Milliken v. Meyer

Decision Date23 December 1940
Docket NumberNo. 66,66
PartiesMILLIKEN et al. v. MEYER
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. Jean S. Breitenstein, of Denver, Colo., and Edward M. Freeman, of New York City, for petitioners.

Mr. Fred S. Caldwell, of Denver, Colo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Colorado Supreme Court held null and void a judgment of the Wyoming court against the claim of Milliken that that judgment was entitled to full faith and credit under the Federal Constitution. 101 Colo. 564, 76 P.2d 420; 105 Colo. 532, 100 P.2d 151. The case is here on a petition for certiorari which we granted, 310 U.S. 622, 60 S.Ct. 1099, 84 L.Ed. 1395, because of the substantial character of the federal question which is raised.

The controversy is over a 1/64th interest in profits from operation of certain Colorado oil properties. Transcontinental1 on August 31, 1922, contracted to pay Meyer 4/64ths of those profits. Milliken asserted a claim to a two-thirds interest in that 4/64ths share. As a settlement of that dispute Transcontinental on May 3, 1924, contracted to pay Milliken a 2/64ths interest and Milliken assigned2 to Transcontinental all his claims against Meyer pertaining to the lands in question and to Meyer's 4/64ths interest in the profits.

Later Milliken instituted suit in the Wyoming court alleging a joint adventure with Transcontinental and Meyer and charging a conspiracy on their part to defraud him of his rights. He sought a cancellation of the contracts of May 3, 1924, and an accounting from Transcontinental and Meyer. Meyer, who was asserted to be a resident of Wyoming, was personally served with process in Colorado pursuant to the Wyoming statutes;3 but he made no appearance in the Wyoming cause.4 Transcontinental appeared and answered. The court found that there was no joint venture between Milliken and Transcontinental; that the contracts of May 3, 1924, were valid; and that the action against Transcontinental should be dismissed with prejudice. It found, however, that there was a joint venture between Milliken and Meyer; that they were entitled to share equally in 6/64ths of the net profits; and that, while Meyer had regularly received 4/64ths, he had refused to account to Milliken for his 1/64th part. The court did not purport to decree the 1/64th interest to Milliken or anyone else but entered an in personam judgment against Meyer for the profits which Meyer had withheld from Milliken, together with interest thereon; and enjoined Transcontinental from paying, and Meyer from receiving, more than 3/64ths of the net profits. This was on July 11, 1931. Thereafter the 1/64th share was withheld from Meyer and paid over to Milliken.5 In 1935 respondent instituted this suit6 in the Colorado court praying, inter alia, for a judgment against Milliken for the sums withheld under the Wyoming judgment and paid to Milliken, for an injunction against Milliken attempting to enforce the Wyoming judgment, and for a decree that the Wyoming judgment was a nullity for want of jurisdiction over Meyer or his property. The bill alleged, inter alia, that Meyer at the time of service in the Wyoming court had long ceased to be a resident of Wyoming and was a resident of Colorado; that the service obtained on him did not give the Wyoming court jurisdiction of his person or property; and that such judgment was violative of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Milliken's answer alleged, inter alia, that Meyer was a resident of Wyoming at the time of the Wyoming action and that the Wyoming judgment was entitled to full faith and credit in Colorado under the Federal Constitution. Article 4, § 1. The Colorado court, on issues joined, found that Meyer was domiciled in Wyoming when the Wyoming suit was commenced, that the Wyoming statutes for substituted service were constitutional, that the affidavit for constructive service7 on Meyer was filed in good faith, substantially conformed to the Wyoming statute and stated the truth, that Wyoming had jurisdiction over the person of Meyer, that the Wyoming decree8 was not void, and that the bill should be dismissed.

That judgment was reversed by the Supreme Court of Colorado. It did not pass on the question of whether or not the Wyoming court had jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter. It held that the Wyoming decree was void on its face because of an irreconcilable contradiction between the findings and the decree. In its view the finding of the Wyoming court that Milliken's assignment of May 3, 1924, to Transcontinental of his claims against Meyer was valid, deprived the court of any ground upon which it could predicate a judgment against Meyer, since the only basis for an action by Milliken against Meyer rested upon the claim before its assignment.

