« ForrigeFortsett »
and Morris, receivers of the Wisconsin Central Company, to recover for personal injuries while serving the Chicago Great Western Railway Company as a fireman, as the result of a collision between the locomotive upon which he was at work and one operated by the receivers, who were officers of the Federal court. The railway company answered, and the receivers filed a petition for removal to the United States Circuit Court. The case was thereafter remanded by the Federal court, that court holding there was no separable controversy and that the joinder was in good faith. Upon the trial in the state court a verdict was directed by the court in favor of the railway company. Thereupon the receivers asked permission to file a supplemental petition for removal, and upon proffer of a petition and bond the application was denied, and a verdict was returned against the receivers only. Of this feature of the case the Chief Justice, delivering the opinion of the court, said:
“The contention here is that when the trial court determined to direct a verdict in favor of the Chicago Great Western Railway Company, the result was that the case stood as if the receivers had been sole defendants, and that they then acquired a right of removal which was not concluded by the previous action of the Circuit Court. This might have been so if when the cause was called for trial in the state court plaintiff had discontinued his action against the railway company, and thereby elected to prosecute it against the receivers solely, instead of prosecuting it on the joint cause of action set up in the complaint against all the defendants. Powers v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 169 U. S. 92. But that is not this case. The joint liability was insisted on here to the close of the trial, and the non-liability of the railway company was ruled in invitum."
In other words, the right to remove depended upon the case made in the complaint against both defendants jointly, and that right in the absence of a showing of fraudulent joinder, did not arise from the failure of the complainant to establish a joint cause of action.
The fact that by answer the defendant may show that the liability is several cannot change the character of the case made by the plaintiff in his pleading so as to affect the right of removal. It is to be remembered that we are not now dealing with joinders, which are shown by the petition for removal, or otherwise, to be attempts to sue in the state courts with a view to defeat Federal jurisdiction. In such cases entirely different questions arise, and the Federal courts may and should take such action as will defeat attempts to wrongfully deprive parties entitled to sue in the Federal courts of the protection of their rights in those tribunals.
In the present case there is nothing in the questions propounded which suggests an attempt to commit a fraud upon the jurisdiction of the Federal courts.
As shown in the opinion of the Chief Justice in the Carson case, supra, the cases are in difference as to whether a common law action can be sustained against master and servant jointly because of the responsibility of the master for the acts of the servant in prosecuting the master's business. In good faith, so far as appears in the record, the plaintiff sought the determination of his rights in the state court by the filing of a dec
a laration in which he alleged a joint cause of action.
Does this become a separable controversy within the meaning of the act of Congress because the plaintiff has misconceived his cause of action and had no right to prosecute the defendants jointly? We think in the light of the adjudications above cited from this court, it does not. Upon the face of the complaint, the only pleading filed in the case, the action is joint. It may be that the state court will hold it not to be so. It may be, which we are not called upon to decide now, that this court would so determine if the matter shall be presented in a case of which it has jurisdiction. But this does not change the character of the action which the plaintiff has seen fit to bring, nor change an alleged joint cause of action into a separable controversy for the purpose of removal. The case cannot be removed unless it is one which presents a separable controversy
wholly between citizens of different States. In determining this question the law looks to the case made in the pleadings, and determines whether the state court shall be required to surrender its jurisdiction to the Federal court.
As early as 1816 this court, in determining a question of jurisdiction, was governed by the character of the suit brought by the plaintiff. In New Orleans v. Winter, 1 Wheat. 91, it was held that a citizen of a Territory could not sue in a Federal court by joining with himself a citizen of another State. The opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Marshall, who said (p. 95): "In this case it has been doubted whether the parties might elect to sue jointly or severally. However this may be, having elected to sue jointly, the court is incapable of distinguishing their case, so far as respects jurisdiction, from one in which they were compelled to unite.
It is urged with much earnestness by the learned counsel for the company that this view works a surrender of the right of determination of Federal rights in the Federal courts, and deprives non-resident citizens of their rights to appeal to those tribunals. The decision of a state court, that such actions as the present might be joint at common law, would have no controlling effect in the Federal courts in determining the question in causes properly before them. And the question here is not what is the rule of the Federal courts in similar cases, but is, what controversies has Congress made removable in the act under consideration? Congress has not said, whatever it might do, that controversies between citizens of different States shall be removable wherein it is sought, contrary to the law as administered in the Federal courts, to hold the citizen of another State to joint liability in tort with a citizen of the State where the action is brought. The fact that the state court may take a different view from the courts of the United States of the common law as to the character of such actions, and the right to prosecute them in form joint as well as several, affords no ground of removal.
The Federal courts in some States hold a different rule as to
the doctrine of fellow-servants from that administered in the state courts, and in other ways administer the common law according to their own views. It has not been suggested that a right of removal should arise from such differences. No more has Congress given the right where the State permits an action to be prosecuted jointly which would be held to be several only in the courts of the United States. The applicant for removal has been duly summoned into a cause in course of prosecution in the state court. All of the defendants not being non-residents it can remove only if it presents a separable controversy, which can be wholly determined between itself and the plaintiff. The test of such controversy, as this court has frequently said, is the cause of action stated in the complaint. That is joint in character, and there is no attack upon the good faith of the action. In such case we hoid that no separable controversy is presented within the meaning of the act of Congress.
We answer the first question: That for the purpose of determining the right of removal the cause of action must be deemed to be joint. The views herein expressed lead to an answer to the second question in the negative.
In this opinion we have taken no account of the peculiar statute of Tennessee as to the liability of railroads for injuries to persons on the tracks, as its effect is not presented in the questions propounded, nor is it stated that the injury was received in the State of Tennessee.
CINCINNATI, NEW ORLEANS AND TEXAS PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY г. BOHON.
ERROR TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF KENTUCKY.
No. 177. Argued December 15, 1905.-Decided January 2, 1906.
Alabama Southern Railway v. Thompson, ante, p. 206, followed to effect that a railroad corporation, sued jointly with its servant for negligence of the latter for which the former is responsible, may not remove the case into the Federal court unless diversity of citizenship also exists as to the other defendants.
A State has the right by its constitution and laws to regulate actions for negligence; and where it provides, as has been done by § 241 of the constitution and § 6 of the statutes of Kentucky, that a plaintiff may proceed jointly or severally against those liable for the injury, nothing in the Federal removal statute converts such an action into a separable controversy for the purposes of removal, because of the presence of a nonresident defendant therein properly joined under the law of the State wherein it is conducting operations and is duly served with process.
THE facts are stated in the opinion.
Mr. John Galvin and Mr. Edward Colston for plaintiff in
Mr. John W. Yerkes and Mr. Robert Harding for defendant in error.
MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.
This case was considered by this court at the same time with the Alabama Southern Railway Co. v. Thompson, ante, p. 206, just decided, and we need not repeat the discussion therein had as to the construction of the removal act of 1887, under the decisions of this court. This case has an additional feature which we shall proceed to notice. The action was brought by