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345; Christmas v. Russell, 14 Wall. 69, 81; Krippendorf v. Hyde, 110 U. S. 276, 281; Lammon v. Feusier, 111 U. S. 17, 19; Covell v. Heyman, 111 U. S. 176, 179, 180; Dewey v. West Fairmont Gas Coal Co., 123 U. S. 329, 333; Gumbel v. Pitkin, 124 U. S. 131, 144; Morgan's Co. v. Texas Central Railway, 137 U. S. 171, 201; Byers v. McAuley, 149 U. S. 608, 615; Root v. Woolworth, 150 U. S. 401, 413; Moran v. Sturges, 154 U. S. 256, 274; White v. Ewing, 159 U. S. 36, 39; Carey v. Houston & Texas Ry., 161 U. S. 115, 130; In re Johnson, 167 U. S. 120, 125; Pope v. Louisville &c. Ry., 173 U. S. 573, 577; Wabash Railroad v. Adelbert College, 208 U. S. 38, 54), because complainants have not planted themselves upon that ground.

Complainants are not parties to the proceeding in bankruptcy, and are setting up rights in opposition to the adjudication and the appointment of trustees therein. They seek to have the trustees restrained from prosecuting the equity suit against them in the state court of Florida, and to that end undertake to show (a) that the bankruptcy proceedings were void for want of jurisdiction; (b) that the entire proceedings were a fraud upon the Bankrupt Act; and (c) that, even if the proceedings were valid, the appointment of the trustees was void. This is the theory of the bill of complaint, and it is by this that the right of ultimate appeal to this court is to be tested, rather than by the grounds upon which the District Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals reached conclusions adverse to the relief prayed. Were the views adopted by those courts found to be untenable, it would be necessary to pass upon the attack made by complainants upon the title of the trustees in bankruptcy; and to do this would require us to determine the construction and effect of those provisions of the Bankruptcy Act that bear upon the matters of fact averred as the basis of the attack. We deem, therefore, that the suit is one arising under the laws of the United States, within the meaning of


Opinion of the Court.

234 U.S.

$ 24, Judicial Code, and the motion to dismiss will be denied.

Upon the merits, we find it unnecessary to consider the views expressed by the District Court, since it seems to us that the view of the Circuit Court of Appeals as to the effect of $ 720, Rev. Stat., is correct, and is sufficient to dispose of the case.

The substance of the matter is that complainants allege that they are the owners of certain property in Florida in which defendants, as trustees in bankruptcy of the Port Tampa Company, assert an equitable claim or interest, to establish which they are prosecuting or attempting to prosecute an equitable action in a Florida state court against complainants. The latter aver that because of fraud, or for other reasons, the proceedings and adjudication in bankruptcy and the appointment of defendants as trustees are invalid, and that for this reason any decree that may be made by the Florida state court will not be binding upon the Port Tampa Company. As already mentioned, the specific prayer is that defendants may be restrained from asserting or claiming as trustees in bankruptcy, in any court or place, any right, title or interest in the property. There is a prayer for general relief, but it was pointed out by the Circuit Court of Appeals (207 Fed. Rep. 543, 544) that no right to relief other than by way of an injunction was brought to the attention of the District Court or of the Court of Appeals upon the hearing. The general praver should therefore be treated as abandoned.

So far as the action already pending in the Florida court of equity is concerned, the case is clearly within $ 720, Rev. Stat. (§ 265, Judicial Code, 36 Stat. 1162, c. 231): “The writ of injunction shall not be granted by any court of the United States to stay proceedings in any court of a State, except in cases where such injunction may be authorized by any law relating to proceedings in bank

234 U.S.

Opinion of the Court.

ruptcy.” The latter clause formerly had reference to § 5106, Rev. Stat. (§ 21 of the Bankruptcy Act of March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. 517, 526, c. 176); in the place of which we now have $ 11 and sub-divisions 7 and 15 of $2 of the Bankruptcy Act of July 1, 1898 (30 Stat. 544, 546, 549, c. 541). It is quite evident that the injunction sought by the present complainants is not one authorized by the Bankruptcy Act.

