Lee v. Chesapeake Ry Co, No. 422

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtVAN DEVANTER
Citation43 S.Ct. 230,260 U.S. 653,67 L.Ed. 443
PartiesLEE v. CHESAPEAKE & O. RY. CO
Decision Date22 January 1923
Docket NumberNo. 422

260 U.S. 653
43 S.Ct. 230
67 L.Ed. 443
LEE

v.

CHESAPEAKE & O. RY. CO.

No. 422.
Argued Jan. 5, 1923.
Decided Jan. 22, 1923.

Mr. Allan D. Cole, of Maysville, Ky., for plaintiff in error.

Page 654

Mr. E. L. Worthington, of Maysville, Ky., for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was an action to recover damages in the sum of $10,000 for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained by the plaintiff while entering one of the defendant's passenger trains in Kentucky for an intrastate trip. The plaintiff was a citizen and resident of Texas and the defendant a corporate citizen and resident of Virginia. The action was begun in a state court in Bracken county, Ky., and, because of the diverse citizenship of the parties, was removed, at the defendant's instance, into the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Kentucky, which includes Bracken county. When the transcript reached the District Court, the plaintiff moved that the cause be remanded to the state court on the ground that the District Court was without jurisdiction in that neither party was a resident of that district. The motion was overruled, the plaintiff elected to stand on the motion, and judgment was given for the defendant. The plaintiff then brought the case here on a direct writ of error (Judicial Code, § 238 [Comp. St. § 1215]), to obtain a review of the ruling on his motion to remand.

Under the Constitution, art. 3, § 2, the judicial power extends, among other cases, to such as arise under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, and to such as are between citizens of different states.

Section 24 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 991) defines the general jurisdiction of the District Courts, the pertinent provision being as follows:

'The District Courts shall have original jurisdiction * * * of all suits of a civil nature, at common law or in equity, * * * where the matter in controversy exceeds,

Page 655

exclusive of interest and costs, the sum or value of three thousand dollars, and (a) arises under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority, or (b) is between citizens of different states. * * *'

This grant of jurisdiction covers two distinct classes of suits. In one the citizenship of the parties is not an element, while in the other it is the distinctive feature. As to the suit before us it is very clear that the diverse citizenship of the parties and the sum inv lved bring it within the latter class, and therefore within the general jurisdiction of the District Courts.

Section 51 of the Code (Comp. St. § 1033) relates to the venue of suits originally begun in those courts, and provides, subject to exceptions not material here, that——

'* * * No civil suit shall be brought in any district court against any person by any original process or proceeding in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant; but where the jurisdiction is founded only on the fact that the action is between citizens of different states, suit shall be brought only in the district of the residence of either the plaintiff or the defendant.'

It is a necessary conclusion from repeated decisions, going back to the original Judiciary Act of 1789 (1 Stat. 73) that this provision does not limit the general jurisdiction of the District Courts or withdraw any suit therefrom, but merely confers a personal privilege on the defendant, which he may assert, or may waive, at his election, and does waive if, when sued in some other district, he enters an appearance without claiming his privilege. Gracie v. Palmer, 8 Wheat. 699, 5 L. Ed. 719; Toland v. Sprague, 12 Pet. 300, 330, 9 L. Ed. 1093; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U. S. 369, 378, 24 L. Ed. 853; Central Trust Co. v. McGeorge, 151 U. S. 129, 14 Sup. Ct. 286, 38 L. Ed. 98; Interior Construction Co. v. Gibney, 160 U. S. 217, 16 Sup. Ct. 272, 40 L. Ed. 401; United States v. Hvoslef, 237 U. S. 1, 12, 35 Sup. Ct. 459, 59 L. Ed. 813, Ann. Cas. 1916A, 286; Camp v. Gress, 250 U. S. 308, 311, 39 Sup. Ct. 478, 63 L. Ed. 997; General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore & Michigan Southern

Page 656

Ry. Co. (November 27, 1922) 260 U. S. 261, 43 Sup. Ct. 106, 67 L. Ed. ——. The following excerpt from Interior Construction Co. v. Gibney, at page 219 of 160 U. S., at page 273 of 16 Sup. Ct. (40 L. Ed. 401), is particularly apposite:

