Southern Pac Co v. Denton, No. 403

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtGRAY
Citation146 U.S. 202,13 S.Ct. 44,36 L.Ed. 942
Decision Date21 November 1892
Docket NumberNo. 403
PartiesSOUTHERN PAC. CO. v. DENTON

146 U.S. 202
13 S.Ct. 44
36 L.Ed. 942
SOUTHERN PAC. CO.

v.

DENTON.

No. 403.
November 21, 1892.

J. Hubley Ashton, for plaintiff in error.

D. A. McKnight, for defendant in error.

Page 203

Mr. Justice GRAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This was an action brought January 29, 1889, in the circuit court of the United States for the western district of Texas, against the Southern Pacific Company, by Elizabeth Jane Denton, to recover damages to the amount of $4,970, for the death of her son, by the defendant's negligence, near Paisano, in the county of Presidio, on January 31, 1888. The petition alleged that 'the plaintiff is a citizen of the state of Texas, and resides in the county of Red River, in said state; that the defendant is a corporation duly incorporated under the laws of the state of Kentucky, is a citizen of the state of Kentucky, and is and at the institution of this suit was a resident of El Paso county, in the state of Texas;' that at the day aforesaid, and ever since, 'the defendant was and is engaged in the business of running and propelling cars for the conveyance of freight and passengers over the line of railway extending eastwardly from the city of El Paso, Tex., into and through the counties of El Paso and Presidio and the city of San Antonio, all of the state of Texas; that the defendant is now doing business as aforesaid, and has an agent for the transaction of its business in the city and county of El Paso, Tex., to wit, W. E. Jessup.' The county of Red River is in the eastern district, and the counties of El Paso and Presidio, as well as the county of Bexar, in which is the city of San Antonio, are in the western district, of Texas. Act Feb. 24, 1879, c. 97, §§ 2, 3, (20 St. p. 318.)

The defendant, by leave of court, filed 'an answer or demurrer,' 'for the special purpose, and no other, until the question herein raised is decided, of objecting to the jurisdiction of this court,' demurring and excepting to the petition because, upon the allegations above quoted, 'it appears that this suit ought, if maintained at all in the state of Texas, to be brought in the district of the residence of the plaintiff, that is to say, in the eastern district of Texas; and the defendant prays judgment whether this court has jurisdiction, and it asks to be dismissed, with its costs; but, should the court overrule this demurrer and exception, the defendant then asks time

Page 204

and leave to answer to the merits, though excepting to the action of the court in overruling said demurrer.'

The court overruled the demurrer, and allowed a bill of exceptions tendered by the defendant, which stated that the defendant by the demurrer raised the question of the jurisdiction of the court; 'and that the court having inspected the same, as well as the pleadings of the plaintiff, and it appearing therefrom that the plaintiff is alleged to be a citizen of Texas, residing in Red River county, in the eastern judicial district of said state, and that the defendant is a corporation created and existing under and by virtue of the laws of Kentucky, and is a citizen of that state, but operating a line of railway, doing business in, and having an agent on whom process may be served in, the county and judicial district in which this suit is pending, and the court, being of opinion that the facts alleged show this cause to be in the district of the residence of the defendant, and that it ought to take cognizance of the same, overruled said demurrer.'

The defendant, after its demurrer had been overruled, answered to the merits, and a trial by jury was had, resulting in a verdict and judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $4,515. The defendant, on May 10, 1890, sued out this writ of error on the question of jurisdiction only, under the act of February 25, 1889, c. 236, (25 St. p. 693.) The plaintiff has now moved to dismiss the writ of error or to affirm the judgment, and the motion has been submitted on briefs under rules 6 (3 Sup. Ct. Rep. vi.) and 32 (Id. xvi.) of this court.

By the act of March 3, 1887, c. 373, § 1, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888, c. 886, 'no person shall be arrested in one district for trial in another in any civil action before a circuit or district court; and no civil suit shall be brought before either of said courts 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.' 24 St. p. 552; 25 St. p. 434.

