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U.S. Supreme Court

Van Reed v. People's Nat'l Bank of Lebanon, 198 U.S. 554 (1905)

Van Reed v. People's National Bank of Lebanon

No. 229

Submitted April 25, 1905

Decided May 29, 1905

198 U.S. 554


National banks are quasi-public institutions, and for the purpose for which they are instituted are national in their character, and, within constitutional limits, are subject to control of Congress, and not to be interfered with by state legislative or judicial action except so far as Congress permits.

Under § 5242 Rev.Stat. a national bank, whether solvent or insolvent, is exempt from process of attachment before judgment in any suit, action, or proceeding in any state, county or municipal court, Pacific National Bank v. Miller, 124 U. S. 21, nor can a state court acquire jurisdiction over a national bank situated in another state by the process of attaching property within its jurisdiction under § 4 of the Act of July 12, 1882.

The plaintiff, who was the owner of a claim against the defendant, the People's National Bank of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, commenced an action in the State of New York by levying an attachment upon the funds of the defendant in that state upon the ground that it was a foreign corporation. The defendant, appearing specially for that purpose, moved to have the attachment vacated upon the ground that it was prohibited by the Revised Statutes of the United States. At special term, the motion was denied; the appellate term reversed the judgment of the special term, and vacated the attachment. The Court of Appeals answered two questions certified to it by the appellate division, and affirmed the judgment of that court. The two questions propounded are as follows:

"1. Is the defendant exempt from attachment before judgment under section 5242, U.S. Revised Statutes?"

"2. Are the rights claimed by plaintiff to attachment against the defendant before judgment and to the jurisdiction

Page 198 U. S. 555

thereby acquired preserved and given by section 4 of the Act of Congress of July 12, 1882?"

The Court of Appeals, in affirming the judgment of the court below, answered the first question in the affirmative and the second question in the negative. The case was then brought to this Court upon writ of error. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 198 U. S. 557

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