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U.S. Supreme Court

Philadelphia & Reading Ry. Co. v. McKibbin, 243 U.S. 264 (1917)

Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company v. McKibbin

No. 136

Argued January 25, 1917

Decided March 6, 1917

243 U.S. 264


In the absence of consent, a corporation of one state may not be summoned in another, in an action in personam, unless it is doing business in the state where it is served in such manner and to such extent as to warrant the inference that it is present there.

The process must be served on some authorized agent of the corporation.

The questions whether the corporation was doing business and whether the person served was its authorized agent being vital to the jurisdiction, either, if duly raised, is subject to be reviewed directly by this Court, as to findings of fact as well as legal conclusions, upon certificate from the district court under § 238 of the Judicial Code.

A railroad corporation not owning or operating any part of its railway or holding other property within a state may not be said to be doing business there merely because cars shipped by it, loaded with the goods of its shippers, pass into that state and are returned therefrom over the line of a connecting carrier (each carrier receiving only its proportionate share of the freight charged for the interstate haul), or because the connecting carrier, within the state, sells coupon tickets and displays the other carrier's name at its station and in the telephone directory to promote travel and public convenience.

The fact that corporations subsidiary to another are doing business in a chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 243 U. S. 265

state does not warrant finding that the other is present there, doing business.

Whether a corporation doing business in a state may be served there on a cause of action arising in another state and unrelated to the business in the first -- not decided.

An arrangement by counsel designed merely to facilitate an attempted service of summons on the president of a corporation while passing through a state and engaged on his private affairs does not estop the corporation from contesting the jurisdiction upon the ground that it was not doing business in the state.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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