406 F.2d 830 (6th Cir. 1969), 18485, State of Ga. v. City of Chattanooga, Tennessee

Docket Nº:18485.
Citation:406 F.2d 830
Party Name:STATE OF GEORGIA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:February 06, 1969
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 830

406 F.2d 830 (6th Cir. 1969)

STATE OF GEORGIA, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 18485.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

February 6, 1969

Page 831

Harold N. Hill, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Atlanta, Ga., for appellant, Arthur K. Bolton, Atty. Gen., Alexander Cocalis, Asst. Atty. Gen., Atlanta, Ga., Ben F.

Page 832

Smith, Deputy Asst. Atty. Gen., Marietta, Ga., Chambliss, Hodge, Bahner & Crawford, Chattanooga, Tenn., on the brief.

Ellis K. Meacham, and Richard P. Jahn, Chattanooga, Tenn., for appellee, Eugene N. Collins, City Atty., Will Allen Wilkerson, Chattanooga, Tenn., on the brief.

Before WEICK, Chief Judge and O'SULLIVAN and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges.

WEICK, Chief Judge.

The controversy here is over a locomotive named 'General,' a relic of the Civil War, alleged by appellant, State of Georgia, to be--

'(A) valuable piece of equipment in the history of railroading and a historical monument to the bravery of Federal and Confederate soldiers by virtue of its having been captured by a Federal raiding party at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia, and recaptured near Ringgold, Georgia, following what is now known as the 'great locomotive chase."

Georgia claims to be the owner of the 'General'. It asserts that when the locomotive was being shipped to it, by rail on a flatcar of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company (L&N) from Louisville, Kentucky, to Kennesaw, formerly Big Shanty, Georgia, the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on September 12, 1967, caused the locomotive to be seized pursuant to a writ of attachment and injunction obtained ex parte in the Chancery Court of Hamilton County, Tennessee, against L&N, upon allegations that the City had acquired a proprietary and prescriptive interest in the locomotive, which allegations the State alleges were false and unsupported. The attachment was executed by causing the main north-south freight line of the railroad to be blocked with automobiles placed across the tracks, thereby stopping the train. The City also instituted condemnation proceedings in the Circuit Court of said county against L&N, the Western & Atlantic Railroad Company, and the State of Georgia, to acquire ownership of the 'General' by condemnation, which proceedings it later dismissed without prejudice. 1

The State of Georgia was not a party to the state court attachment and injunction suit and no process was served on it.

L&N removed the attachment and injunction suit to the District Court on the ground of diversity of citizenship. The action is presently pending in that court.

When the State of Gerogia learned what had happened, it instituted the present action in the District Court against the City, alleging that the seizure of its property moving in an interstate shipment, constituted an undue and unlawful burden on interstate commerce, in violation of Article I, § 8, clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States, and prayed for declaratory relief that it was the lawful owner of the 'General' and entitled to possession thereof. Jurisdiction of the Court was based on 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a), which provides as follows:

'The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.'

Specifically, Georgia claims that this case arises under the Constitution and...

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