American School of Magnetic Healing v. Annulty

Citation23 S.Ct. 33,47 L.Ed. 90,187 U.S. 94
Decision Date29 January 1902
Docket NumberNo. 27,27
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

This is an appeal under § 5 of the circuit court of appeals act of 1891, to review directly the decree of the circuit court of the United States for the western district of Missouri, dismissing the bill of complainants (appellants) on the merits. The bill, as amended by leave of the court, averred in substance that the complainants are, the one a business corporation incorporated under the laws of and doing business in the state of Missouri, and the other a resident and citizen of the state of Missouri; that the defendant was, at the time of the filing of the bill and at the times therein stated, postmaster in charge of the United States postoffice in the city of Nevada, state of Missouri, and a resident and a citizen of that state; that as such postmaster he has the exclusive management of the postoffice in the city of Nevada, and of the receipt and distribution of mail received at that city through the United States mails.

It was further averred that the American School of Magnetic Healing is located and has its chief office and place of business at the city of Nevada, and the complainant Kelly was at the time of the filing of the bill and at all the dates and times mentioned therein secretary, treasurer, and general manager of the corporation. In November, 1897, he located at Nevada, and engaged in the business of healing diseases and ailments of the human family, and the business of teaching the science of healing of human ills, and that in April, 1898, he procured the incorporation of the business under the laws of the state of Missouri, under the name of the American School of Magnetic Healing, and among the stockholders of the company the complainant Kelly was one; that large buildings were erected for such business, and large amounts expended in advertising the same. The bill further averred as follows:

'That in and about their business they carried on and conducted, not only the treating of people afflicted with ills at their establishment at said city, but also engaged in the business of teaching and educating others in the practical science of healing, and that a large amount of their business consists of treatment by letter and advice to people throughout the United States and foreign countries; and in the treatment under said circumstances, they have built up a large and extensive business in the way of receipts of such treatment, received through the United States mail, by letter, registered package, and otherwise, in the nature of checks, drafts, and United States moneys; that said business has grown to such an extent that, immediately and for a long time prior to the grievances hereinafter complained of, the receipts through the United States mails, in the manner aforesaid, for the treatment of persons throughout the United States and foreign countries, have reached and averaged about from $1,000 to $1,600 per day.

'And your orators state that said business is a legal and legitimate business, conducted according to business and legal methods, and is founded largely, and almost exclusively, on the physical and practical proposition that the mind of the human race is largely responsible for its ills, and is a perceptible factor in the treating, curing, benefiting, and remedying thereof.

'And that the human race does possess the innate power, through proper exercise of the faculty of the brain and mind, to largely control and remedy the ills that humanity is heir to and complainants discard and eliminate from their treatment what is commonly known as divine healing and Christian science, and complainants are confined to practical scientific treatment, emanating from the source aforesaid.

'That for a long time previous and prior to the grievances hereinafter mentioned, said corporation has been sending out a large amount of advertising matter through the United States postoffice at said city of Nevada, and that all of its receipts, by checks, drafts, or money orders aforesaid, have been received by and delivered to them through the United States postoffice at the city of Nevada, of which the respondent herein has exclusive charge as postmaster aforesaid, and had, during the time aforesaid, been receiving a large number of letters addressed to said institution and to its office, regarding its treatment and manner of treatment, and business letters pertaining to, and inquiring into, the manner of treatment.

'That all such mail, letters, and communications are generally addressed and directed to the American School of Magnetic Healing at said city, and that in many cases said letters are and may be addressed to said J. H. Kelly, secretary or treasurer or manager, or to J. H. Kelly, individually, or to Prof. J. H. Kelly, or to J. H. Kelly or Prof. J. H. Kelly, secretary, treasurer, or manager of the American School of Magnetic Healing.

'That said Kelly is also receiving, and for a long time past has been receiving, letters addressed to him individually upon social matters from friends and acquaintances, and concerning business not pertaining to or connected with the business hereinafter stated.

'That prior to the grievances hereinafter mentioned, said institute was recdiving in the way of letters addressed to it or to its officers in the manner aforesaid, an average of about the sum of 3,000 letters per day, and ever since the happening of the grievances hereinafter mentioned there have been accumulating in said postoffice letters belonging to your orator, addressed in the manner before stated, probably to the total number of 25,000 letters.

'That all of said letters, as your orators are informed and believe, are duly stamped and ready for delivery to them but for the action of the postmaster and Postal Department hereinafter mentioned.'

It was then averred that persons who were prompted by assumed competitive interference with their business complained to the United States Postoffice Department at Washington that complainants were not engaged in legitimate business, and therefore, on May 15, 1890, the Postoffice Department made the following order:

Postoffice Department,

Washington, D. C., May 15, 1900.

It having been made to appear to the Postmaster General, upon evidence satisfactory to him, that the American School of Magnetic Healing, S. A. Weltmer, president, J. H. Kelly, secretary, and J. A. Kelly, at Nevada, Missouri, are engaged in conducting a scheme or device for obtaining money through the mails by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, in violation of the act of Congress entitled 'An Act to Amend Certain Sections of the Revised Statutes Relating to Lotteries, and for Other Purposes, Approved September 19, 1900.'

Now, therefore, by authority vested in him by said act and by the act of Congress entitled 'An Act for the Suppression of Lottery Traffic through International and Interstate Commerce and the Postal Service, Subject to the Jurisdiction and Laws of the United States, Approved March 2, 1895,'1 the Postmaster General hereby forbids you to pay any postal money order drawn to the order of said concern and persons, and you are hereby directed to inform the remitter of any such postal money order that payment thereof has been forbidden, and that the amount thereof will be returned upon the presentation of a duplicate money order, applied for and obtained under the regulations of the Department.

