« AnteriorContinuar »
ruled out the testimony. From the judg. paid by the company, and no conveyance ment entered upon the verdict for the de- should be made of the lands until such cost fendants the case was taken by writ of error be paid. On account of that provision it was to the circuit court of appeals. Whereupon held in Northern P. R. Co. v. Traill County the latter court stated the facts substan- (Northern P. R. Co. v. Rockne), 115 U. S. tially as above, and reciting that there were 600, 29 L. ed. 477, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 201, that two other cases pending involving the same the land of a railroad company was not subquestions, and that the court was divided in ject to taxation. It was said, “to secure the opinion, certified to this court the following payment of those expenses, it (the govern. questions:
ment) decided to retain the legal title in “First. Did the district court for the dis- its own hands until they were paid.” See trict of Montana err in admitting in evi- also New Orleans P. R. Co. v. United States, dence the proof of the survey made by Ash- 124 U. S. 124, 31 L. ed. 383, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. ley and the proof tending to show that the 417. The equitable title becomes a legal timber cut by the Montana Lumber & Manu- title only upon the identification of the facturing Company. had been cut on what granted sections. Deseret Salt Co. v. Tarwill be, when surveyed by the United States, pey, 142 U. S. 241, 35 L. ed. 999, 12 Sup. section 5 of township 26 north, of range 34 Ct. Rep. 158. As expressed in Leavenworth, west, Montana meridian?
L. & G. R. Co. v. United States, 92 U. S. "Second. Did the court err in excluding 733–741, 23 L. ed. 634-637, "they" (the the evidence offered on behalf of the plain-words "there be and is hereby granted”) tiff in error, tending to show that the Ash "vest a present title,
though a ley survey was erroneous ?
survey of the lands and a location of the “Third. Did the court err in instructing road are necessary to give precision to it, the jury to return a verdict for the defend- and attach it to any particular tract.” The ants in error on the ground that the United right of survey is in the United States. It States had failed to prove its ownership of was error, therefore, in the trial court to the land from which the timber was cut?" admit the survey made by Ashley. It was
also error to instruct the jury to return a Mr. Marsden C. Burch and Solicitor verdict for the defendants. Until the identiGeneral Hoyt for the United States.
fication of the even and odd-numbered secNo counsel opposed.
tions the United States retained a special
property, at least, in the timber growing Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opin- in the township; and this was sufficient to ion of the court:
enable it to recover the value of the timber In the view we take of the case the answer cut and removed by the defendants. A conto the second question becomes unnecessary. trary conclusion would impair the governThe answer to the first and third depends ment's right of survey, and force it into conupon the effect of the grant to the Northern troversies over surveys made by the railroad Pacific Railroad Company by the act of or its grantees. It would enable the rail- . July 2, 1864 [13 Stat. at L. 367, chap. 217]. road company or its grantees to despoil the
The 3d section of that act contains the lands of their timber, and leave them deusual granting words: “That there be, and nuded, and, maybe, worthless, to the govhereby is, granted to the 'Northern Pacific ernment. Indeed, it would reverse the statRailroad Company, its successors and as- utory grant of powers, and transfer the losigns,” every alternate section of public cation of the sections from the government land, not mineral, designated by odd num- to the railroad company. The extent and bers, on each side of the line of the railroad the effect of the power of the government to when definitely fixed.
make its own surveys is expressed and illusIt has been decided many times that such trated in the following cases. Maguire v. grants are in presenti, and take effect upon Tyler, 8 Wall. 650, 19 L. ed. 320; Cragin v. the sections of the land when the road is Powell, 128 U. S. 691, 32 L. ed. 566, 9 Sup. definitely located, by relation as to the date Ct. Rep. 203; United States v. McLaughlin, of the grant. But the survey of the land is 127 U. S. 428, 32 L. ed. 213, 8 Sup. Ct. reserved to the government ($ 6); in other Rep. 1177; Blake v. Doherty, 5 Wheat. 359, words, the identification of the sections— 5 L. ed. 109; Central P. R. Co. v. Nevada, whether odd or even-is reserved to the gov- 162 U. S. 525, 40 L. ed. 1061, 16 Sup. Ct. ernment; and by the act of July 15, 1870 Rep. 885; United States v. Hanson, 16 Pet. [16 Stat. at L. 291, chap. 292], making ap- 196, 10 L. ed. 935; Les Bois v. Bramell, 4 propriations for the sundry civil expenses How. 449, 11 L. ed. 1051; Mackay v. Dillon,
v of the government for the year ending June 4 How. 448, 11 L. ed. 1050; Glenn v. United 30, 1871, it was provided, in regard to the States, 13 How. 256, 14 L. ed. 135; Smith v.
