Louisville Nashville Railroad Company v. Erasmus Mottley, No. 37

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMoody
Citation211 U.S. 149,29 S.Ct. 42,53 L.Ed. 126
PartiesLOUISVILLE & NASHVILLE RAILROAD COMPANY, Appt., v. ERASMUS L. MOTTLEY and Annie E. Mottley, His Wife
Docket NumberNo. 37
Decision Date16 November 1908

211 U.S. 149
29 S.Ct. 42
53 L.Ed. 126
LOUISVILLE & NASHVILLE RAILROAD COMPANY, Appt.,

v.

ERASMUS L. MOTTLEY and Annie E. Mottley, His Wife.

No. 37.
Submitted October 13, 1908.
Decided November 16, 1908.

Page 150

The appellees (husband and wife), being residents and citizens of Kentucky, brought this suit in equity in the circuit court of the United States for the western district of Kentucky against the appellant, a railroad company and a citizen of the same state. The object of the suit was to compel the specific performance of the following contract:

Louisville, Ky., Oct. 2d, 1871.

The Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, in consideration that E. L. Mottley and wife, Annie E. Mottley, have this day released company from all damages or claims for damages for injuries received by them on the 7th of September, 1871, in consequence of a collision of trains on the railroad of said company at Randolph's Station, Jefferson County, Kentucky, hereby agrees to issue free passes on said railroad and branches now existing or to exist, to said E. L. & Annie E. Mottley for the remainder of the present year, and thereafter to renew said passes annually during the lives of said Mottley and wife or either of them.

The bill alleged that in September, 1871, plaintiffs, while passengers upon the defendant railroad, were injured by the defendant's negligence, and released their respective claims for damages in consideration of the agreement for transportation during their lives, expressed in the contract. It is alleged that the contract was performed by the defendant up to January 1, 1907, when the defendant declined to renew the passes. The bill then alleges that the refusal to comply with the con-

Page 151

tract was based solely upon that part of the act of Congress of June 29, 1906 (34 Stat. at L. 584, chap. 3591, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1907, p. 892), which forbids the giving of free passes or free transportation. The bill further alleges: First, that the act of Congress referred to does not prohibit the giving of passes under the circumstances of this case; and, second, that, if the law is to be construed as prohibiting such passes, it is in conflict with the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, because it deprives the plaintiffs of their property without due process of law. The defendant demurred to the bill. The judge of the circuit court overruled the demurrer, entered a decree for the relief prayed for, and the defendant appealed directly to this court.

Mr. Henry L. Stone for appellant.

Messrs. Lewis McQuown and Clarence U. McElroy for appellees.

Mr. L. A. Shaver for Interstate Commerce Commission as amicus curiae.

Mr. Justice Moody, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court:

Two questions of law were raised by the demurrer to the bill, were brought here by appeal, and have been argued before us. They are, first, whether that part of the act of Congress of June 29, 1906 (34 Stat. at L. 584, chap. 3591, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1907, p. 892), which forbids the giving of free passes or the collection of any different compensation for transportation of passengers than that specified in the tariff filed, makes it unlawful to perform a contract for transportation of persons who, in good faith, before the passage of the act, had accepted such contract in satisfaction of a valid cause of action against the railroad; and, second, whether the statute, if it should be construed to render such a contract unlawful, is in

Page 152

violation of the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. We do not deem it necessary, however, to consider either of these questions, because, in our opinion, the court below was without jurisdiction of the cause. Neither party has questioned that jurisdiction, but it is the duty of this court to see to it that the jurisdiction of the circuit court, which is defined and limited by statute, is not exceeded. This duty we have frequently performed of our own motion. Mansfield, C. & L. M. R. Co. v. Swan, 111 U. S. 379, 382, 28 L. ed. 462, 463, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 510; King Iron Bridge & Mfg. Co. v. Otoe County, 120 U. S. 225, 30 L. ed. 623, Sup. Ct. Rep. 552; Blacklock v. Small, 127 U. S. 96, 105, 32 L. ed. 70, 73, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1096; Cameron v. Hodges, 127 U. S. 322,...

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2102 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Martinez-Torres, MARTINEZ-TORRE
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • April 4, 1990
    ...was deprived of, subject matter jurisdiction, thus eclipsing the raise-or-waive rule. See, e.g., Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 43, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908); Capron v. Van Noorden, 6 U.S. 126, 127, 2 Cranch 126, 127, 2 L.Ed. 229 (1804). The district cou......
  • 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
    ...of his own cause of action shows that it is based upon the laws of the United States." Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908). Moreover, such a claim must be presented "unaided by anything alleged in anticipation or avoidance of defens......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...did not, however, “create statutory federal question jurisdiction.” Id. at 727, 86 S.Ct. 1130 (citing Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908)). The Court then emphasized that some state causes of action are not preempted by § 303: “This Court has con......
  • Gomez v. Wilson, No. 71-1484.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1973
    ...E. g., McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189, 56 S.Ct. 780, 80 L.Ed. 1135 (1936); Louisville & N. R.R. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908); King Bridge Co. v. Otoe County, 120 U.S. 225, 226, 7 S.Ct. 552, 30 L.Ed. 623 (1887); Mansfield, C. &......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2097 cases
  • U.S. v. Martinez-Torres, MARTINEZ-TORRE
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • April 4, 1990
    ...was deprived of, subject matter jurisdiction, thus eclipsing the raise-or-waive rule. See, e.g., Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 43, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908); Capron v. Van Noorden, 6 U.S. 126, 127, 2 Cranch 126, 127, 2 L.Ed. 229 (1804). The district cou......
  • 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
    ...of his own cause of action shows that it is based upon the laws of the United States." Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908). Moreover, such a claim must be presented "unaided by anything alleged in anticipation or avoidance of defens......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...did not, however, “create statutory federal question jurisdiction.” Id. at 727, 86 S.Ct. 1130 (citing Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908)). The Court then emphasized that some state causes of action are not preempted by § 303: “This Court has con......
  • Gomez v. Wilson, No. 71-1484.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1973
    ...E. g., McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189, 56 S.Ct. 780, 80 L.Ed. 1135 (1936); Louisville & N. R.R. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908); King Bridge Co. v. Otoe County, 120 U.S. 225, 226, 7 S.Ct. 552, 30 L.Ed. 623 (1887); Mansfield, C. &......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • EQUITY AND THE SOVEREIGN.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 97 Nbr. 5, May 2022
    • May 1, 2022
    ...generally embraces the same matters of jurisdiction and modes of remedy as exist in England."). (161) 7 U.S. 267 (1806). (162) 211 U.S. 149 (163) See supra note 153-54. For an examination of the distinct question whether Article III courts possess inherent authority to grant equitable ......
  • IMMIGRATION LAW - DENATURALIZED CITIZEN CONVICTED OF SEVERAL HEROIN RELATED CRIMES IS NOT SUBJECT TO DEPORTATION - Okpala v. Whitaker.
    • United States
    • Suffolk Transnational Law Review Vol. 43 Nbr. 1, January 2020
    • January 1, 2020
    ...over all matters mentioned in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Id. See also Louisville & Nashville N.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149. 154 (1908) (establishing well-pleaded complaint rule). The last requirement for federal question jurisdiction is that the original complaint must inv......
  • (Overview).
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Vol. 52 Nbr. 3, June 2022
    • June 22, 2022
    ...the United States for purposes of federal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. [section] 1331. See Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149 (324) Newtok Village II, 21 F.4th at 618 (quoting Grable & Sons Metal Prods., Inc. v. Darue Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 312 (2005)). ......

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