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U.S. Supreme Court

Fidelity National Bank v. Swope, 274 U.S. 123 (1927)

Fidelity National Bank & Trust Company of Kansas City v. Swope

No. 46

Argued April 29, 30, 1926

Decided April 11, 1927

274 U.S. 123


1. Where jurisdiction of the district court was based on diverse citizenship as well as the constitutional question raised by the bill, its decree was appealable to the circuit court of appeals, (Jud.Code § 128), and the decree of that court appealable here, under Jud.Code § 241, before amendment. P. 274 U. S. 125. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 274 U. S. 124

2. In a suit under § 28 of Art. VIII of the Kansas City Charter to validate a special improvement ordinance and proposed assessment of the cost on the lands within the benefit district described in the ordinance, notice to the property owners by publication in a local newspaper is sufficient to constitute due process. Pp. 274 U. S. 130, 274 U. S. 134.

3. A proceeding under § 28 of Art. VIII of the Kansas City Charter, brought in a state court of plenary jurisdiction by the city against the owners of property in a benefit district for the purpose of determining the validity of an ordinance authorizing a special improvement and of proposed assessments and liens under the ordinance, is a judicial proceeding in which the sole duty of the court is to pass on questions of law and to inquire judicially into the facts only so far as necessary in applying the law -- a "case" or "controversy" within the meaning of Const. Art. III, § 2, and a judgment validating the ordinance and proposed liens is res judicata, preventing further litigation of these matters by the property owner or his privies in the state or federal courts, otherwise than by appeal. P. 130.

4. A decision of the state supreme court determining the effect of judgments in such proceedings as res judicata must be accepted by this Court, though rendered after the litigation which raised the question in this Court was begun. P. 274 U. S. 134.

5. In a suit of the kind above described, the contractor who subsequently does the improvement work, and those to whom he assigns the tax bill he receives in payment, are represented by the city, so that the estoppel may be availed of by such assignees in a suit by a property owner to annul their tax bills. P. 274 U. S. 135.

6. Award of process of execution is not an indispensable adjunct to exercise of the judicial function. P. 274 U. S. 132.

2 F.2d 676 reversed.

Certiorari from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court (274 F.8d 1) adjudging void and cancelling certain tax bills held by appellants which had been issued to defray the cost of grading a boulevard in Kansas City. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 274 U. S. 125

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