Philadelphia Reading Railway Company v. Robert Kibbin

Citation37 S.Ct. 280,61 L.Ed. 710,243 U.S. 264
Decision Date06 March 1917
Docket NumberNo. 136,136
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Mr. Pierre M. Brown for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. Joseph A. Shay and L. B. McKelvey for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice Brandeis delivered the opinion of the court:

A foreign corporation is amenable to process to enforce a personal liability, in the absence of consent, only if it is doing business within the state in such manner and to such extent as to warrant the inference that it is present there. And even if it is doing business within the state, the process will be valid only if served upon some authorized agent. St. Louis Southwestern R. Co. v. Alexander, 227 U. S. 218, 226, 57 L. ed. 486, 488, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 245, Ann. Cas. 1915B, 77. Whether the corporation was doing business within the state, and whether the person served was an authorized agent, are questions vital to the jurisdiction of the court. A decision of the lower court on either question, if duly challenged, is subject to review in this court; and the review extends to findings of fact as well as to conclusions of law. Herndon-Carter Co. v. James N. Norris & Co. 224 U. S. 496, 56 L. ed. 857, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 550; Wetmore v. Rymer, 169 U. S. 115, 42 L. ed. 682, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. 293. The main question presented here is whether the plaintiff in error—defendant below—was doing business in New York.

The Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company, a Pennsylvania corporation, operated a railroad in that state and in New Jersey. McKibbin, a citizen and resident of New York, was a brakeman in one of its New Jersey freight yards. For injuries sustained there, he brought this action in the United States district court for the southern district of New York. The summons was served on defendant's president, while he was passing through New York, engaged exclusively on personal matters unconnected with the company's affairs. The defendant appeared specially in the cause for the sole purpose of moving to set aside the service of the summons; and invoked the provisions of the Federal Constitution guarantying due process of law. The motion was denied 'upon the sole ground that upon the facts stated in the affidavits said defendant is doing business within the state of New York, so as to be subject to service of process within said state.' Under a right reserved in the order, the objection to the jurisdiction was renewed in the answer, and insisted upon at the trial before the jury. The motion to dismiss was again heard upon the affidavits originally presented, and was denied. Exceptions were duly taken. A verdict was rendered for the plaintiff; judgment entered thereon; and the case brought here on writ of error; the question of jurisdiction being certified in conformity to § 238 of the Judicial Code [36 Stat. at L. 1157, chap. 231, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 1215].

The affidavits established the following facts: No part of the Philadelphia & Reading's railroad is situated within the state of New York. It has no dock, or freight or passenger ticket office or any other office or any agent or property therein. Like other railroads distant from New York, it sends into that state, over connecting carriers, loaded freight cars, shipped by other persons, which cars are, in course of time, returned. The carriage within that state is performed wholly by such connecting carriers, which receive that portion of the entire compensation paid by the shipper therefor; and the Philadelphia & Reading receives only that portion of the compensation payable for the haul over its own line. The Central Railroad of New Jersey is such a connecting carrier, and has a ferry terminal at the foot of West 23d St., New York City. It issues there the customary coupon tickets over its own and connecting lines, including the Philadelphia & Reading and the Baltimore & Ohio. The whole ticket, in each case, is issued by the Central Railroad of New Jersey; and each coupon so recites. In...

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  • International Shoe Co. v. State
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 4 January 1945
    ... ... against the International Shoe Company, to recover ... contributions under the ... Justice Brandeis in the case of Philadelphia & Reading ... Co. v. McKibbin, 243 U.S ... 1008, this court held that a railway company was not doing ... business in this ... ...
  • Symbology Innovations, LLC v. Lego Sys., Inc., Civil No. 2:17–cv–86
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    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
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    ...the state in such manner and to such extent as to warrant the inference that it is present there." Phila. & Reading Ry. Co. v. McKibbin , 243 U.S. 264, 265, 37 S.Ct. 280, 61 L.Ed. 710 (1917).14 Symbology never alleges or argues that the corporate veil between Lego Systems and Lego Brand Ret......
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    ...& Reading Ry. Co. v. Polk, 256 U. S. 332, 41 Sup. Ct. 518, 65 L. Ed. 958. 5 See, e. g., Philadelphia & Reading Ry. Co. v. McKibbin, 243 U. S. 264, 37 Sup. Ct. 280, 61 L. Ed. 710; People's Tobacco Co. v. American Tobacco Co., 246 U. S. 79, 38 Sup. Ct. 233, 62 L. Ed. 587, Ann. Cas. 1918C, 537......
  • Shaffer v. Heitner
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    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 24 June 1977
    ...e. g., International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U.S. 579, 34 S.Ct. 944, 58 L.Ed. 1479 (1914); Philadelphia & Reading R. Co. v. McKibbin, 243 U.S. 264, 37 S.Ct. 280, 61 L.Ed. 710 (1917). See generally Note, Developments in the Law, State-Court Jurisdiction, 73 Harv.L.Rev. 909, 919-923 (1......
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1 books & journal articles
  • The Rush to the Goblin Market: the Blurring of Quill's Two Nexus Tests
    • United States
    • Seattle University School of Law Seattle University Law Review No. 29-03, March 2006
    • Invalid date
    ...the Court. Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964) (Stewart, J., concurring). 230. Philadelphia and Reading Ry. Co. v. McKibbin, 243 U.S. 264, 265 231. Cahill, supra note 222, at 695-96 ("A corporation may be said to be present in a state when any member of the corporate group is withi......

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