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U.S. Supreme Court

Board of Trade v. Hammond Elevator Co., 198 U.S. 424 (1905)

Board of Trade of Chicago v. Hammond Elevator Company

No. 215

Argued April 13, 1905

Decided May 29, 1905

198 U.S. 424


The authorities, holding that the right of appeal to this Court from the circuit court, under § 5 of the Act of March 3, 1891, is limited to cases where the jurisdiction of the federal court as a federal court is put in issue and that questions of jurisdiction applicable alike to the state and the federal courts are not within its scope, apply to questions arising after a valid service has been made, and not to the question of whether jurisdiction has or has not been acquired by proper service.

This Court can review by appeal under § 5 a judgment of the circuit court dismissing the bill on the sole ground that jurisdiction had never been acquired over the defendant, a foreign corporation, for lack of proper service of process.

A Delaware corporation having its principal office in Indiana, and continuously carrying on a grain and stock brokerage business through the same persons in Illinois under an arrangement practically equivalent to agency, held, under the circumstances of this case, and in view of the statutes of Illinois as to service on foreign corporations, to be carrying on business in Illinois, and that service on such persons of process in a suit against it in the Circuit Court of the United States for Illinois was sufficient.

This is an appeal directly to this Court from a decree of the circuit court dismissing, for want of jurisdiction, a bill filed by the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, an Illinois corporation, against the Hammond Elevator Company, a Delaware corporation, and a citizen of that state.

The basis of the bill was that the appellant had a property right in the quotation of prices in transactions made within its exchange; that the defendant had entered into a conspiracy with others to steal and was using such quotations, and prayed an injunction. A subpoena was issued in the usual form, requiring the Hammond Elevator Company to appear and answer the bill, and was afterwards returned by the marshal as chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 198 U. S. 425

served within the Northern District of Illinois by delivering a copy of the same "to Albert M. Babb, agent for the Hammond Elevator Company at Peoria," and also "by reading the same to and within the presence and hearing of John L. Dickes, a member of the firm of Battle & Dickes, agents of said company," as well as upon Battle. On the day following the service, the elevator company entered a special appearance and moved the court to set aside the service of the subpoena by the marshal on the ground that the return was untrue in fact and insufficient in law, and prayed judgment of the court whether it should be compelled to appear or plead to the bill of complaint, because it had not been served with process, and because the defendant was not at the date of filing the bill, or at any other time, within the State of Illinois; that it is not a resident of such state, but is a Delaware corporation, and its principal place of business is outside the State of Illinois.

This motion of the elevator company was referred to a master to take testimony, and report the same with his conclusions of law. The master filed his report in the circuit court, recommending that the motion of the defendant to quash the service of process be sustained; whereupon counsel for plaintiff stated in open court that he was unable to make any other or different service upon the defendant, and it was ordered that the bill be dismissed as to the Hammond Elevator Company. The bill was also dismissed as to the Western Union Telegraph Company, which had been made a party by an amendment to the original bill. Thereupon appellant appealed to this Court upon the same question of jurisdiction, praying that the appeal be allowed and said question be certified, which was done. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 198 U. S. 432

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