Davis v. Wechsler

Decision Date22 October 1923
Docket NumberNo. 70,70
Citation263 U.S. 22,68 L.Ed. 143,44 S.Ct. 13
PartiesDAVIS, Director General of Railroads, v. WECHSLER
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. Roy B. Thomson, H. M. Langworthy, and O. H. Dean, all of Kansas City, Mo., for petitioner.

Messrs. W. S. Hogsett and Mont T. Prewitt, both of Kansas City, Mo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit for personal injuries suffered by the plaintiff (the respondent here) upon the Chicago Great Western Railroad on January 3, 1920, while that road was under Federal control. The suit was brought against Walker D. Hines, the Director General, on January 29, 1920, in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. The cause of action arose in another county and the plaintiff then and when the suit was brought resided in Illinois. By General Order 18-A it was ordered that——

'all suits against carriers while under Federal control must be brought in the county or district where the plaintiff resided at the time of the accrual of the cause of action or in the county or district where the cause of action arose.'

The defendant pleaded a general denial and also that the Court was without jurisdiction because of the foregoing facts. The plaintiff by replication relied upon the invalidity of the order, a point now decided against him. Alabama & Vicksburg Ry. Co. v. Journey, 257 U. S. 111, 42 Sup. Ct. 6, 66 L. Ed. 154. On February 25, 1921, the plaintiff amended and John Barton Payne, Director General of Railroads and agent designated by the President under Transportation Act, 1920 (41 Stat. 456), was substituted by agreement as successor of Hines and according to the record the 'substituted defendant entered his appearance in said cause and adopted the answer theretofore filed by said Walker D. Hines, defendant.' It was not disputed and was stated by the Court below that by Missouri practice the defendant had a right to unite a plea to the jurisdiction and a defence on the merits, but it was held by the Court of Appeals affirming a judgment for the plaintiff that the provision in General Order 18-A went only to the venue of the action and was waived by the appearance of Payne. A similar effect was attributed to the appearance of the present petitioner Davis in the place of Payne. A writ of certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court of the State.

We are of opinion that the judgment must be reversed. Whatever springes the State may set for those who are endeavoring to assert rights that the State confers, the assertion of Federal rights, when plainly and reasonably made, is not to be defeated...

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133 cases
  • Jenkins v. Allen
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • August 31, 2016
    ...sound rule renders the state ground inadequate to stop consideration of a federal question. See Davis v. Wechsler, 263 U.S. 22, 24, 44 S.Ct. 13, 68 L.Ed. 143 (1923) (Holmes, J.) ("Whatever springs the State may set for those who are endeavoring to assert rights that the State confers, the a......
  • Labat v. Bennett
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • September 30, 1966
    ...S.Ct. at 848. Fay v. Noia marks a turning point in the history of habeas corpus, but it is not revolutionary. In Davis v. Wechsler, 1923, 263 U.S. 22, 44 S.Ct. 13, 68 L.Ed. 153, the state court had held that a federal officer attempting to assert a federal venue privilege was deemed to have......
  • Wolfe v. State of North Carolina
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 27, 1960
    ...of federal rights, when plainly and reasonably made, is not to be defeated under the name of local practice.' Davis v. Wechsler, 263 U.S. 22, 24, 44 S.Ct. 13, 14, 68 L.Ed. 143. Since the only state ground mentioned in the opinion below is inadequate, this Court should either proceed directl......
  • Pennekamp v. State of Florida
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1946
    ...25, 63 L.Ed. 131; Ward v. Board of County Com'rs of Love County, 253 U.S. 17, 22, 40 S.Ct. 419, 421, 64 L.Ed. 751; Davis v. Wechsler, 263 U.S. 22, 44 S.Ct. 13, 68 L.Ed. 143. If it is contemptuous to bring the courts of a State into disrepute and generally to impair their efficiency, then it......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • How to review state court determinations of state law antecedent to federal rights.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 120 No. 5, March 2011
    • March 1, 2011
    ...Johnson, 326 U.S. 120, 129 (1945); Broad River Power Co. v. South Carolina ex rel. Daniel, 281 U.S. 537, 540-44 (1930); Davis v. Wechsler, 263 U.S. 22, 24-25 (1923); Ward v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, 253 U.S. 17, 22-23 (1920); Union Pac. R.R. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 248 U.S. 67, 69-70 (1918); Joh......
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • The Path of Constitutional Law Suplemmentary Materials
    • January 1, 2007
    ...721, 753, 755, 1222, 1254 Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518, 4 L.Ed. 629 (1819), 432, 447, 953-54 David v. Wechsler, 263 U.S. 22, 44 S.Ct. 13, 68 L.Ed. 143 (1923), Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 106 S.Ct. 668, 88 L.Ed.2d 677 (1986), 1288-89 Davidson v. New Orleans, 96......

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