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U.S. Supreme Court

Metropolitan Co. v. Kaw Valley District, 223 U.S. 519 (1912)

Metropolitan Water Company v.

Kaw Valley Drainage District

No. 844

Argued January 16, 1912

Decided February 19, 1912

223 U.S. 519


A direction in the mandate that the court below proceed in accordance with the opinion operates to make the opinion a part of the mandate as completely as though set out at length.

On appeal from a mere interlocutory order, the circuit court of appeals may direct the bill to be dismissed if it appears that the complainant is not entitled to maintain his suit.

Where the circuit court of appeals has authority to make a ruling which finally disposes of the case, and the defeated party does not successfully prosecute either the certification of the question of jurisdiction to this Court or writ of certiorari from this Court, the judgment of the circuit court of appeals remains conclusive upon the parties and binding upon the circuit court and any other court to which the case can be taken. Brown v. Alton Water Company, 222 U. S. 325.

The Metropolitan Water Company, a corporation of the State of West Virginia, owned land which the Kaw Valley Drainage District, a corporation of the State of Kansas, desired to acquire for public purposes.

Under the provisions of the act regulating the condemnation of land, the defendant in error presented to the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 223 U. S. 520

judge of the District Court of Wyandotte County a petition for the appointment of commissioners to value the property of the complainant, necessary to be condemned for drainage purposes. The water company immediately filed with the judge a petition to remove the case to the United States circuit court. After argument this petition was denied and commissioners were appointed. The complainant at once filed, in the United States circuit court, its bill in aid of the removal proceeding, praying that the defendant and the commissioners be enjoined from further prosecuting the condemnation proceedings. Among other things it alleged that the act violated the Fourteenth Amendment because it deprived the complainant of his property before judicial ascertainment of its value and before payment in that, when the report of the commissioners was filed with the register of deeds, the defendant, on paying the amount of the award, could take possession of the property, and, though an appeal to the district court was permitted, the defendant could retain possession in the meantime on giving bond to pay the amount of the verdict.

To this bill the defendant demurred, and, after hearing, a temporary injunction was granted restraining the defendant from proceeding further to condemn the property of the complainant. This order was reversed by the circuit court of appeals, which, in an elaborate opinion, held that the statute was valid and that, until an appeal was taken from the award of the commissioners, the proceeding was in the nature of an inquest to determine damages, and not a "suit" within the meaning of the removal statute, and therefore not removable into the federal court thereunder (186 F.3d 5).

The mandate directed

"that the order granting the injunction be reversed, and that the cause be, and the same is hereby, remanded to the said circuit court, with directions for proceeding in accordance with the opinion

Page 223 U. S. 521

of this Court."

On the return of the mandate, the circuit court sustained the demurrer, and, in allowing the appeal to this Court, certified that it dismissed the bill solely on the ground of the want of jurisdiction.

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