Chapman v. Goodnow's Administrator
123 U.S. 540 (1887)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chapman v. Goodnow's Administrator, 123 U.S. 540 (1887)

Chapman v. Goodnow's Administrator

Argued November 1, 1887

Decided December 5, 1887

123 U.S. 540

Syllabus

While the judgment of this Court in Wolcott v. Des Moines Company, 5 Wall. 681, may be referred to by parties as a judicial precedent, it is not

Page 123 U. S. 541

an estoppel as against the defendant in error. Stryker v. Goodnow, ante,123 U. S. 527, affirmed to this point.

The Supreme Court of Iowa having given full effect to the case of Homestead Co. v. Valley Railroad, l7 Wall. 153, as a bar to the recovery in this suit as it stood originally, but having held that a new cause of action had arisen out of acts of the plaintiffs in error, which were equivalent to an election by them to treat the payments of taxes made by the Homestead Company as payments by themselves, and which implied a new promise of reimbursement for the advancement made, and it appearing that that was the real ground for the decision of the Supreme Court of Iowa, and that it was not used to give color to a refusal to allow the bar of the decree in Homestead Company v. Valley Railroad, no federal question on that point is raised by the record.

If a federal question is fairly presented by the record, and its decision is necessary to the determination of the case, a judgment which rejects the claim but avoids all reference to it is as much against the right, within the meaning of Rev.Stat. § 709, as if it had been specifically referred to and the right directly refused, but if a decision of such a question is rendered unnecessary by the view which the court properly takes of the rest of the case within the scope of the pleadings, the judgment is not open to review here.

These were suits to recover taxes under circumstances in the main similar to those set forth in Stryker v. Goodnow, ante,123 U. S. 527. The cause was argued with Stryker v. Goodnow. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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