The prohibition against injunctions to stay proceedings in state courts originated in the act of March 2, 1793 (c. 22, § 5, 1 Stat. 333, 335), and has been constantly observed by the courts. See Diggs v. Wolcott, 4 Cranch, 179; Peck v. Jenness, 7 How. 612, 625; Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. 679, 719; Haines .v. Carpenter, 91 U. S. 254, 257; Dial v. Reynolds, 96 U. S. 340; Chapman v. Brewer, 114 U. S. 158, 172; United States v. Parkhurst-Davis Co., 176 U. S. 317, 320; Hunt v. New York Cotton Exchange, 205 U. S. 322, 338; Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line, 211 U. S. 210, 226.

It is recognized, however, that § 720 was not intended to limit the power of the Federal courts to enforce their authority in cases that on other grounds are within their proper jurisdiction; and hence, it has been held that, in aid of its jurisdiction properly acquired, and in order to render its judgments and decrees effectual, a Federal court may restrain proceedings in a state court which would have the effect of defeating or impairing such jurisdiction. French, Trustee, v. Hay, 22 Wall. 250; Dietzsch v. Huidekoper, 103 U. S. 494, 497; Julian v. Central Trust Co., 193 U. S. 93, 112; Traction Co. v. Mining Co., 196 U. S. 239, 245.

The contention that the present case falls within this exception to the general application of $ 720, because the bill is really filed in aid of the judgment of a Federal court, that is to say, the judgment in favor of Hull in the ejectment suit in the Circuit Court of the United States for

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the Southern District of Florida, will not bear analysis. The ejectment suit was commenced after the adjudication of bankruptcy, and the bill does not aver that the judgment cut off the equitable rights of the Port Tampa Company, but on the contrary declares that if that company had any title to the property, legal or equitable, at the time of the adjudication of bankruptcy, such title still remains in the company. It is not averred that the claim of equitable right on the part of the company is inconsistent with the judgment, or should be subordinated to it. The present trustees, or either of them, were not made parties to the ejectment suit, nor is the company made a party to the present action. And, upon the whole, it seems to us that by no interpretation or construction can the present bill be deemed to have been filed in aid of the judgment in ejectment, or be sustained upon that theory.

It is argued that the bill cannot be deemed to have as its object the staying of a pending suit in the state court, because that action abated upon Burr's resignation as trustee, and no further proceeding can be had until his successors have been made parties. To this point a decision of the Florida Supreme Court in the very action is cited; Hull v. Burr, 62 Florida, 499. We do not interpret this decision as sustaining the contention, and in a subsequent stage of the same litigation (64 Florida, 83), the court distinctly held that the action did not abate on the resignation of Burr, but might be proceeded with by his successors when appointed, the same as if originally instituted by them; and that a supplemental bill was the proper procedure to have such successors formally brought into the case as parties. Indeed, it is only upon the theory that defendants are prosecuting that suit that the complainants show ground for an injunction against them.

To the suggestion that the term “any court,” in the bill of complaint, may include other Federal courts, it is

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sufficient to say that the bill is devoid of any showing that defendants are asserting claims against complainants' title in any court other than the Florida state court. Hence there is no occasion to invoke the general rule that the court first obtaining jurisdiction of a controversy should be permitted to proceed without interference. Peck v. Jenness, 7 How. 612, 624; Central National Bank v. Stevens, 169 U. S. 432, 459; Bigelow v. Old Dominion Copper Co., 74 N. J. Eq. 457, 473, et seq.

We deem that the main object of the bill, to which all else is incidental, is in contravention of $ 265 of the Judicial Code (formerly $ 720 of the Revised Statutes), and that therefore the decree should be






No. 826. Submitted April 16, 1914.—Decided June 22, 1914.

Motion to dismiss a writ of error to the state court to review a judg

ment in an action under the Employers' Liability Act in which the

construction of the Safety Appliance Acts was involved, denied. By the Employers' Liability Act the defense of assumption of risk re

mains as at common law, save in those cases mentioned in § 4 where the violation by the carrier of any statute enacted for the safety of

employés contributed to the accident. This court has heretofore construed the letter of the Safety Appliance

Act in the light of its spirit and purpose as indicated by the title no less than by the enacting clauses and that guiding principle should

be adhered to. Although the original Safety Appliance Act may not have applied to

vehicles other than freight cars, the amendment of 1903 so broadened its scope as to make its provisions, including those respecting

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