, grant to the Northern Pacific Railroad Com United States, 10 Pet. 326, 9 L. ed. 442. pany that the cost of surveying must be There is nothing in Northern P. R. Co. V.
Hussey, 9 C. C. A. 463, 15 U. S. App. 391, on his property situated within the district, 61 Fed. 231, which militates with these which is inherited by the complainants. views. In that case relief was granted by Reversed. injunction against a trespasser upon un- See same case below, 123 Fed. 338. surveyed land at the suit of the railroad The facts are stated in the opinion. company, its contingent interest being held Messrs. George B. Webster and J. R. sufficient for that purpose. The paramount Beasley for appellants. control and property in the United States Mr. N. W. Norton for appellees. was not in question.
We, therefore, answer the first and the Mr. Justice Harlan delivered the opinion third question certified by the Circuit Court of the court: of Appeals in the affirmative.
This was a suit in equity, instituted in
the circuit court of the United States for Mr. Justice Brewer concurs in the re- the Eastern District of Arkansas by the apsult.
pellants, citizens of Arkansas, against the
appellees, more than thirty in number, and (196 U. S. 415)
respectively citizens, corporate and individSALLIE J. MODANIEL, Nannie A. Hoshall, ual, of Tennessee, New York, Missouri, Iland Mary E. Jackson, Appts., linois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, and
Georgia. GEORGE M. TRAYLOR, John F. Stratton, There was a demurrer to the bill by some John F. Smith, et al.
of the defendants upon the ground, among
others, that the circuit court had no jurisCourts jurisdiction of Federal circuit diction of the parties and subject-matter.
court – diverse citizenship - amount in The demurrer was sustained, and the bill dispute.
dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
The question of jurisdiction depends, of 1. A Federal circuit court has jurisdiction of course, upon the allegations of the bill. The
a suit in equity brought by citizens of the case made by the bill is this: state in which it sits, against citizens of other states, to set aside, as fraudulently Evans, a resident of St. Francis county,
On the 13th day of April, 1891, Hiram obtained, judgments
probate court against an intestate's estate, which are a Arkansas, died intestate and possessed of lien on his real property situated within the personal property
property exceeding $12,000 in district and inherited by complainants, since, value. under the act of March 3, 1875 (18 Stat, at
He was also seised in fee of 760 acres of L. 472, chap. 137, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. land of the value of about $16,000, and left 513), 8 8, a circuit court is empowered by final decree to remove any encumbrance or surviving him as his only heirs at law the llen or cloud upon the title to real or personal three appellants, and three sons, James
| property within the district as against per- Evans, William E. Evans, and John Evans. sons not inhabitants thereof, and not found
By an order made April 21st, 1891, in the therein, who did not voluntarily appear in probate court of the county, James Evans
the suit. 2. The value of the matter in dispute in a suit
was appointed administrator of the estate to set aside judgments of a probate court es
of the intestate. Having duly qualified as tablishing claims against the estate of an in such, he took possession of all the assets of testate, which are a lien on his real property the estate, and acted as such administrator inherited by complainants, on the ground that until his death. they were fraudulently obtained by defendants acting in concert, is the aggregate
Among the assets that came to his hands amount of the claims whose allowance was
as administrator was a drug store, which, procured in furtherance of the unlawful com. with its stock of goods, fixtures, book acbination.
counts, and other things therein contained,
was sold and delivered by him to John Evans [No. 129.]
on the 1st day of May 1891. The latter con
ducted the business in his own name, and Submitted January 16, 1905. Decided Feb. while doing so incurred debts and obligaruary 20, 1905.
tions to the defendants in this suit, aggre
gating $3,000, as well as debts and obligaPPEAL from the Circuit Court of the tions to other persons; but no single one of
United States for the Eastern District his debts exceeded $2,000. of Arkansas, to review a judgment sustain- John Evans became insolvent, and on May ing a demurrer to, and dismissing for want 27th, 1892, transferred and delivered to of jurisdiction, a bill in a suit to set aside, James Evans, administrator of Hiram Evas fraudulently obtained, judgments of ans, the drug store and all that remained of probate court establishing claims against the stock of goods, fixtures, and book acthe estate of an intestate, which are a lien 'counts.
