Page images

Opinion of the Court.

the benefit of such services shall be held liable to pay what they are reasonably worth.

The cause was submitted to the jury upon the second count, and the charge of the trial court was broad enough to warrant a verdict upon that count alone, irrespective of any claim arising under the first count; and the opinion of the Court of Errors and Appeals clearly shows that the judgment was affirmed on the ground that the verdict of the jury was rendered on that count. The decision of the highest court of the . state that the verdict of the jury was to be taken as rendered upon the second count involves no Federal question, but has relation only to the law of the State and the practice of the state courts.

If it be objected that the verdict of the jury could not have been rendered on the second count alone, because although it appears from the record that the work and labor of prosecuting the claim to a successful termination was performed by the plaintiff, yet the record fails to show that any evidence was adduced upon the trial before the jury of the value of such work and labor and services, the answer is, (1.) that the bill of exceptions does not purport to set out, even in substance, all the evidence bearing on the issues in the case. It is manifest from the face of the bill of exceptions that what is stated to be the evidence given is set forth in a condensed form, and that the charge of the court to the jury assumed that there was evidence in support of the value of the services performed on which the second count was based. We think, therefore, that in the absence of any statement in the bill of exceptions that all of the evidence is set forth, that what is set forth is a mere summary; and, as the attention of the trial court was not called to the want of any evidence upon the point of the value of the services which the charge assumes to have been before the jury at the time the charge was given, the objection of such want of evidence cannot avail the plaintiff in error in an appellate court. (2) The very fact that the verdict is for an amount several hundred dollars less than wbat the plaintiff would have been entitled to recover on the claim set forth in the first count, is proof that it was rendered not on

Opinion of the Court.

that count, but necessarily on the second count. If the plaintiff was entitled to recover at all on the first count, he was entitled to recover the full amount demanded in that count, and the verdict, being for less than that amount, must have been rendered on the second count.

For these reasons we think it apparent that the judgment sought to be reviewed by this writ of error was not based on any question arising under $ 3477 of the Revised Statutes, but upon questions arising out of the cause of action set forth in the second count of the declaration; and that that judgment proceeded upon grounds broad enough in themselves, and irrespective of any Federal question, to support it. Whether correct or not, upon those grounds, it is not our province to inquire, because it does not involve a Federal question.

The rule is well settled that, even if a Federal question was raised in the state court, yet if the case was decided on grounds broad enough in themselves to sustain the judgment, without reference to the Federal question, this court will not entertain jurisdiction. The authorities in support of this rule are too numerous for citation. We cite only a few of the more recent ones: De Saussure v. Gaillard, 127 U. S. 216; Beaupré v. Noyes, 138 U. S. 397; Cook County v. Calumet & Chicago Canal Co., 138 U.S. 635; Walter A. Wood Company v. Skinner, 139 U. S. 293; and the following, at this term of the court: Hammond v. Johnston, ante, 73; City of New Orleans v. New Orleans Water Works Co., ante, 79; Ilenderson Bridge Co. v. Henderson City, 141 U. S. 679.

This case comes clearly within the rule announced, and the principle of the authorities cited; and the writ of error is, therefore,


Argument for Plaintiff's in Error.





No. 1071. Submitted January 4, 1892. – Decided January 18, 1892.

A national bank, located in one State, may bring suit against a citizen of

another State, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District wherein the defendant resides, by reason alone of diverse citizenship.

The court stated the case as follows:

The Commercial National Bank of Chicago, a national banking association, duly organized under the laws of the United States in that behalf, and located in Illinois, brought suit, May 6, 1890, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Texas, against A. C. Petri and Oswald Petri, citizens of the State of Texas, and doing business in that State under the firm name and style of A. C. Petri & Brother, to recover the amount of several drafts, held by the bank, drawn by Meyer & Sons Company, a corporation of Illinois, on the defendants and accepted by them.

The defendants demurred on the ground that the Circuit Court was without jurisdiction to entertain the suit, and also interposed certain defences not drawn in question here. The demurrer was overruled and final judgment given in favor of plaintiff for the sum of $3328.66, with interest and costs, whereupon the defendants prosecuted a writ of error from this court to review the action of the Circuit Court upon the question of jurisdiction.

