought against a state, without its consent, by an individual, whether a citizen of the state or not. P. 497.

3. Whether a suit in admiralty is a suit against a state is determined, not by the names of the titular parties, but by the essential nature and effect of the proceeding as it appears from the entire record. P. 500.

4. In suits in rem against privately owned steam tugs for injuries inflicted on libelants' barges, the tug owners, appearing as claimants, sought to implead the Superintendent of Public Works of the New York, alleging that the damages complained of were occasioned while the tugs were under charter to him officially and under his operation, control, and management pursuant to the state law, and praying that as such official he be cited into the suits to answer for the damages and, if not found, that the goods and chattels of the state used and controlled by him be attached. Monitions, issued accordingly, were served on him in the district. Held that these proceedings against the Superintendent were in personam, and, considering his functions under the state laws and the ultimate

Page 491

incidence of the relief sought, were essentially proceedings against the state, beyond the jurisdiction of the district court in admiralty. P. 501. Workman v. New York City, 179 U.S. 552, distinguished.

Rule absolute for a writ of prohibition.

Prohibition to restrain proceedings in admiralty in the district court. The case is stated in the opinion, post, 494.

Page 494

PITNEY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the Court.

Three separate libels in rem were filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of New

Page 495

York -- two against the steam tug Charlotte, her engines, boilers, machinery, etc., by one Dolloff and one Wagner, respectively, both residents and presumably citizens of the state of New York, to severally recover for damages alleged to have been caused to certain canal boats owned by them while navigated upon the Erie Canal in tow of the Charlotte, the other against the steam tug Henry Koerber, Jr., her boilers, engines, tackle, etc., by Murray Transportation Company, a corporation of the state of New York, bailee of a certain coal barge, to recover damages alleged to have been received by the barge while navigated upon the Erie Canal in tow of the Koerber. In each case, the tug was claimed by Frank F. Fix and Charles Fix, partners in business under [41 S.Ct. 589] the name of Fix Bros., of Buffalo, New York, and released from arrest on the filing of satisfactory stipulations. Claimants filed answers to the several libels, and at the same time filed petitions under admiralty Rule 59 (new Rule 56), setting up in each case that, at the time of the respective disasters and damage complained of, the tugs were under charter by claimants to Edward S. Walsh, Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York, who had entered into such charter parties under authority reposed in him by an act of the Legislature of the State of New York, being c. 264 of the Laws of 1919, and had the tugs under his operation, control, and management; that, if decrees should be ordered in the respective causes against the tugs, the claimants, because of their ownership of the vessels, would be called upon for payment, and thus would be mulcted in damages for the disasters, to which they were total strangers, and that, by reason of these facts, Edward S. Walsh, Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York, ought to be proceeded against in the same suits for such damages in accordance with the rule. The district court, pursuant to the prayer of these petitions, caused monitions to be issued in all

Page 496

three cases against Edward S. Walsh, superintendent of public works, citing him to appear and answer, and, in case he could not be found, that "the goods and chattels of the State of New York used and controlled by him" should be attached. The monitions were served upon Walsh within the jurisdiction of the court.

The Attorney General of the state appeared in all three cases specially in behalf of the state and the people thereof, and of Walsh, and filed a suggestion that the court was without jurisdiction to proceed against Walsh, as Superintendent of Public Works, for the reason that, as appeared upon the face of the proceedings, they were suits against the State of New York in which the state had not consented to be sued. The district court denied motions to dismiss the monitions (The Henry Koerber, Jr., 268 F. 561), whereupon the Attorney General, on behalf of the state and the people thereof, and of Walsh, as Superintendent and individually, under leave granted, filed in this Court a petition for writs of prohibition and mandamus. An order to show cause was issued, to which the district judge made a return, and upon this and the proceedings in the district court the matter has been argued.

The record shows that the charters had expired according to their terms, and the tugs were in possession of the claimants, neither the state nor Walsh having any claim upon or interest in them. At no time has any res belonging to the state or to Walsh, or in which they claim any interest, been attached or brought under the jurisdiction of the district court. Nor is any relief asked against Mr. Walsh individually; the proceedings against him being strictly in his capacity as a public officer.

The power to issue writs of prohibition to the district courts when proceeding as courts of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction is specifically conferred upon this Court by § 234, Judicial Code (Act March 3, 1911, c. 231, 36

Page 497

Stat. 1087, 1156). And the fact that the objection to the jurisdiction of the court below might be raised by an appeal from the final decree is not in all cases a valid objection to the issuance of a prohibition at the outset, where a court of admiralty assumes to take cognizance of matters over which it has no lawful jurisdiction. In re Cooper, 143 U.S. 472, 495.

That a state may not be sued without its consent is a fundamental rule of jurisprudence having so important a bearing upon the construction of the Constitution of the United States that it has become established by repeated decisions of this Court that the entire judicial power granted by the Constitution does not embrace authority to entertain a suit brought by private parties against a...