25 S. C.-24.
Thereupon, the bill alleged, the defendants demands of defendants, passed beyond the herein "conspired, colluded, and confeder-control of that court at the expiration of the ated” together and with John Evans and term at which the same were rendered, and with James Evans, administrator, to secure that thereafter it was not within its power the payment of their claims and demands to alter, amend, or set aside the same; that against John Evans out of the assets of the the time within which plaintiffs might have estate of Hiram Evans, deceased, and, “so taken an appeal, or have compelled the adconspiring and confederating,” they pre- ministrator to take an appeal, from the sented to the probate court their several judgment, had expired long prior to the time claims and demands and James Evans, ad- when they acquired knowledge of the matministrator, fraudulently and illegally ap-ters and things hereinbefore complained of; proved them—for allowance against the es- that, by reason thereof, plaintiffs are wholly tate of Hiram Evans.
without remedy in the premises unless the reThe bill also alleged that the defendants lief prayed be granted them; that all the and the administrator of Hiram Evans, still acts and doings of the defendants toward conspiring and confederating together, pro procuring the said judgments of the probate cured the judgment of the probate court es-court were wrongful, fraudulent, and inequitablishing their claims against the estate of table, and tended to the manifest wrong, inHiram Evans by concealing from the court jury, and oppression of plaintiffs; and that, the fact that they were debts and obligations in equity and good conscience, the defendants of John Evans, and cloaking them under the ought not to have or enjoy the benefit or adname of expenses of administration of the vantage of the said judgments. said estate; "all of which transactions were The relief prayed was that the judgments part of the same scheme, and were partici- of the probate court be set aside, and held pated in by each and all of the said defend not to be valid or lawful liens upon or ants, and by said John Evans and said against the real estate herein described, nor James Evans, administrator.”
upon the right, title, or interest therein of It was further alleged: “That the said the plaintiffs; that the defendants be enjudgments of said court, establishing and al- joined from enforcing such judgments, or lowing the respective claims and demands of from taking any benefit, profit, or advantage the defendants herein against the said es by them; and that, all the defendants being tate, were wholly the result of the conspira- without the jurisdiction of the circuit court, cy and confederation hereinbefore mentioned, an order be made directing them to be notiand the fraud practised in pursuance there-fied of this suit by publication, according of as aforesaid, and are, therefore, in equity to the provisions of the act of Congress of and good conscience, void and ineffectual for March 30, 1875. 18 Stat. at L. 470, chap. any purpose whatsoever, and ought not to 137, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 508. be enforced; but that, nevertheless, the same By the act just referred to it was, among are at law liens upon the real estate herein- other things, provided : “Sec. 8. That when, before described, and charges against the re- in any suit commenced in any circuit court spective interests” of the plaintiffs; that, in of the United States to enforce any legal or pursuance of the said conspiracy and confed-equitable lien upon, or claim to, or to reeration, the defendants, and John Evans and move any encumbrance or lien or cloud upJames Evans, concealed from plaintiffs the on, the title to real or personal property matters and things hereinbefore complained within the district where such suit is of, and failed to disclose to them the sale of brought, one or more of the defendants the drug store to John Evans, and the fact therein shall not be an inhabitant of, or that the said claims and demands of defend found within, the said district, or shall not ants were the personal debts and obligations voluntarily appear thereto, it shall be lawof John Evans; that it had been determined ful for the court to make an order directing by the supreme court of the state in certain such absent defendant or defendants to approceedings relating to the matters here in pear, plead, answer, or demur, by a day cercontroversy that neither the probate court, tain to be designated, which order shall be nor the state circuit court on appeal, had served on such absent defendant or defendjurisdiction to hear or determine equitable ants, if practicable, wherever found, and issues, and that plaintiffs' remedy lay "in an also upon the person or persons in possesoriginal proceeding in a court of competent sion or charge of said property, if any there chancery jurisdiction, and that the said ac- be; or, where such personal service upon tion and ruling of the said supreme court such absent defendant or defendants is not was without prejudice to your orators' begin practicable, such order shall be published in ning and maintaining this bill of complaint.” such manner as the court may direct, not
The bill still further alleged that, under less than once a week for six consecutive the law of Arkansas, the judgments of the weeks; and in case such absent defendant probate court, allowing and classifying the shall not appear, plead, answer, or demur
within the time so limited, or within some executor under the orders of a probate court. further time, to be allowed by the court, in Conceding that the administration of the esits discretion, and upon proof of the service tate there in question properly belonged to or publication of said order, and of the per- the probate court, and that in a general formance of the directions contained in the sense its decisions were conclusive, especialsame, it shall be lawful for the court to en- ly upon parties, Mr. Justice Bradley, speaktertain jurisdiction, and proceed to the hearing for this court, said: “But this is not ing and adjudication of such suit in the universally true. The most solemn transacsame manner as if such absent defendant tions and judgments may, at the instance of had been served with process within the said the parties, be set aside or rendered inoperadistrict; but said adjudication shall, as re- tive for fraud. The fact of being a party gards said absent defendant or defendants does not estop a person from obtaining in a without appearance, affect only the property court of equity relief against fraud. It is which shall have been the subject of the generally parties that are the victims of suit and under the jurisdiction of the court fraud. The court of chancery is always open therein within such district. .” i U. to hear complaints against it, whether comS. Rev. Stat. Supp. pp. 84-5; 18 Stat. at L. mitted in pais or in or by means of judicial 470, chap. 137, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. proceedings. In such cases the court does 513.
