Crescent Citylanding Co v. Butchers Union Landing Co, LIVE-STOCK

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMATTHEWS; The effect of these English authorities, as stated by MARCY
Citation120 U.S. 141,30 L.Ed. 614,7 S.Ct. 472
PartiesCRESCENT CITYLANDING & CO. and another v. BUTCHERS' UNION&LANDING CO. *
Decision Date24 January 1887
Docket NumberSLAUGHTER-HOUSE,LIVE-STOCK

120 U.S. 141
7 S.Ct. 472
30 L.Ed. 614
CRESCENT CITY LIVE-STOCK LANDING & SLAUGHTER-HOUSE
CO. and another
v.
BUTCHERS' UNION SLAUGHTER-HOUSE & LIVE-STOCK LANDING CO.*
January 24, 1887.

Page 142

Wm. A. Maury and Robert Mott, for plaintiff in error.

B. R. Forman and E. H. McCalet, for defendant in error.

MATTHEWS, J.

This is a writ of error bringing into review a judgment of the supreme court of the state of Louisiana, reported in 37 La. Ann. 874. The federal question arising upon the record presented for our consideration is whether the supreme court of Louisiana, in its determination of the case, gave due effect to a certain decree of the circuit court of the United States for the Eastern district of Louisiana, in a previous litigation between the same parties. That question is presented upon the following case:

The plaintiff in error is a corporation created by the laws of Louisiana, which, by an act of the legislature of that state, passed March 8, 1869, was invested with the sole and exclusive privilege of conducting and carrying on the live-stock landing and slaughter-house business within the city of New Orleans, and the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard. The validity of this monopoly was sustained by the decision of this court in the Slaughter-house Cases, 16 Wall. 36, on the ground that this grant of exclusive right or privilege was a police regulation for the health and comfort of the people within the power of the state legislature, and not in violation of any provision of the constitution of the United States. The company continued thenceforward to use and enjoy its exclusive

Page 143

privileges until the adoption by the people of Louisiana of a new state constitution, in the year 1879. That constitution contained the following articles:

'Art. 248. The police juries of the several parishes, and the constituted authorities of all incorporated municipalities of the state, shall alone have the power of regulating the slaughtering of cattle and other live-stock within their respective limits: provided, no monopoly or exclusive privilege shall exist in this state, nor such business be restricted to the land or houses of any individual or corporation: provided, the ordinances designating places for slaughtering shall obtain the concurrent approval of the board of health or other sanitary organization.

'Art. 258. The mo opoly features in the charter of any corporation now existing in the state, save such as may be contained in the charters of railroad companies, are hereby abolished.'

The city of New Orleans, by ordinances adopted in 1881, proceeded to declare, under article 248 of the constitution, within what limits in the parish of Orleans animals, intended for food, might be slaughtered, in which in the board of health of the state of Louisiana concurred. In March, 1880, the Butchers' Union Slaughter-house & Live-stock Landing Company, the defendant in error, became incorporated under the general law of Louisiana; and was authorized by its charter 'to erect, at any point or place in the parish of Orleans, wharves, stables, sheds, yards, and buildings necessary to land, stable, shelter, protect, and preserve all kinds of horses, mules, cattle, and other animals, for the purpose of carrying on the live-stock landing and slaughter-house business, and for the purpose of sheltering and protecting all such cattle or other animals which may be sent to said company destined for slaughter; and the said company shall, as soon as practicable, build and complete a slaughter-house; also a sufficient number of sheds and stables and other buildings as may be deemed necessary for the carrying on said slaughtering business.'

This company having begun to acquire the necessary plant for conducting the live-stock and slaughtering business, in pur-

Page 144

suance of its charter, the plaintiff in error, on the twenty-third of November, 1881, filed its bill in the circuit court of the United States for the Eastern district of Louisiana against the defendant in error, setting up its exclusive right and privilege, as claimed by it under its original charter and grant, alleging that the defendant was about to violate the same, and praying for an injunction to restrain that company from carrying out its purpose. On the twenty-ninth of December, 1881, after notice and hearing, the judges of that court granted the injunction as prayed for, pendente lite. On final hearing, on the eighth of May, 1882, this injunction was made perpetual.1 On May 5, 1884, this decree of the circuit court was reversed by this court by a decision reported in 111 U. S. 746, S. C. 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 652, on the ground that the exclusive right originally granted to the plaintiff in error was valid only as an exercise of the police power of the state, and was of that character, having reference to the public health, that it could not be made the subject of contract, protected against subsequent legislation by the constitution of the United States.

