American Well Works Company v. Layne Bowler Company, No. 376

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHolmes
Citation36 S.Ct. 585,60 L.Ed. 987,241 U.S. 257
Docket NumberNo. 376
Decision Date22 May 1916
PartiesAMERICAN WELL WORKS COMPANY, Plff. in Err., v. LAYNE & BOWLER COMPANY and Mahlon E. Layne

241 U.S. 257
36 S.Ct. 585
60 L.Ed. 987
AMERICAN WELL WORKS COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

LAYNE & BOWLER COMPANY and Mahlon E. Layne.

No. 376.
Argued and submitted May 5, 1916.
Decided May 22, 1916.

Page 258

Mr. David A. Gates for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. Paul Synnestvedt, Coke K. Burns, and J. M. Moore for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a suit begun in a state court, removed to the United States court, and then, on motion to remand by the plaintiff, dismissed by the latter court, on the ground that the cause of action arose under the patent laws of the United States, that the state court had no jurisdiction, and that therefore the one to which it was removed had none. There is a proper certificate and the case comes here direct from the district court.

Of course the question depends upon the plaintiff's declaration. The Fair v. Kohler Die & Specialty Co. 228 U. S. 22, 25, 57 L. ed. 716, 717, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 410. That may be summed up in a few words. The plaintiff alleges that it owns, manufactures, and sells a certain pump, has or has applied for a patent for it, and that the pump is known as the best in the market. It then alleges that the defendants have falsely and maliciously libeled and slandered the plaintiff's title to the pump by stating that the pump and certain parts thereof are infringements upon the defendant's pump and certain parts thereof, and that without probable cause they have brought suits against some parties who are using the plaintiff's pump, and that they are threatening suits against all who use it. The allegation of the defendants' libel or slander is repeated in slightly varying form, but it all comes to statements to various people that the plaintiff was infringing the defendants' patent, and that the defendant

Page 259

would sue both seller and buyer if the plaintiff's pump was used. Actual damage to the plaintiff in its business is alleged to the extent of $50,000, and punitive damages to the same amount are asked.

It is evident that the claim for damages is based upon conduct; or, more specifically, language, tending to persuade the public to withdraw its custom from the plaintiff, and having that effect to its damage. Such conduct, having such effect, is equally actionable whether it produces the result by persuasion, by threats, or by falsehood (Moran v. Dunphy, 177 Mass. 485, 487, 52 L.R.A. 115, 83 Am. St. Rep. 289, 59 N. E. 125), and it is...

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681 practice notes
  • Smart v. First Federal S & L Ass'n of Detroit, Civ. No. 79-74483
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • September 15, 1980
    ...application in these words: "A suit arises under the law that creates the cause of action." American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916). It soon 500 F. Supp. 1153 came to be realized, however, that the Holmes "creation test" was "......
  • Powers v. South Central United Food & Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Health & Welfare Trust, No. 82-2319
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 31, 1983
    ...a state declaratory judgment statute. See Franchise Tax Board, supra, 103 S.Ct. at 2851. 4 American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 5 With regard to the instant action, we note that although it was disclosed during oral argument that ......
  • Lowe v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, a Div. of Litton Systems, Inc., No. 82-4361
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 30, 1984
    ...for this purpose "[a] suit arises under the law that creates the cause of action." American Well Works Company v. Layne & Bowler Company, 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916); Superior Oil Co. v. Pioneer Corp., 706 F.2d 603, 605 (5th Cir.1983). Federal law " 'must be an......
  • Sandoval v. New Mexico Technology Group LLC., No. 00-578-LCS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 1, 2001
    ...Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 26, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983) (quoting American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916)). However the Supreme Court has further developed the definition to include a cause of action t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
677 cases
  • Smart v. First Federal S & L Ass'n of Detroit, Civ. No. 79-74483
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • September 15, 1980
    ...application in these words: "A suit arises under the law that creates the cause of action." American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916). It soon 500 F. Supp. 1153 came to be realized, however, that the Holmes "creation test" was "......
  • Powers v. South Central United Food & Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Health & Welfare Trust, No. 82-2319
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 31, 1983
    ...a state declaratory judgment statute. See Franchise Tax Board, supra, 103 S.Ct. at 2851. 4 American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 5 With regard to the instant action, we note that although it was disclosed during oral argument that ......
  • Lowe v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, a Div. of Litton Systems, Inc., No. 82-4361
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 30, 1984
    ...for this purpose "[a] suit arises under the law that creates the cause of action." American Well Works Company v. Layne & Bowler Company, 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916); Superior Oil Co. v. Pioneer Corp., 706 F.2d 603, 605 (5th Cir.1983). Federal law " 'must be an......
  • Sandoval v. New Mexico Technology Group LLC., No. 00-578-LCS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 1, 2001
    ...Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 26, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983) (quoting American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co., 241 U.S. 257, 260, 36 S.Ct. 585, 586, 60 L.Ed. 987 (1916)). However the Supreme Court has further developed the definition to include a cause of action t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court Opens a Door in ARCO v. Christian, Part One
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 51-3, March 2021
    • March 1, 2021
    ...the mine run of cases, “[a] suit arises under the law that creates the cause of action.” American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler Co. , 241 U.S. 257, 260 (1916). he landowners’ common law claims for nuisance, trespass, and strict liability therefore arise under Montana law and not under th......

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