not act as a court of review, nor does it inUpon demurrer to the jurisdiction of the quire into any irregularities or errors of circuit court, that court dismissed the suit, proceeding in another court; but it will being of opinion that the value of the matter scrutinize the conduct of the parties; and, in dispute was not sufficient to give juris. if it finds that they have been guilty of diction. McDaniel v. Traylor, 123 Fed. 338. fraud in obtaining a judgment or decree, it
If, within the meaning of the judiciary will deprive them of the benfit of it, and of act of 1887-88 [24 Stat. at L. 552, chap. / any inequitable advantage which they have 373], the value of the matter in dispute ex- derived under it." ceeded the sum of $2,000, exclusive of inter- In Arrowsmith v. Gleason, 129 U. S. 86, est and costs (25 Stat. at L. 433, chap. 866, 98, 32 L. ed. 630, 634, 9 Sup. Ct. Rep. 237, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 508), then there 240, the question was whether the circuit was no reason for dismissing the bill for court had jurisdiction by its decree to set want of jurisdiction in the circuit court; aside a sale of an infant's lands fraudulently for, diversity of citizenship was shown by made by his guardian under authority dethe bill, and under the above act of March rived from a probate court, and give such re3d, 1875, chap. 137 (18 Stat. at L. 470), it lief as would be consistent with equity. One was competent for the circuit court, by a of the grounds of demurrer to the bill in final decree, to remove any encumbrance or that case was that the circuit court had no lien or cloud upon the title to real or per- authority to set aside and vacate the orders sonal property within the district, as of the state court. This court said: "If by against persons not inhabitants thereof and this is meant only that the circuit court not found therein, or who did not voluntari- cannot, by its orders act directly upon the ly appear in the suit.
probate court, or that the circuit court canThe lands of which Hiram Evans died pos- not compel or require the probate court to sessed were of the alleged value of $16,000, set aside or vacate its own orders, the posiand we assume that the plaintiffs jointly tion of the defendants could not be disputed. owned one undivided half of them. Was the But it does not follow that the right of Harvalue of the joint interest of the plaintiffs moning, in his lifetime, or of his heirs since in the lands in question to be deemed his death, to hold these lands, as against the the value of the matter in dispute, or was plaintiff, cannot be questioned in a court of the circuit court without jurisdiction if no general equitable jurisdiction upon the one of the alleged fraudulent claims held by ground of fraud. If the case made by the the defendants exceeded $2,000, exclusive of bill is clearly established by proof, it may be interest and costs?
assumed that some state court of superior Some light will be thrown upon this ques- jurisdiction and equity powers, and having tion by certain cases in which this court before it all the parties interested, might afheld it to be competent for a circuit court, ford the plaintiff relief of a substantial charin a suit in equity, to deprive parties of the acter. But, whether that be so or not, it is benefit of a judgment or order fraudulently difficult to perceive why the circuit court is obtained by them in a state court.