In granting the preliminary injunction referred to, the plaintiff in error was required to and gave an injunction bond in the sum of $8,000, with Bertrand Saloy as surety, reciting the allowance of the injunction pendente lite, and conditioned to pay to the defendant in said injunction all such damages as it might suffer or had suffered in consequence thereof. The present action was begun in the civil district court for the parish of Orleans on May 28, 1884, by the defendant in error against the plaintiff in error and Bertrand Saloy, by a petition in which a recovery is sought upon the bond against the defendants in solido for the sum of $8,000, with 5 per cent. interest from judicial demand, for a breach of its condition, and against the company alone for the further sum of $70,000 damages, with 5 per cent. interest from the date of the verdict, on the alleged ground of a malicious prosecution by the complainant therein of the said bill in equity for an injunction. This cause came on for trial by a jury, when there was a verdict against both defendants for $6,588.80, with interest, and against the Crescent City Live-stock Landing & Slaughter-house

Page 145

Company alone, upon the plea of malicious prosecution, for the sum of $12,500 damages, and the further sum of $2,500 attorneys' fees. Upon the trial the defendant relied upon the decree of the circuit court of the Unite States, granting and perpetuating the injunction, as conclusive proof of probable cause for the institution and prosecution of the suit complained of. The rulings of the civil district court upon this defense are set out in several bills of exception. In one of them it appears that the judge left it to the jury to determine whether the decree of the circuit court constituted probable cause or not, adding that in his opinion it was both remarkable and extraordinary, and, as explanatory of that, the bill of exceptions signed by him contains the following statement: 'I described the action of the federal court as 'remarkable and extraordinary,' because it set at naught the decisions of the state courts of Louisiana, of the supreme court of Louisiana, set at defiance the positive mandate of the state constitution, and because it was held by the unanimous supreme court of the United States to have involved a usurpation of jurisdiction; such action was truly 'remarkable and extraordinary,' though not without deplorable precedent.'

It also appears that the defendants requested the judge to charge the jury as follows: 'A plaintiff whose asserted right was conferred by an act of legislature, and has been in force for a number of years, has a right to test the legality of a subsequent repeal of said right, when the validity of such repeal or modification has not been finally settled, and the plaintiff is advised by competent counsel that the repeal is invalid. In such a case the plaintiff has probable cause for asserting his rights, and instituting an action for such purpose. If, in the action instituted, the lower court being the circuit court of the United States, presided over by two judges, render a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the existence of probable cause for instituting such suit is demonstrated by the finding of the judges of the circuit court, although their judgment was reversed on appeal.'

This charge the judge refused to give, on the ground that it was unsound in law. Judgment was rendered on the verdict,

Page 146

February 24, 1885, and the cause was removed by a suspensive appeal to the supreme court of Louisiana for the final decision of that court, by which, on December 14, 1885, it was affirmed.

It is contended by counsel for the defendant in error that, in examining the record in this case, this court will only consider the opinion and judgment of the supreme court of Louisiana in order to ascertain if the authority relied upon by the plaintiff in error was wrongfully disregarded by that tribunal, and that without reference to the rulings of the inferior court, the opinion of the supreme court being made a part of the record by law for that purpose. Such appears to be the law of Louisiana, as recognized by the decisions of this court. Code Pr. La. art. 905; Parks v. Turner, 12 How. 43; Hennen, Dig. 92, No. 3; Cousin v. Blanc's Ex'rs, 19 How. 202; Grand Gulf R. & B. Co. v. Marshall, 12 How. 165; Murdock v. City of Memphis, 20 Wall. 590; Crossley v. City of New Orleans, 108 U. S. 105; S. C. 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 300; Caperton v. Bowyer, 14 Wall. 216.