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  • 830 F.Supp. 1156 (N.D.Ind. 1993), 3 93-CV-493, Siderits v. State of Indiana
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Indiana
    • 8 Septiembre 1993
    ...State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98, 104 S.Ct. 900, 907, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1984) (quoting Ex parte State of New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497, 41 S.Ct. 588, 589, 65 L.Ed. 1057 (1921)). The Eleventh Amendment precludes a citizen of one state from bringing federal court suits against ......
  • 531 P.2d 884 (Wyo. 1975), 4365, Retail Clerks Local 187 AFL-CIO v. University of Wyoming
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 29 Enero 1975
    ...but by the essential nature and effect of the proceeding, as it appears from the entire record (citations).' In re State of New York, 256 U.S. 490, 500, 41 S.Ct. 588, 590, 65 L.Ed. 1057. Also see Anderson v. Argraves, 146 Conn. 316, 150 A.2d 295, 297; Stucker v. Muscatine, 249 Iowa 485, 87 ......
  • 341 F.Supp.2d 1057 (W.D.Wis. 2004), 04-C-0477, Wisconsin v. Abbott Laboratories
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Western District of Wisconsin
    • 5 Octubre 2004
    ...essential nature and effect of the proceedings." Adden v. Middlebrooks, 688 F.2d 1147, 1150 (7th Cir.1982) (citing Ex parte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 500, 41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057 (1921)). The court must determine whether plaintiff has "a substantial stake in the outcome of the c......
  • 177 N.E. 322 (Ind. 1931), 26,055, State, ex rel. Meyer-Kiser Bank v. Superior Court of Marion County
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 24 Julio 1931
    ...final decree, with inevitably futile result, the writ of prohibition should be issued as prayed." Ex parte State of New York (1921), 256 U.S. 490, 41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057. Having concluded that the Marion Superior Court is without jurisdiction to hear and determine the questions pr......
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415 cases
  • 830 F.Supp. 1156 (N.D.Ind. 1993), 3 93-CV-493, Siderits v. State of Indiana
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Northern District of Indiana
    • 8 Septiembre 1993
    ...State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98, 104 S.Ct. 900, 907, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1984) (quoting Ex parte State of New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497, 41 S.Ct. 588, 589, 65 L.Ed. 1057 (1921)). The Eleventh Amendment precludes a citizen of one state from bringing federal court suits against ......
  • 531 P.2d 884 (Wyo. 1975), 4365, Retail Clerks Local 187 AFL-CIO v. University of Wyoming
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 29 Enero 1975
    ...but by the essential nature and effect of the proceeding, as it appears from the entire record (citations).' In re State of New York, 256 U.S. 490, 500, 41 S.Ct. 588, 590, 65 L.Ed. 1057. Also see Anderson v. Argraves, 146 Conn. 316, 150 A.2d 295, 297; Stucker v. Muscatine, 249 Iowa 485, 87 ......
  • 341 F.Supp.2d 1057 (W.D.Wis. 2004), 04-C-0477, Wisconsin v. Abbott Laboratories
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Western District of Wisconsin
    • 5 Octubre 2004
    ...essential nature and effect of the proceedings." Adden v. Middlebrooks, 688 F.2d 1147, 1150 (7th Cir.1982) (citing Ex parte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 500, 41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057 (1921)). The court must determine whether plaintiff has "a substantial stake in the outcome of the c......
  • 177 N.E. 322 (Ind. 1931), 26,055, State, ex rel. Meyer-Kiser Bank v. Superior Court of Marion County
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 24 Julio 1931
    ...final decree, with inevitably futile result, the writ of prohibition should be issued as prayed." Ex parte State of New York (1921), 256 U.S. 490, 41 S.Ct. 588, 65 L.Ed. 1057. Having concluded that the Marion Superior Court is without jurisdiction to hear and determine the questions pr......
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1 firm's commentaries
11 books & journal articles
  • The Alden Trilogy: praise and protest.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 23 Nbr. 2, March 2000
    • 22 Marzo 2000
    ...suit in federal court. See Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatack, 501 U.S. 775 (1991) (when sued by an Indian Tribe); Ex parte New York, 256 U.S. 490 (1921) (in admiralty suits); Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313 (1934) (suits brought by foreign Conversely, the Eleventh Amendment is con......
  • Puerto Rico's Eleventh Amendment status anxiety.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 120 Nbr. 8, June 2011
    • 1 Junio 2011
    ...Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509,517 (2004). (8.) See, e.g., Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe, 521 U.S. 261,267-68 (1997); Exparte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497 (1921); Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1 (1890). (9.) See Coll. Sav. Bank v. Fla. Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd., 527 U.S. 666, 669......
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    • The Journal of High Technology Law Vol. 2 Nbr. 1, January 2003
    • 1 Enero 2003
    ...[section] 1337 ([section] 37 of the Trade Act of 1930, as amended) (2000). (144.) U.S. CONST. amend. XI. See, e.g., Ex parte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497 (1921) (finding that federal courts lack jurisdiction to entertain suit against state by citizens of another state, because of Eleventh Am......
  • The Eleventh Amendment and the reading of precise constitutional texts.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 113 Nbr. 8, June 2004
    • 1 Junio 2004
    ...bar admiralty suits against states, even though such actions are not technically "suit[s] in law or equity"); Ex parte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497 (1921) (same). (10.) See Fed. Mar. Comm'n v. S.C. State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 760-61 (2002) (holding that sovereign immunity appl......
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