'The Circuit Courts of the United States are thus vested with general jurisdiction of civil actions, involving the requisite pecuniary value, between citizens of different states. Diversity of citizenship is a condition of jurisdiction, and, when that does not appear upon the record, the court, of its own motion, will order the action to be dismissed. But the provision as to the particular district in which the action shall be brought does not touch the general jurisdiction of the court over such a cause between such parties, but affects only the proceedings taken to bring the defendant within such jurisdiction, and is a matter of personal privilege, which the defendant may insist upon, or may waive, at his election; and the defendant's right to object that an action, within the general jurisdiction of the court, is brought in the wrong district, is waived by entering a general appearance, without taking the objection.'

Section 28 of the Code (Comp. St. § 1010) deals with the jurisdiction of the District Courts on removals from the state courts, saying, so far as is material here:

'Any suit of a civil nature, at law or in equity, arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority, of which the District Courts of the United States are given original jurisdiction by this title, which...

To continue reading

Request your trial
122 practice notes
  • Global v. Prithvi Info. Sols., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-01290-WSS
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 10, 2020
    ...can also waive their lack of personal jurisdiction when they enter a general appearance with a court. Lee v. Chesapeake & O. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 655 (1923). The Court holds that it cannot exercise general jurisdiction over Defendants under Pennsylvania's long-arm statute. The Court can, ......
  • Hoffman v. Blaski Sullivan v. Behimer, Nos. 25
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 13, 1960
    ...set out in General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore R. Co., 260 U.S. 261, 43 S.Ct. 106, 67 L.Ed. 244, and Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio R. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 443. This basic difference 'between the court's power and the litigant's convenience is historic in the federal courts.......
  • In re Burley, Bankruptcy No. LA 80-08761-RO.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • May 28, 1981
    ...L.Ed. 167; General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 261, 43 S.Ct. 106, 67 L.Ed. 244, and Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 443, overruling Ex parte Wisner, 203 U.S. 449, 27 S.Ct. 150, 51 L.Ed. 264, and qualifying In re Moore, 209 U.S. 490, ......
  • McCoy v. Siler, No. 10952.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • June 10, 1953
    ...1949, 337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528; Macias v. Klein, 3 Cir., 1953, 203 F.2d 205. 16 Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry., 1923, 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 17 Hudson Nav. Co. v. Murray, D.C.N.J. 1916, 236 F. 419; Oldmixon v. Pennsylvania R. Co., D.C.N.Y., 1932, 1 F.Supp. 101.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
122 cases
  • Global v. Prithvi Info. Sols., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-01290-WSS
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 10, 2020
    ...can also waive their lack of personal jurisdiction when they enter a general appearance with a court. Lee v. Chesapeake & O. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 655 (1923). The Court holds that it cannot exercise general jurisdiction over Defendants under Pennsylvania's long-arm statute. The Court can, ......
  • Hoffman v. Blaski Sullivan v. Behimer, Nos. 25
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 13, 1960
    ...set out in General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore R. Co., 260 U.S. 261, 43 S.Ct. 106, 67 L.Ed. 244, and Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio R. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 443. This basic difference 'between the court's power and the litigant's convenience is historic in the federal courts.......
  • In re Burley, Bankruptcy No. LA 80-08761-RO.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • May 28, 1981
    ...L.Ed. 167; General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 261, 43 S.Ct. 106, 67 L.Ed. 244, and Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 443, overruling Ex parte Wisner, 203 U.S. 449, 27 S.Ct. 150, 51 L.Ed. 264, and qualifying In re Moore, 209 U.S. 490, ......
  • McCoy v. Siler, No. 10952.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • June 10, 1953
    ...1949, 337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528; Macias v. Klein, 3 Cir., 1953, 203 F.2d 205. 16 Lee v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry., 1923, 260 U.S. 653, 43 S.Ct. 230, 67 L.Ed. 17 Hudson Nav. Co. v. Murray, D.C.N.J. 1916, 236 F. 419; Oldmixon v. Pennsylvania R. Co., D.C.N.Y., 1932, 1 F.Supp. 101.......
  • 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