It must therefore be conceded that the sole question to be determined is, did the supreme court of Louisiana, in deciding against the plaintiffs in error, give proper effect to the decree of the circuit court of the United States, subsequently reversed by this court?

It is argued by counsel for the defendant in error that this does not embrace any federal question; that the effect to be given to a judgment or decree of the...

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170 practice notes
  • Professional Real Estate Investors, Inc v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc, No. 91-1043
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 3 Mayo 1993
    ...the tort, the existence of probable cause is an absolute defense. See Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers' Union Slaughter-House Co., 120 U.S. 141, 149, 7 S.Ct. 472, 476, 30 L.Ed. 614 (1887); Wheeler, supra, 24 How., at 551; Liberty Loan Corp. of Gadsden v. Mizell, 410 So.2d 45, 48 (Al......
  • Heck v. Humphrey, et al., 936188
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 24 Junio 1994
    ...47 Neb. 863, 868, 66 N.W. 864, 865 (1896) (collecting cases). In Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers' Union Slaughter-House Co., 120 U.S. 141, 7 S.Ct. 472, 30 L.Ed. 614 (1887), we recognized that "[h]ow much weight as proof of probable cause shall be attributed to the judgment of ......
  • Roche v. Hyde, A150459
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 30 Junio 2020
    ...Fairchild v. Adams (1959) 170 Cal.App.2d 10, 15, 338 P.2d 191 ; Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers’ Union Slaughter-House Co. (1887) 120 U.S. 141, 149–151, 7 S.Ct. 472, 30 L.Ed. 614 ( Crescent City Live Stock ).) Hence the moniker "interim," which in these early decisions ge......
  • Randol v. Kline's Incorporated, No. 27243.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 5 Abril 1929
    ...574; Boogher v. Hough, 99 Mo. 183; Peck v. Chouteau, 91 Mo. 149; Firer v. Lowery, 59 Mo. App. 92; Crescent City Co. v. Butchers' Union, 120 U.S. 141; Payson v. Caswell, 22 Me. 212; Morrow v. Mfg. Co., 165 Mass. 349; Adams v. Bicknell, 126 Ind. 210; Buhner v. Reusse, 144 Minn. 450; Fones v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
170 cases
  • Professional Real Estate Investors, Inc v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc, No. 91-1043
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 3 Mayo 1993
    ...the tort, the existence of probable cause is an absolute defense. See Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers' Union Slaughter-House Co., 120 U.S. 141, 149, 7 S.Ct. 472, 476, 30 L.Ed. 614 (1887); Wheeler, supra, 24 How., at 551; Liberty Loan Corp. of Gadsden v. Mizell, 410 So.2d 45, 48 (Al......
  • Heck v. Humphrey, et al., 936188
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 24 Junio 1994
    ...47 Neb. 863, 868, 66 N.W. 864, 865 (1896) (collecting cases). In Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers' Union Slaughter-House Co., 120 U.S. 141, 7 S.Ct. 472, 30 L.Ed. 614 (1887), we recognized that "[h]ow much weight as proof of probable cause shall be attributed to the judgment of the c......
  • Roche v. Hyde, A150459
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 30 Junio 2020
    ...Fairchild v. Adams (1959) 170 Cal.App.2d 10, 15, 338 P.2d 191 ; Crescent City Live Stock Co. v. Butchers’ Union Slaughter-House Co. (1887) 120 U.S. 141, 149–151, 7 S.Ct. 472, 30 L.Ed. 614 ( Crescent City Live Stock ).) Hence the moniker "interim," which in these early decisions generally me......
  • Randol v. Kline's Incorporated, No. 27243.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 5 Abril 1929
    ...574; Boogher v. Hough, 99 Mo. 183; Peck v. Chouteau, 91 Mo. 149; Firer v. Lowery, 59 Mo. App. 92; Crescent City Co. v. Butchers' Union, 120 U.S. 141; Payson v. Caswell, 22 Me. 212; Morrow v. Mfg. Co., 165 Mass. 349; Adams v. Bicknell, 126 Ind. 210; Buhner v. Reusse, 144 Minn. 450; Fones v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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