Underhill v. Hernandez, No. 36

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFULLER
Citation168 U.S. 250,42 L.Ed. 456,18 S.Ct. 83
PartiesUNDERHILL v. HERNANDEZ
Decision Date29 November 1897
Docket NumberNo. 36

168 U.S. 250
18 S.Ct. 83
42 L.Ed. 456
UNDERHILL

v.

HERNANDEZ.

No. 36.
November 29, 1897.

In the early part of 1892 a revolution was initiated in Venezuela, against the administration thereof, which the revo-

Page 251

lutionists claimed had ceased to be the legitimate government. The principal parties to this conflict were those who recognized Palacio as their head, and those who followed the leadership of Crespo. Gen. Hernandez belonged to the antiadministration party, and commanded its forces in the vicinity of Ciudad Bolivar. On the 8th of August, 1892, an engagement took place between the arimes of the two parties at Buena Vista, some seven miles from Bolivar, in which the troops under Hernandez prevailed; and, on the 13th of August, Hernandez entered Bolivar, and assumed command of the city. All of the local officials had in the meantime left, and the vacant positions were filled by Gen. Hernandez, who from that date, and during the period of the transactions complained of, was the civil and military chief of the city and district. In October the party in revolt had achieved success generally, taking possession of the capital of Venezuela, October 6th; and on October 23, 1892, the 'Crespo government,' so called, was formally recognized as the legitimate government of Venezuela by the United States.

George F. Underhill was a citizen of the United States, who had constructed a waterworks system for the city of Bolivar, under a contract with the government, and was engaged in supplying the place with water; and he also carried on a machiney repair business. Some time after the entry of Gen. Hernandez, Underhill applied to him, as the officer in command, for a passport to leave the city. Hernandez refused this request, and requests made by others in Underhill's behalf, until October 18th, when a passport was given, and Underhill left the country.

This action was brought to recover damages for the detention caused by reason of the refusal to grant the passport, for the alleged confinement of Underhill to his own house, and for certain alleged assaults and affronts by the soldiers of Hernandez's army.

The cause was tried in the circuit court of the United States for the Eastern district of New York, and on the conclusion of plaintiff's case the circuit court ruled that upon the facts plaintiff was not entitled to recover, and directed

Page 252

a verdict for defendant, on the ground that 'because the acts of defendant were those of a military commander, representing a de facto government in the prosecution of a war, he was not civilly responsible therefor.' Judgment having been rendered for defendant, the case was taken to the circuit court of appeals, and by that court affirmed, upon the ground 'that the acts of the defendant were the acts of the government of Venezuela, and as such are not properly the subject of adjudication in the...

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316 practice notes
  • Samantar v. Yousuf, No. 08-1555.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 3 Marzo 2010
    ...of one country will not sit in judgment" of those acts when done within the territory of the foreign state. See Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 252, 254, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897). Although the act of state doctrine is distinct from immunity, and instead "provides foreign state......
  • Banco de Espana v. Federal Reserve Bank, No. 370-372.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 8 Julio 1940
    ...The position we took in those cases finds ample foundation in numerous decisions of the Supreme Court, including Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456; Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297, 38 S.Ct. 309, 62 L.Ed. 726; and Ricaud v. American Metal Co., 246 U.......
  • European Community v. Rjr Nabisco, Inc., No. 00-CV-06617.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 16 Julio 2001
    ...of such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of by sovereign powers as between themselves. Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 252, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897); cf. Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon, 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 116, 136, 3 L.Ed. 287 Page 473 (Marshall, J.) (......
  • Doe v. Exxon Mobil Corp., Civil No. 01–1357RCL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 23 Septiembre 2014
    ...by the courts of this country” in a suit to declare the commander's seizure of plaintiff's property invalid); Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 251, 253–54, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897) (holding suit for damages arising from plaintiffs military detention not subject to adjudication ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
314 cases
  • Samantar v. Yousuf, No. 08-1555.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 3 Marzo 2010
    ...of one country will not sit in judgment" of those acts when done within the territory of the foreign state. See Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 252, 254, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897). Although the act of state doctrine is distinct from immunity, and instead "provides foreign state......
  • Banco de Espana v. Federal Reserve Bank, No. 370-372.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 8 Julio 1940
    ...The position we took in those cases finds ample foundation in numerous decisions of the Supreme Court, including Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456; Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297, 38 S.Ct. 309, 62 L.Ed. 726; and Ricaud v. American Metal Co., 246 U.......
  • European Community v. Rjr Nabisco, Inc., No. 00-CV-06617.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 16 Julio 2001
    ...of such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of by sovereign powers as between themselves. Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 252, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897); cf. Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon, 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 116, 136, 3 L.Ed. 287 Page 473 (Marshall, J.) (......
  • Doe v. Exxon Mobil Corp., Civil No. 01–1357RCL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 23 Septiembre 2014
    ...by the courts of this country” in a suit to declare the commander's seizure of plaintiff's property invalid); Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 251, 253–54, 18 S.Ct. 83, 42 L.Ed. 456 (1897) (holding suit for damages arising from plaintiffs military detention not subject to adjudication ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • SECURITIES LAW - ACT OF STATE DOCTRINE: SAFE HARBOR FOR SECURITIES VIOLATIONS - ROYAL WULFF VENTURES LLC V. PRIMERO MINING CORP.
    • United States
    • Suffolk Transnational Law Review Vol. 44 Nbr. 1, January 2021
    • 1 Enero 2021
    ...the doctrine was "necessary to protect the proper conduct of national foreign policy." Id. at 409. (28) See Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250, 252 (1897) (declaring what created Act of State doctrine). In Underhill, Hernandez was a revolutionary military officer of the party standing aga......
  • Void and Punishable Acts of State in International Law
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 2-2, June 1949
    • 1 Junio 1949
    ...such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of by sovereignpowers as between themselves. Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 253; AmericanBanana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U. S. 347.This principle was confirmed by the District Court of Amsterdam in itsdecision of Ja......

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