EX PARTE RAILWAY COMPANY, 103 U. S. 794 (1880)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Railway Company, 103 U.S. 794 (1880)

Ex Parte Railway Company

103 U.S. 794


1. The judgment of the circuit court on a plea to the jurisdiction will not be reviewed here upon a petition for a mandamus.

2. An attachment cannot be sued out of that court against the property of the defendant in an action where the court has not acquired jurisdiction of the person.

3. This ruling is applicable to the Circuit Court of the United States sitting in Iowa, notwithstanding the Act of June 4, 1880, c. 120. 21 Stat. 155.

Mr. Fillmore Beall presented the petition of the Des Moines and Minneapolis Railroad Company, duly verified by affidavit, and moved for a rule on the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa, Northern Division, to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue. The petition sets forth chanrobles.com-redchanrobles.com-red

Page 103 U. S. 795

that the company, a corporation existing under the laws of Iowa, brought suit in that court Sept. 3, 1880, against John B. Alley, a citizen of Massachusetts, to recover the sum of $99,616.05, and in the complaint asked, in conformity with the practice and pleading existing in the courts of Iowa, for an attachment against his property on the ground that he was a nonresident of the State of Iowa; that upon filing the complaint, duly sworn to, and the requisite bond with security, as required by the code of Iowa, the clerk of the court issued in the suit, in usual form, the ordinary summons in a civil action, and also a writ of attachment against the property of said Alley, directed to the marshal of the district, commanding him to attach the lands and tenements, goods and chattels, rights and credits, of said Alley (except such as is exempt from execution) wherever the same might be found in said district, or so much thereof as might be necessary to satisfy said sum; that said writs were delivered to the marshal for service, who thereupon made return upon said writ of attachment that the same came into his hands on the third day of September, 1880, and that he served the same on the fourth day of September, 1880, at 8 o'clock A.M., by levying upon certain shares of stock in certain named railroad corporations and in a corporation owning certain lands, the property of said Alley within said district, and he returned the said summons "not served, the within-named John B. Alley not being found in my district."

The petition further sets forth that the company thereupon filed an affidavit in the suit showing that personal service could not be made on said Alley within the said district (State) of Iowa; that the action was brought against a nonresident of the (State) District of Iowa, and that he had property in the state sought to be taken by attachment, and asking an order of service by publication, or an order for personal service upon the defendant, either within or without the (state) district; that afterwards said motion for such order coming on for hearing, said Alley entering a special plea to the jurisdiction, the gravamen thereof being that he was not an inhabitant of said district, and had not been found therein, moved a dismissal of the suit, and for an order dissolving the attachment; that the court sustained the plea, and adjudged that the suit be dismissed, and chanrobles.com-redchanrobles.com-red

Page 103 U. S. 796

the attachment dissolved, to which action of the court the company duly excepted, and gave notice of this proceeding to review the same.

The motion was for a rule to show cause why a peremptory mandamus should not issue to the circuit court commanding it to set aside its orders dismissing the suit and dissolving the attachment, to restore the cause to its place on the docket, to grant the order of service asked for, and to proceed to hear the cause further, and upon such issues as may be framed therein.