City of Detroit v. Detroit City Ry. Co., 3,320.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Citation55 F. 569
Docket Number3,320.
Decision Date16 March 1893

55 F. 569


No. 3,320.

United States Circuit Court, E.D. Michigan.

March 16, 1893

[55 F. 570]

John J. Speed, Charles A. Kent, and Benton Hanchett, for complainant.

Ashby Pond, Frederick A. Baker, John C. Donnelly, Henry M. Duffield, Otto Kirchner, and Henry M. Campbell, for respondents.

Before TAFT, Circuit Judge, and SWAN, District Judge. [55 F. 571]

TAFT, Circuit Judge.

This is an equitable cause, which was removed from the circuit court of Wayne county on the ground of local prejudice, after it was set for hearing on bill and answer. A motion to remand, after full hearing in this court, was denied. 54 F. 1. It was regularly noticed in this court for hearing at the present March term, and, when called on the opening day of the term, was specially set over to be heard at a later day. That day having arrived, the complainant submits two motions in the alternative. The first motion is that the case be postponed for hearing until the June term. The ground for this motion is not that the complainant and its counsel are not now prepared to argue the case on its merits, but it is that a case is now pending before the supreme court of the state of Michigan which, when decided, will settle the construction of the statutes and constitution of Michigan, and determine the only question involved in this case. It may be fully conceded that this court, upon such a question, will follow exactly the decisions of the supreme court of Michigan when rendered because they constitute the law of the state which we are to administer; but it is by no means clear that the case referred to will necessarily decide the point here involved, and it is also uncertain when the case will come on for final determination. It is also said that the complainant proposes to invoke the aid of the state to test the question here involved, in a quo warranto proceeding to be begun after the 9th day of May next against the respondent the Detroit Citizens' Street Railway. It is not free from doubt whether the question can be presented in that way. It is the duty of the federal courts, as of other courts, to give as speedy justice as may be to suitors, and, while it is also their plain duty to accept state law from the state supreme courts on the construction of state laws and constitutions, it never has been held proper for them to delay litigation before them until state courts shall have decided the same questions, for this would be an abdication of their duties as courts. When a question of law is presented, of whatever character, they must follow the lights they have. Burgess v. Seligman, 107 U.S. 20, 2 S.Ct. 10. The motion to postpone will be overruled.

The motion in the alternative is to dismiss the bill in this case without prejudice. The motion is accompanied with the frank statement that the complainant prefers another tribunal than this in which to litigate its rights, and that, with this in view, it proposes after the 9th of May to procure the attorney general to institute quo warranto proceedings which cannot be removed to this court. While it may not be usual to have so candid an avowal of the fact made, the federal courts are frequently compelled to administer justice in cases where one of the parties would prefer another forum. A motion to remand implies this preference. We have found, however, that one of the respondents had the right, under the constitution and laws of the United States, to call upon this court to take jurisdiction of the case. If we are wrong, the question can be reviewed in the supreme court of the United States. As against the right of one party, the preference of another has not usually been regarded of weight. It may not be pleasant to administer justice [55 F. 572] under such circumstances, but, as we cannot consult the preference of a party, so we cannot consult our own, where our jurisdiction is rightfully invoked. We can only assure ourselves that the attitude of the parties with respect to this court does not in any way affect our earnest wish to reach the truth, and decide this case as equity and law may require.

The motion to dismiss presents a question of equity practice which is not as clearly settled as could be desired. It seems hardly fair that after a case has been got ready for hearing and the defendant has gone to the expense of a full preparation, the complainant may deprive the defendant of the benefit of all that preparation by a dismissal, under which he reserves full power to harass him by bringing a new bill when he shall choose to do so, on the simple condition that he pay the costs, which are so notoriously inadequate to compensate defendant for his actual expenditures. In England, since 1845, the rule has been, by virtue of an order in chancery, that a dismissal of a bill after a cause is set for hearing is on the merits and must be a bar to the bringing of another bill. General Ordinance No. 117; Mayor, etc., of Liverpool v. Chorley Waterworks Co., 2 De Gex, M.&G. 852; In re Orrell Colliery & Fire Brick Co., 12 Ch.Div. 681, 682. The equity rules of the United States supreme court adopting the practice of the high court of chancery of England were published in 1842, and it follows, therefore, that the equity practice in this regard of the federal courts continues to be that prevailing in the English chancery courts before the new rule was promulgated, in 1845. Badger v. Badger, 1 Cliff. 237; Stevens v. The Railroads, 4 Fed.Rep. 97; Western Union Tel. Co. v. American Bell Tel. Co., 50 F. 662.

It is very clear from an examination of the authorities, English and American, that the right of a complainant to dismiss...

To continue reading

Request your trial
46 cases
  • Prudential Ins. Co. v. Zimmerer, Civ. A. No. 256.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • June 26, 1946
    ...of Judge Walter Sanborn only, since the issue involved was merely the validity of a claim for a money judgment); City of Detroit v. Detroit City R. Co., C.C.D.Mich., 55 F. 569; Sharon v. Hill, C.C.D.Cal., 26 F. 337; Great North Woods Club v. Raymond, District Judge, 6 Cir., 54 F.2d 1017; Ci......
  • Ex parte Conradi
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • June 21, 1923
    ......C. & W. B. Reynolds Co. v. Reynolds, 190 Ala. 468, 474, 67. So. 293; ...1081; 21 C.J. 630 et seq.; 16 Cyc. 468; City of Detroit v. Detroit City. Ry. Co. (C. C.) 55 ......
  • United Motors Service v. Tropic-Aire, 9228.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • February 29, 1932
    ...practically all the authorities. See Western Union Tel. Co. et al. v. American Bell Tel. Co. (C. C.) 50 F. 662; City of Detroit v. Detroit City Ry. Co. et al. (C. C.) 55 F. 569; Lindley v. Denver et al. (C. C. A.) 259 F. 83; Pullman's Palace-Car Company v. Central Transportation Company, 17......
  • Clifton v. Tomb
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • October 18, 1927
    ...Sauter v. First Nat. Bank (C. C. A. 7th) 8 F.(2d) 121, 123; Jamison v. Fullerton et al. (D. C.) 3 F.(2d) 312; City of Detroit v. Detroit City Ry. Co. (C. C.) 55 F. 569, 573. In the case of Ex parte Skinner & Eddy Corporation, supra, the Supreme Court, Mr. Chief Justice Taft delivering the o......
  • 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