« PreviousContinue »
OSGOOD v. CHICAGO, DANVILLE, AND VINCENNES R. R. Co.
on the circuit court, by the seventh section, to issue writs of certiorari to the state courts with power to enforce them, and from what is stated in the same section as to the time of removal if the circuit court of the United States shall hold its next term within twenty days after the petition and bond are filed in the state court. The fifth section was intended to protect a party in case of the improper removal of a suit from the state to the federal court, but the language of that section is peculiarly significant as affecting the motion now before the court. The copy of the record has been filed in this court, and the law seems to indicate under what circumstances only, in such an event, the case should be remanded back to the state court. It is when it shall appear to the satisfaction of the federal court that the suit does not really and substantially involve a dispute or controversy properly within the jurisdiction of the court, or that the parties have been improperly or collusively made, or joined, for the purpose of creating a case cognizable under the act. It is true that the act prescribes the manner in which the removal shall be made, and the directions of the law should be complied with. But the fifth section does not authorize the court to remand or dismiss the cause, for the reason that it may appear that there was any irregularity in the means taken to procure the removal. The purpose obviously was, if the record was filed in the federal court under the law, and the court could see that it had jurisdiction of the case, it should retain it, notwithstanding there might be defects in the manner of removal.
It is also objected that the record from the state court, while certified by the clerk under the seal of the court, has not also the certificate of the judge. This last has never been considered necessary where the record comes from a court of this state. The attestation of the clerk under the seal of the court is sufficient in any court of this state, and is so in this court. A further objection is that the petition for removal is not verified by affidavit. That is not required by the act of 1789, or the act of 1866, nor is it by the act of 1875, though it was by the act of 1867. The Sewing Machine cases, 18 Wallace, 552; 1 Am. L. T. R. N. S. 389. So that on the whole I think it is the duty of the court to allow the case to stand as between the plaintiff and the parties defendant who have petitioned for its removal into this court, and to overrule the motion to dismiss ; and it will be so ordered.
After the foregoing opinion was prepared, on application of plaintiff's counsel, a reargument was allowed before Drummond and Blodgett, JJ., subsequent to which the following supplemental opinion was delivered :
DRUMMOND, J. It has been insisted on the reargument, that this court cannot take jurisdiction of the case, on two grounds :
1st. The case itself is of such a character that it is not removable under the statute.
2d. The case cannot be removed independent of the action of the state court.
The first clause of the second section of the act of 1875, states when a case can be removed to the federal court. It must be a suit of a civil nature at law or in equity, pending at the date of the act, or brought thereafter in the state court. The matter in dispute must exceed $500.
Osgood v. CHICAGO, DANVILLE, AND VINCENNES R. R. Co.
It must be a suit arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or in which there shall be a controversy between citizens of different states. .... This clause refers to a removal by either party ; that is, by the whole of what constitutes the one side or the other.
The second clause of that section states when a case can be removed by either party, less than the whole. There must be in a suit in the state court a controversy wholly between citizens of different states, and such that it can be fully determined as between them; if so, then any one or more of the plaintiffs or defendants actually interested in the controversy may remove 66 said suit” into the circuit court of the United States.
There was here a civil suit in equity pending in the state court at the date of the act, where the matter in dispute exceeded, exclusive of costs, the sum or value of $500.
Was there in this suit a controversy wholly between citizens of different states ? The plaintiff was a citizen of Massachusetts, the railroad company a citizen of Illinois. The railroad company had executed to trustees certain mortgages on its property to secure an indebtedness due from the company, of which the plaintiff held a part. He was not a trustee of either of the mortgages. The trustees and some of the officers of the company made defendants, and all of them citizens of different states from that of the plaintiff and the company, petitioned for the removal of the
Now, the controversy between these parties was wholly as to the debt and the validity of the mortgages and the enforcement of the same.
The trustees represented the other creditors as well as the plaintiff. It was then in effect a controversy wholly between the trustees as the representatives of the creditors, and the railroad company. There can be no doubt that, so far as it relates to citizenship, it was entirely competent for the plaintiff to bring his suit in this court instead of the state court. And having done the latter, that it was equally competent for the defendants, as the case then stood, to remove it to the federal court. Was this right lost by the subsequent facts which appear in the case ?