Where a judgment rendered in one state is challenged in another, a want of jurisdiction over either the person or the subject matter is of course open to inquiry. Grover & Baker Sewing Machine Co. v. Radcliffe, 137 U.S. 287, 11 S.Ct. 92, 34 L.Ed. 670; Adam v. Saenger, 303 U.S. 59, 58 S.Ct. 454, 82 L.Ed. 649. But if the judgment on its face appears to be a 'record of a court of general jurisdiction, such jurisdiction over the cause and the parties is to be presumed unless disproved by extrinsic evidence, or by the record itself.' Adam v. Saenger, supra, 303 U.S. at page 62, 58 S.Ct. at page 456, 82 L.Ed. 649. In such case the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution precludes any inquiry into the merits of the cause of action, the logic or consistency of the decision, or the validity of the legal principles on which the judgment is based. Fauntleroy v. Lum, 210 U.S. 230, 28 S.Ct. 641, 52 L.Ed. 1039; Roche v. McDonald, 275 U.S. 449, 48 S.Ct. 142, 72 L.Ed. 365, 53 A.L.R. 1141; Titus v. Wallick, 306 U.S. 282, 59 S.Ct. 557, 83 L.Ed. 653. Whatever mistakes of law may underlie the judgment (Cooper v. Reynolds, 10 Wall. 308, 19 L.Ed. 931) it is 'conclusive as to all the media concludendi'. Fauntleroy v. Lum, supra, 210 U.S. at page 237, 28 S.Ct. at page 643, 52 L.Ed. 1039.

Accordingly, if the Wyoming court had jurisdiction over Meyer, the holding by the Colorado Supreme Court that the Wyoming judgment was void because of an inconsistency between the findings and the decree was not warranted.

On the findings of the Colorado trial court, not impaired by the Colorado Supreme Court, it is clear that Wyoming had jurisdiction over Meyer in the 1931 suit. Domicile in the state is alone sufficient to bring an absent defendant within the reach of the state's jurisdiction for purposes of a personal judgment by means of appropriate substituted service. Substituted service in such cases has been quite uniformly upheld where the absent defendant was served at his usual place of abode in the state (Huntley v. Baker, 33 Hun, N.Y., 578; Hurlbut v. Thomas, 55 Conn. 181 10 A. 556, 3 Am.St.Rep. 43; Harryman v. Roberts, 52 Md. 64) as well as where he was personally served without the state...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3236 cases
  • C.S.B. Commodities, Inc. v. Urban Trend (Hk) Ltd.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • January 7, 2009
    ...notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Int'l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 316, 66 S.Ct. 154 (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463, 61 S.Ct. 339, 85 L.Ed. 278 (1940)). "[I]t is essential in each case that there be some act by which the purposefully avails itself of the privilege of......
  • Sky Cable, LLC v. Coley
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Virginia
    • July 11, 2013
    ...notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). The "minimum contacts" test requires that defendants purposefully avail themselves of the forum state. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz......
  • 27001 P'ship v. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • August 19, 2011
    ..."traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice."' International Shoe Co. v. Washington, supra, at 316, quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940). The relationship between the defendant and the forum must be such that it is 'reasonable ... to require the corporation to d......
  • Mylonakis v. Georgios M.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • December 3, 2012
    ...Shoe Co. v. State of Washington, Office of Unemployment Compensation and Placement, 66 S.Ct. 154, 158 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 61 S.Ct. 339, 343 (1940)). Once a plaintiff satisfies these two requirements, a presumption arises that jurisdiction is reasonable, and the burden of proo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 firm's commentaries
  • Personal Jurisdiction And The Calder Effects Test: Ninth Circuit Sides With Florida Plaintiff In Defamation Suit Against Bishops
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • July 21, 2022 establish specific personal jurisdiction. See Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). In intentional tort cases, the Ninth Circuit has interpreted the "minimum contacts" inquiry as satisfied when the defendant (1) purp......
  • Introductions: When School Marms Attack
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • July 13, 2011
    ...over out-of-state corporation must comply with "'traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice'" (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U. S. 457, 463 (1940))). Opinions in the wake of the pathmarking International Shoe decision have differentiated between general or all- purpose jurisd......
24 books & journal articles
  • Civil Procedure - Ninth Circuit focuses on importance of subsidiary rather than control to impose general jurisdiction over foreign corporation - Bauman v. DaimlerChrysler Corp.
    • United States
    • Suffolk University Law Review Vol. 45 No. 2, March 2012
    • March 22, 2012 control to satisfy agency test). (59.) Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)) (internal quotation marks omitted); see supra notes 20, 22-23, 34 and accompanying text (describing due process requirements and dif......
  • Civil litigation
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Florida Small-Firm Practice Tools - Volume 1-2 Volume 1
    • April 1, 2023
    ...of fair play and substantial justice.” [ International Shoe Co. v. Washington , 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer , 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)).] The test is whether the nonresident defendant has sufficient minimum contacts with the forum that he “should reasonably have anti......
  • Personal Jurisdiction and Choice of Law
    • United States
    • Iowa Law Review No. 98-3, March 2013
    • March 1, 2013
    ...(discussing the power rationale of Pennoyer ). 6. Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)) (internal quotation marks omitted). 7. For instance, in Hanson v. Denckla , 357 U.S. 235, 251 (1958), the Court merely stated, witho......
  • Jurisdiction and Choice of law Issues in the Indirect Purchaser action
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Indirect Purchaser Litigation Handbook. Second Edition
    • December 5, 2016
    ...not an act of the defendant purposefully 27 . International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). 28 . World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). 29 . Carrier Corp. v. Outokumpu Oyj, 673 F.3d 430, 449 (......
  • 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