Page 205

This is a case 'where the jurisdiction is founded only on the fact that the action is between citizens of different states.' The question whether under that act the circuit court of the United States for the western district of Texas had jurisdiction of the case is a question involving the jurisdiction of that court, which this court is empowered, by the act of February 25, 1889, c. 236, to review by writ of error, although the judgment below was for less than $5,000.

The allegations made in the petition, and admitted by the demurrer, bearing upon this question, are that the plaintiff was a citizen of Texas, and resided in the eastern district thereof, and that the defendant was a...

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240 practice notes
  • Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist., No. 11–1447.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 25, 2013
    ...petitioner to give up a constitutional right “as a condition precedent to the enjoyment of a privilege”); Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U.S. 202, 207, 13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942 (1892) (invalidating statute “requiring the corporation, as a condition precedent to obtaining a permit to d......
  • Gold Issue Min. & Mill. Co. v. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., No. 17298.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 24, 1916
    ...Koontz, 104 U. S. 5, 10 [26 L. Ed. 643]." This cause had been cited and approved in the following cases: Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U. S. 202, loc. cit. 207, 13 Sup. Ct. 44, 36 L. Ed. 942; Shaw v. Quincy Mining Co., 145 U. S. 444, loc. cit. 452, 12 Sup. Ct. 935, 36 L. Ed. 768; Fitz......
  • Philadelphia & R. Ry. Co. v. Marland, 2112.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • January 22, 1917
    ...Horst, 93 U.S. 291 (23 L.Ed. 898); Chateaugay Iron Co., 128 U.S. 544, 553 (9 Sup.Ct. 150, 32 L.Ed. 508); Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U.S. 202, (13 Sup.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942); Luxton v. Northern River Bridge Co., 147 U.S. 337, 338 (13 Sup.Ct. 356, 37 L.Ed. 194); Lincoln v. Power, 151 ......
  • Markham v. City of Newport News, No. 8216.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 19, 1961
    ...Insurance Commissioner of State of Kentucky, 1906, 202 U.S. 246, 26 S.Ct. 619, 50 L.Ed. 1013. 15 Southern Pacific Company v. Denton, 1892, 146 U.S. 202, 13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L. Ed. 942; Herndon v. Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company, 1910, 218 U.S. 135, 30 S.Ct. 633, 54 L.Ed. 970; Har......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
240 cases
  • Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist., No. 11–1447.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 25, 2013
    ...petitioner to give up a constitutional right “as a condition precedent to the enjoyment of a privilege”); Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U.S. 202, 207, 13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942 (1892) (invalidating statute “requiring the corporation, as a condition precedent to obtaining a permit to d......
  • Gold Issue Min. & Mill. Co. v. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., No. 17298.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 24, 1916
    ...Koontz, 104 U. S. 5, 10 [26 L. Ed. 643]." This cause had been cited and approved in the following cases: Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U. S. 202, loc. cit. 207, 13 Sup. Ct. 44, 36 L. Ed. 942; Shaw v. Quincy Mining Co., 145 U. S. 444, loc. cit. 452, 12 Sup. Ct. 935, 36 L. Ed. 768; Fitz......
  • Philadelphia & R. Ry. Co. v. Marland, 2112.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • January 22, 1917
    ...Horst, 93 U.S. 291 (23 L.Ed. 898); Chateaugay Iron Co., 128 U.S. 544, 553 (9 Sup.Ct. 150, 32 L.Ed. 508); Southern Pacific Co. v. Denton, 146 U.S. 202, (13 Sup.Ct. 44, 36 L.Ed. 942); Luxton v. Northern River Bridge Co., 147 U.S. 337, 338 (13 Sup.Ct. 356, 37 L.Ed. 194); Lincoln v. Power, 151 ......
  • Markham v. City of Newport News, No. 8216.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 19, 1961
    ...Insurance Commissioner of State of Kentucky, 1906, 202 U.S. 246, 26 S.Ct. 619, 50 L.Ed. 1013. 15 Southern Pacific Company v. Denton, 1892, 146 U.S. 202, 13 S.Ct. 44, 36 L. Ed. 942; Herndon v. Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company, 1910, 218 U.S. 135, 30 S.Ct. 633, 54 L.Ed. 970; Har......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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