And you are hereby instructed to return all letters, whether registered or not, and other mail matter which shall arrive at your office directed to the said concern and persons, to the postmasters at the offices at which they were originally mailed, to be delivered to the senders thereof, with the word 'fraudulent' plainly written or stamped upon the outside of such letters or matter. Provided, however, that where there is nothing to indicate who are the senders of letters not registered, or other matter, you are directed in that case to send such letters and matter to the dead letter office, with the word 'fraudulent' plainly written or stamped thereon, to be disposed of as other dead matter, under the laws and regulations applicable thereto.

Ch. Emory Smith,

Postmaster General.

To the Postmaster, Nevada, Missouri.

Since such order the defendant has refused to deliver any mail whatever to the complainants, and there had, when the bill was filed, as complainants aver on information and belief, accumulated at the postoffice at Nevada letters addressed to them containing checks, drafts, money orders, or money to an aggregate of at least $10,000 in value; that these checks, drafts, etc., came from various customers and clients throughout the United States and foreign countries, who had all been treated and for whom the complainants had performed services, under contracts with such parties, and that the sums were so sent in the respective letters in payment for services performed and rendered to the senders respectively, all of the senders being willing, and at all times have been willing, that their letters containing the remittances should be turned over to the complainants, they making no objection or complaint thereto.

The complainants further averred that they had been informed by the defendant that on Monday, the 28th day of May, then coming, he intended to stamp on each and every one of the letters addressed to the complainants, under any of the designations theretofore mentioned in the bill, the word 'fraudulent' across the face of each letter, without opening it and without knowing what such letter contained, or the nature or character of the contents, and that the defendant would then return the letter to the sender thereof in all cases where, from the outside of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
283 cases
  • In re Border Infrastructure Envtl. Litig., Case No.: 17cv1215–GPC(WVG)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of California
    • February 27, 2018 bring an ultra vires claim was first recognized by the Supreme Court decades earlier in American School of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94, 110, 23 S.Ct. 33, 47 L.Ed. 90 (1902).12 The parties dispute the origins of ultra vires review. Coalition Plaintiffs claim courts have inh......
  • Pennsylvania v. DeJoy
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • August 25, 2021 Congress could grant jurisdiction more plainly."30 33 F.3d 259, 261 (3d Cir. 1994). See also Am. School of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty , 187 U.S. 94, 108, 23 S.Ct. 33, 47 L.Ed. 90 (1902) (observing, in a challenge to the actions of the Postal Service, that"[i]n case an official violat......
  • Philadelphia Company v. Henry Stimson
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 4, 1912
    ...v. Union River Logging R. Co. 147 U. S. 165, 171, 172, 37 L. ed. 123, 125, 126, 13 Sup. Ct. Rep. 271; American School v. McAnnulty, 187 U. S. 94, 47 L. ed. 90, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 33. The complainant did not ask the court to interfere with the official discretion of the Secretary of War, but c......
  • United States Milwaukee Social Democratic Pub Co v. Burleson
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 7, 1921
    ...the statute under which he purports to act. Gegiow v. Uhl, 239 U. S. 36 Sup. Ct. 2, 60 L. Ed. 114; American School of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94, 23 Sup. Ct. 33, 47 L. Ed. 90. The fact that material appearing in a newspaper is unmailable under wholly different provisions of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • Ninth Circuit Off-Label Marketing Decision Suggests More Prosecutions Will Be Coming
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • March 14, 2013
    ...F.3d 993, 998 (9th Cir. 2003). Relying on an early 20th century Supreme Court decision, American School of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94 (1902, Harkonen argued that his conviction should be reversed because "genuine debates over whether a given treatment caused a particular eff......
7 books & journal articles
  • Equity's Constitutional Source.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 132 No. 5, March 2023
    • March 1, 2023
    ...403 U.S. 388, 399-404 (1971) (Harlan, J., concurring in the judgment). (326.) See, e.g., Am. Sch. of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94 (1902); Delaware, L. & W.R. Co. v. Stevens, 172 F. 595 (C.C.N.D.N.Y. (327.) See Thomas W. Merrill, Article III, Agency Adjudication, and the Or......
  • Administering the National Environmental Policy Act
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter No. 45-4, April 2015
    • April 1, 2015
    ...Overseer? , supra note 146, at 706-07; Mashaw, supra note 22, at 148-55. 207. See e.g. , American Sch. of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94, 108 (1902); City of Arlington v. FCC, 133 S. Ct. 1863, 1877, 43 ELR 20112 (2013) (Roberts, C.J., dissenting). his is equally true of the cour......
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 98 No. 5, June 2023
    • June 1, 2023
    ...such suits without waiting for Congress to create causes of action in equity. See id. at 247; Am. Sch. of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94, 110-11 (1902). For why that might have been appropriate, see Samuel L. Bray & Paul B. Miller, Getting into Equity, 97 NOTRE DAME L. REV. ......
  • Restoring the Essential Safeguard: Why the Abbott Test For Preclusion of Judicial Review of Agency Action is an Inadequate Method For Protecting Separation of Powers
    • United States
    • The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy No. 18-1, January 2020
    • January 1, 2020
    ...136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016). 83. Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131, 2140 (2016) 84. Am. Sch. of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty, 187 U.S. 94, 95 (1902). 85. Id. at 109–10. 86. Id. 2020] RESTORING THE ESSENTIAL SAFEGUARD 197 particular agency decision and improper preclusion of wheth......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT