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MCDONALD V. MABEE, 243 U. S. 90 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McDonald v. Mabee, 243 U.S. 90 (1917)

McDonald v. Mabee

No. 135

Submitted January 31, 1917

Decided March 6, 1917

243 U.S. 90


A person domiciled in Texas left the state intending to make his home elsewhere, his family residing there meanwhile. During his absence, an action for money was begun against him in a Texas court. After returning and remaining for a short time, he departed finally and established a domicile in another state. The only service in the action was by publication in a newspaper after his final departure. Based on this service, a personal judgment for money was rendered against him which was sustained under the laws of Texas by the supreme court of the state. Held that the judgment was absolutely void under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Quaere whether the judgment would have been good if a summons had been left at his last and usual place of abode in Texas while the family was in that state and before the new domicile was acquired?

An ordinary personal judgment for money, invalid for want of service amounting to due process of law, is as ineffective in the state of its rendition as it is elsewhere.

Since judgments are of reciprocal obligation, a judgment void if sued on by the plaintiff is void also when interposed by the defendant as a bar to the original cause of action.

175 S.W. 676, reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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