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AMERICAN CONSTR. CO. V. JACKSONVILLE &C. CO., 148 U. S. 372 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

American Constr. Co. v. Jacksonville &c. Co., 148 U.S. 372 (1893)

American Construction Company v. Jacksonville,

Tampa & Key West Railway Company

Nos. 14, 15, original

Argued March 6-7, 1893

Decided March 27, 1893

148 U.S. 372

Syllabus

A writ of mandamus does not lie to the United States circuit court of appeals to review, or to the circuit court of the United States to disregard, a decree of the circuit court of appeals, made on appeal from an interlocutory order of the circuit court, and alleged to be in excess of its powers on such an appeal, but which might be made on appeal from the final decree, when rendered.

Under the Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, § 6, this Court has power, in a case made final in the circuit court of appeals, although no question of law has been certified by that court to this, to issue a writ of certiorari to review a decree of that court on appeal from an interlocutory order of the circuit court, but will not exercise this power unless it is necessary to prevent extraordinary inconvenience and embarrassment in the conduct of the cause.

This court will not issue a writ of certiorari to review a decree of the circuit court of appeals by which, on appeal from an interlocutory order of the circuit court granting an injunction, appointing a receiver of a railway company, and authorizing him to issue receiver's notes, the injunction has not only been modified, but the order has been reversed in other respects.

A decree of the circuit court of appeals by which, on appeal from an interlocutory order of the circuit court vacating an order appointing a receiver, the order appealed from has been reversed, the receivership restored and the case remanded to the circuit court to determine who should be receiver, will not be reviewed by this Court by writ of certiorari, either because no appeal lies from such an interlocutory order or because the order appointing the receiver was made by a circuit judge when outside of his circuit.

A circuit judge having taken part in a decree of the circuit court of appeals on an appeal from an interlocutory order setting aside a previous order of his in the case, this Court granted a rule to show cause why a writ of certiorari should not issue to the circuit court of appeals to bring up and quash its decree because he was prohibited by the Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, § 3, from sitting at the hearing. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 148 U. S. 373

These were two petitions to this Court, each praying in the alternative for a writ of mandamus or a writ of certiorari to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In the first case (No. 14), it appeared that the following proceedings were had in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida.

On July 6, 1892, the American Construction Company, a corporation of Illinois and a stockholder in the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway Company, a corporation of Florida, engaged in operating a railroad in that state, filed a bill in equity in behalf of itself and of such other stockholders as might come in against the railway company and against its president and directors, citizens of other states, alleging that they had made a contract in its behalf which was illegal and void, and unjust to its stockholders, and had declined to have an account taken, and praying for an account, a receiver, and an injunction.

On the filing of the bill, Judge Swayne, the district judge, made a restraining order by which, until the plaintiff's motion for an injunction and for the appointment of a receiver could be heard and determined, the railway company and its officers and agents were enjoined and restrained from remitting, sending, or removing any of its income, tolls, and revenues from the jurisdiction of the court and from selling, disposing of, hypothecating, or pledging any of its bonds of a certain issue at less than their par value.

On August 4, 1892, Judge Swayne, after a hearing of the parties, made an order appointing Mason Young receiver of all the property of the railway company, enjoining the railway company, its officers and agents, and all persons in possession of its property, from interfering with the possession, control, management, and operation of the property, and from obstructing the exercise of the receiver's rights and powers, or the performance of his duties, and continuing the restraining order of July 6 until the further order of the court.

On August 5, Judge Swayne, on a petition of the receiver, and after hearing him and the parties, made an order authorizing chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 148 U. S. 374

him to pay certain interest and obligations of the railway company out of the income and money coming into his hands as receiver, or, if those should be insufficient for that purpose, to issue receiver's notes in payment of such interest and obligations, or at his discretion to borrow money on such receiver's notes for that purpose, the amount of such notes outstanding at one time not to exceed $125,000.

On August 27, the railway company prayed and was allowed an appeal from the orders of August 4 and August 5 to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and gave bond to prosecute the appeal.

On November 18, the construction company moved the circuit court of appeals to dismiss the appeal because that court had no jurisdiction to review the action of the circuit court in making those orders or either of them.

On January 16, 1893, the circuit court of appeals, held by Circuit Judges Pardee and McCormick and District Judge Locke, denied the motion to dismiss the appeal and entered a decree reversing and setting aside the orders appealed from except as to the injunction, modifying the injunction so as to permit the railway company to send away money for the payment of its bonds which had been regularly sold, and for the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies, and to restrain it from disposing of at less than their par value, such only of the bonds of the issue mentioned as remained the property of the company, and instructing the circuit court to modify accordingly the restraining order of July 6th, continued by the order of August 4th, and to vacate the order of August 4, appointing a receiver, to discharge the receiver, and to restore the property of the company to its officers.

On January 23, the construction company filed a petition for a rehearing upon the grounds, among others, that the circuit court of appeals had no jurisdiction to review an order appointing a receiver and that its decree did not allow the receiver time to settle his accounts nor provide for the payment of his notes in the hands of bona fide holders for value.

On January 30, the circuit court of appeals denied a rehearing and sent down a mandate in accordance with its chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 148 U. S. 375</