After the bill was filed receivers were appointed, and certain judgment and other creditors were made defendants, one of whom filed a cross-bill.
The mere possession of the property clearly could not affect the result, as appears from the fourth section of the recent act. That was connected wholly with the controversy of the original parties, and did not prevent it from being exclusively between them. It does not appear that any of the creditors were citizens of the same state as the plaintiff, but conceding that there was a controversy in the suit whether the judgments were valid liens on the property, and whether the debts of the other creditors were binding on the company, and that some of the creditors were citizens of the same state as the company, was the right of removal gone ?
It is said that the language of the second section of the act of 1875 is different from the act of 1866, the former declaring that either one or more of the parties “ may remove said suit ”into the federal court. It is insisted that means the whole suit and not the part which involves merely a controversy between citizens of different states, and therefore, if there should be incidentally a controversy in the suit between citizens of the
Osgood v. CHICAGO, DANVILLE, AND VINCENNES R. R. Co.
same state, the effect would be to remove this last as well as the other, and therefore, the federal court would take jurisdiction of a controversy between citizens of the same state, which would be unconstitutional.
If we were to admit the premises we hardly think the conclusion would follow. If the whole suit is removed because of the principal controversy between citizens of different states, and in order to fully determine that, as between them, other controversies between citizens of the same state arise in the suit, there is no objection to the federal court taking jurisdiction of the latter. It is a matter of common practice to do this in the settlement of legal and equitable rights. Having control and jurisdiction of the principal, the incidents go with it. In every case where this court forecloses a railroad mortgage, this doctrine is enforced ; so that the true rule even on the hypothesis stated, would seem to be to ascertain whether this court had jurisdiction of what may be regarded as the main controversy, and whether the others, between citizens of the same state, are mere incidents of such controversy. In this case the claims of the defendant creditors, it is presumed, depend on the effect and validity of the mortgages, which, if sustained, give the bondholders the paramount claim. The former may therefore be said to attend the mortgage debts. If this is so, there is no good reason why the whole suit may not be removed to this court. Whether the act intends to authorize the removal of the whole suit, in every case where there is a controversy between citizens of different states, and which can be fully determined as between them, without regard to other controversies in the same suit, and the citizenship of the parties in the suit, and whether, if so, the act is in that respect constitutional, need not be here decided. Neither is it necessary to decide whether the act, in any case where there may be in the suit controversies between citizens of the same state, permits them to remain to be determined by the state court.
Upon the second ground we commence with two admissions made by plaintiff's counsel. They concede :
1st. Under the third section of the act of 1875, the petition for removal and the bond required can be filed in the suit pending in the state court in vacation.
2d. If the statute is complied with, the state court has no discretion, and its refusal to accept the petition and bond, and the omission to note the refusal on the record, would not deprive the party entitled thereto of the right of removal.
These admissions necessarily grow out of the words of the statute. If the facts as named therein exist, then the party entitled to remove the suit may file a petition in such suit in the state court before the term at which the cause could be first tried, and file therewith a bond with good and sufficient security. The bond and petition may therefore both be filed out of term time; they are to be filed in the suit pending in the state court, that is, with the clerk, in the ordinary way in which papers are marked and filed in a suit. Now, if the proper petition and bond are filed with the clerk in the suit pending in the state court by the party entitled to do so, in vacation, what is the status of the case from the time of filing the same until the meeting of the state court ?
According to the view of plaintiff's counsel, the court having had no
Osgood v. CHICAGO, DANVILLE, AND VINCENNES R. R. Co.
opportunity in open court to accept or refuse the bond and petition, there is jurisdiction still in the state court, and the judge of that court can make any order in the case permitted to a judge under such circumstances ; that is, he can, if necessary, grant an injunction and (in this state) appoint a receiver of property. There ought to be authority somewhere to protect the rights of parties in the contingency named. Having filed the petition and bond with the clerk in the given case, the applicant has done all that the statute requires. He need not call upon the court to act at all. No order is to be made in court, at least the statute names none, unless the mandate that the court “ shall accept the petition and bond " implies one.
The language is somewhat different in the other statutes : “Shall accept the surety.”
