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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Phoenix Insurance Company, 117 U.S. 367 (1886)

Ex Parte Phoenix Insurance Company


Argued March 22, 1886

Decided March 29, 1886

117 U.S. 367


Distinct decrees against distinct parties, on distinct causes of action, or on a single cause of action in which there are distinct liabilities, cannot be joined to give this court jurisdiction on appeal.

Rule to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue to the judges of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Vermont commanding them to allow an appeal from decrees and rulings made by that court in a suit in equity in which the petitioners were respondents and Robert Fitton and Helen M. Fitton his wife were complainants. The relief sought in the bill was the discovery of certain policies of insurance made by the Phoenix Insurance Company, the Guardian Fire and Life Insurance Company, the North British Mercantile Insurance Company, and the Commercial Union Assurance Company through their agent, and that the defendants might be decreed to pay the complainant the sum of chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 117 U. S. 368

$12,000 insured by the policies, the property insured having been destroyed by fire. Sundry proceedings in the suit were set forth in the petition, among which were that issues of fact were submitted to a jury on the law side of the court and a verdict thereon was had in favor of the complainants, and that thereupon a master found that the damages sustained by complainants were greater than the amount demanded in the bill, and then the petition made the following allegations:

"Thereafter, during the October Term of said Circuit Court, 1885, the complainants in said bill moved for a judgment against each of the respondents for three thousand dollars (being one-fourth of the said sum of twelve thousand dollars), with interest and one-fourth of the costs of the suit, which motion, after the parties had been duly heard thereon, was granted by the court in an opinion filed by the aforesaid district judge December 29th, 1885, closing with the following decretal order :"

" Let a decree for the orators be entered for the payments by the defendants each, respectively, to the oratrix of three thousand dollars, with interest and one-fourth of the costs of suit within thirty days from the entry of the decree."

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