Mr. W. IIallett Phillips for plaintiffs in error.

The question is, whether a national bank has now the right of suing in the Federal courts a citizen of a different State from that in which it is located, by reason alone of diverse

Argument for Plaintiffs in Error.

citizenship. The legislation on this subject will be found in the margin."

11. Act of June 3, 1864, c. 106, 13 Stat. 99. Sec. 8. Such association i.. may make contracts, sue and be sued, complain and defend, in any court of law and equity as fully as natural per. sons. (Now embodied in Rev. Stat. § 5135.] Sec. 57. That suits, actions and proceedings, against any association under this act, may be had in any circuit, district or territorial court of the United States held within the district in which such association may be established; or in any state, county or municipal court in the county or city in which said association is located, having jurisdiction in similar cases : Provided, however, That all proceedings to enjoin the comptroller under this act shall be had in a circuit, district or territorial court of the United States, held in the district in which the association is located. [Now found in Rev. Stat. $ 5198, as amended by the act of February 18, 1875, 18 Stat. 320, C. 80, and § 5237.]

2. Revised Statutes.

Sec. 563. The district courts shall have jurisdiction as follows: Fifteenth. Of all suits by or against any association established under any law providing for national banking associations within the district for which the court is held. . . Sec. 629. The Circuit Courts shall have original jurisdiction as follows:

Tenth. Of all suits by or against any banking association established in the district for which the court is held, under any law providing for national banking associations.

[ocr errors]

3. Act of July 12, 1882, 22 Stat. 162, c. 290.

Provided, however, That the jurisdiction for suits hereafter brought by or against any association established under any law providing for national banking associations, except suits between them and the United States, or its officers and agents, shall be the same as, and not other than, the jurisdiction for suits by or against banks not organized under any law of the United States which do or might do banking business where such national banking associations may be doing business when such suits may be begun: And all laws and parts of laws of the United States inconsistent with this proviso be, and the same are hereby, repealed.

4. Act of March 3, 1887, 24 Stat. 552, c. 373, as reënacted August 13, 1888, 25

Stat. 433, c. 866.

Sec. 4. That all national banking associations established under the laws of the United States shall, for the purposes of all actions by or against them, real, personal or mixed, and all suits in equity, be deemed citizens of the States in which they are respectively located; and in such cases the Circuit and District Courts shall not have jurisdiction other than such as they would have in cases between individual citizens of the same State.

Argument for Plaintiffs in Error.

The status of a national bank in the Federal courts is determined by section 4 of.the act of 1888, reënacting the language of section 4 of the act of 1887.

These acts contain the latest legislative declarations on the subject and constitute the present law. They adopt as the test of jurisdiction the right of suit in controversies between individual citizens of the same State. They also ordain that a national bank shall for the general purposes of litigation be deemed to be a citizen of the State in which it is located.

We submit, that the right of a national bank to sue in the Federal courts, is not conferred by the general provisions of law conferring such right in cases of diverse citizenship, but depends on the particular legislation applicable alone to national banks, in the acts of 1887, 1888.

It is not denied that the act of 1887 in so far changed the prior law, as to thenceforth prevent a national bank from suing in the Federal courts in the State where located. This privilege was formerly possessed under section 639 of the Revised Statutes. But there is nothing in the language of this act which necessarily shows that Congress, while prohibiting a national bank from suing in the Federal courts in the State where located, authorized it in all cases to sue in the Federal courts in other States.

The act of 1882 had already placed national banks on the same footing, as respects jurisdiction of the Federal courts, as that possessed by non-federal banks, or, in other words, the same jurisdiction as that possessed generally by citizens of different States. Its language is that the jurisdiction for suits brought by or against such associations, with certain exceptions not here material, “shall be the same and not other than the jurisdiction by or against banks not organized under any law of the United States."

If Congress had intended the jurisdiction, as provided in the act of 1882, to continue, they would either have retained its language in any new enactment or, what is more reasonable, they would not have made a new enactment, as the old law fully covered the subject matter.

The declaration in the act of 1887, that national banks

« PreviousContinue »