When is it that the court shall“ proceed no further in such suit?”. It is well to notice the different language in another part of the section. When the suit relates to the title of land, and is between citizens of the same state, then the value must be made to appear, and certain statements (and affidavit if required by the court) must be made, all showing the court is called on to act. But it is said that, in this case, the court must judge whether the bond has good and sufficient security, and must accept that and the petition.
It may be proper to consider the former legislation on this point. The act of 1789 required, in order to effect a removal from the state to the federal court, that the defendant should, at the time of entering his appearance in the state court, file the petition for removal.
The act of 1866 declared that the petition might be filed " at any time before the trial or final hearing of the cause ;” but nothing is said as to the manner of filing other than by the use of such general words. The act of 1867 required an affidavit and petition to be filed in the state court at any time before the final hearing or trial of the suit.
These acts were all repealed by the Revised Statutes of the United States, which, however, incorporated their substantial provisions in section 639.
The law in force upon the subject of removal, at the date of the act of 1875, was as follows: “In order to such removal, the petitioner in the cases aforesaid must, at the time of filing his petition therefor, offer in said state court good and sufficient security,” &c.
The act of 1875 for the first time expressly authorized the petition and bond to be filed out of term time. There must have been some object in this change. We think it was to prevent the state court from proceeding further in the case after the proper papers were filed in the suit with the clerk.
There was nothing more to be done in order to perfect the right. A condition of the bond is that the petitioner shall enter in the circuit court of the United States at its next term a copy of the record of the suit, and pay the costs if the suit be wrongfully removed, and is for the benefit of the opposite party.
The seventh section of the statute has an important bearing on the question. It often happens that the terms of the state court are only once or twice a year. If after the filing of the petition and bond in the suit in
Osgood v. CHICAGO, DANVILLE, AND VINCENNES R. R. Co.
the state court not in term, the circuit court of the United States should sit before the state court; for example, the former in one month and the latter in two months from the time of filing the petition and bond, if there must be an opportunity for the state court to act on them before the right of removal is perfected, how is it possible for the petitioner to comply with the condition of the bond ?
The only answer that can be given is, that in spite of the words of the third section, that the bond and petition may be filed before the term, there is in fact and law no filing of the petition and bond until the court is in session, in effect thereby striking those words out of the statute; and thus the state judge has power over the case from the commencement till the petition and bond are presented to him while holding court, which we think Congress intended he should not have when they were duly filed in vacation.
Under previous laws, in some instances the clerks of the state court would not give copies of the record when a petition for removal was filed. The recent act imposes a severe penalty in case of their refusal to furnish a copy of the record after tender of the legal fees, to any one applying for removal, not when the removal is ordered or refused by the court. It is said, there must be a power in the state court to determine whether the petition and bond are sufficient, and whether the case is removable under the statute. It is true that the party seeking the removal of the cause must be entitled to the same, but we think the statute did not intend to permit the state court to judge in such a case as this whether a proper case was made. That was one of the difficulties under former statutes. If the state court chose to proceed, the only remedy was supposed to be through the highest court of the state, to the supreme court of the United States. See Hough v. W. T. Company, 1 Bissell R. 425; Akerly v. Vilas, 2 Ib. 110; In re Cromie, Ib. 160, and authorities cited in those cases and notes. This statute gives the circuit court of the United States power to issue the writ of certiorari to the state court in any cause removable under the act, and therefore to the federal court the right to determine whether the cause is properly removable.
It is claimed by the plaintiff's counsel that is given when the state court refuses to act. But the state court may omit to place on the record the refusal or non-action, and whether it does or not there can be no object in issuing a writ of certiorari, the sole effect of which is to bring the record into the federal court, if it is already there duly certified by the clerk under the seal of the state court. This statute has not given power to the circuit court of the United States to compel the state court to act by writ of mandamus or otherwise. The sole object of the writ of certiorari, as the statute itself says, is to make return of the record.
The fifth section contains provisions which are new. It is true that in practice under previous laws, when a case came into the federal court by removal from the state court, motions could be made to dismiss and remand the case, but their decision depended on general principles. Now, the fifth section controls the action of the federal court, both as to the dismissal and remanding of cases. It did not intend the suit should be dismissed or remanded, on account of irregularities, provided it satisfactorily appeared that the court had jurisdiction of the cause. Here the