not bound to give relief according to the In Johnson v. Waters, 111 U. S. 640, 667, recognized rules of equity, as administered 28 L. ed. 547, 556, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 619, 634, in the courts of the United States, the plainthe question was as to the authority of a tiff being a citizen of Nevada, the defendants circuit court to set aside as fraudulent and citizens of Ohio, and the value of the matvoid certain sales made by a testamentary 'ter in dispute, exclusive of interest and
costs, being in excess of the amount re- to the circuit court of the United quired for the original jurisdiction of such States. The right of removal was denied, courts." "While there are general expres- and the court dissolved the preliminary insions in some cases apparently asserting a junction which had been granted, and aucontrary doctrine, the later decisions of this thorized Mayer, who had become the owner court show that the proper circuit court of of the judgments, to proceed in their collecthe United States may, without controlling, tion. Upon appeal to a higher state court, supervising, or annulling the proceedings of the original judgment was affirmed, and that state courts, give such relief, in a case like judgment was brought here for review by the one before us, as is consistent with the writ of error. This court sustained the principles of equity."
right of removal. After stating that the After citing the case of Johnson v. Waters, judgments aggregated more than $3,000, and above, the court referred to Reigal v. Wood, were all held by Mayer and against the 1 Johns. Ch. 402, 406, in which Chancellor plaintiff, we said: “Their validity depends Kent said: "Relief is to be obtained, not upon the same facts. If she is entitled to only against writings, deeds, and the most relief against one of the judgments, she is solemn assurances, but against judgments entitled to relief against all of them. The and decrees, if obtained by fraud and impo- cases in which they were rendered were, in sition.” It also referred to Bowen v. Ev-effect, tried as one case, so far as she and ans, 2 H. L. Cas. 257, 281, in which Lord Mayer were concerned; for the parties stipChancellor Cottenham said: "If a case of ulated that the result in each one not tried fraud be established, equity will set aside all should depend upon the result in the one transactions founded upon it, by whatever tried. As all the cases not tried went to machinery they may have been effected, and judgment in accordance with the result in notwithstanding any contrivances by which the one tried; as the property of Mrs. Marit may have been attempted to protect them. shall [the plaintiff] was liable to be taken It is immaterial, therefore, whether such in execution on all the judgments; as the machinery and contrivances consisted of a judgments were held in the same right; and decree of a court of equity and a purchase as their validity depended upon the same under it, or of a judgment at law, or of facts,—she was entitled, in order to avoid other transactions between the actors in the a multiplicity of actions, and to protect herfraud.” The opinion of this court con- self against the vexation and cost that cluded: “These principles control the pres- would come from numerous executions and ent case, which, although involving rights levies, to bring one suit for a decree finally arising under judicial proceedings in an- determining the matter in dispute in all the other jurisdiction, is an original, independ- cases. And as, under the rules of equity obent suit for equitable relief between the par- taining in the courts of the United States, ties, such relief being grounded upon a new such a suit could be brought, the aggregate state of facts, disclosing, not only imposition amount of all the judgments against which upon a court of justice in procuring from it she sought protection, upon grounds common authority to sell an infant's lands when to all the actions, is to be deemed, under the there was no necessity therefor, but actual act of Congress, the value of the matter here fraud in the exercise, from time to time, of in dispute.” the authority so obtained. As this case is The question of jurisdiction here prewithin the equity jurisdiction of the circuit sented arises out of facts not to be found in court, as defined by the Constitution and any case brought to our attention or of laws of the United States, that court may, which we have knowledge. by its decree, lay hold of the parties, and The suit is to remove a cloud on the title compel them to do what, according to the to certain lands of the value of $16,000. The principles of equity, they ought to do, there plaintiffs, being three of the six heirs at law by securing and establishing the rights of of the intestate, jointly own an undivided inwhich the plaintiff is alleged to have been terest of one half of those lands, but no deprived by fraud and collusion."
interest in any particular part of them. If In Marshall v. Holmes, 141 U. S. 589, the value of their joint, undivided interest 595, 596, 35 L. ed. 870, 872, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. ($8,000), or the value of the undivided in62, 64, it appeared that twenty-three judg- terest of each (one third of $8,000), is to be ments for different amounts were fraudu- taken as the value of the matter in dispute, lently procured to be rendered in a state then the circuit court had jurisdiction. But court against a citizen of another state. Up-we are of opinion that, within the meaning on learning of the judgments, the latter of the judiciary act of 1887-88, the jurisbrought suit in one of the courts of Louisi- diction of the circuit court, in this case deana for a decree avoiding them as obtained pended upon the value in dispute measured upon false testimony, and thereafter filed a by the aggregate amount of the claims of the petition and bond for the removal of the 'defendants.