Edwards v. Bates County
163 U.S. 269 (1896)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Edwards v. Bates County, 163 U.S. 269 (1896)

Edwards v. Bates County, 163 U.S. 269 (1896)

No. 259

Submitted April 29, 1896

Decided May 18, 1896

163 U.S. 269

Syllabus

In determining the jurisdictional amount in an action in a circuit court of the United States to recover on a municipal bond, the matured coupons are to be treated as separable independent promises, and not as interest due upon the bond.

Action by James C. Edwards against Bates county, impleaded in behalf of Mt. Pleasant township. A judgment sustaining a plea to the jurisdiction was affirmed, and plaintiff brings error. Reversed.

On October 5, 1891, plaintiff in error filed his petition to recover from the defendant an aggregate alleged indebtedness, consisting of the following items:

1. The principal of two bonds for $1,000 each, issued by the defendant on January 18, 1871, with interest from the date of maturity of the bonds (January 18, 1886).

2. The amount of interest coupons on said bonds, due and payable on the 18th day of January, in the years 1873 to 1886, both inclusive, with interest from the maturity of each coupon; and,

3. The principal of seven funded bonds of said county, each for the sum of one hundred dollars, dated October 1, 1885, and payable October 1, 1905.

The petition alleged that due notice had been given by the county, pursuant to an option reserved by it, that it would redeem said last-named bonds at a place named on the 1st of July, 1891, and that on that date, and at the place designated, said bonds had been duly presented, and payment thereof demanded and refused.

A plea to the jurisdiction was filed on behalf of the defendant, based upon the claim that the matter in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, did not exceed the sum or value of $2,000. It was alleged, among other things, that each of the funded bonds provided on its face that the said County of Bates, for and on behalf of the Township of Mt. Pleasant, reserved the right at its option to redeem the bonds at any time after five years from the 1st day of October, 1885, in accordance

Page 163 U. S. 270

with the conditions printed on the back, which conditions, among other things, provided for the giving of notice, by advertisement, of the intention to redeem, and further provided that

"if any bond be not presented as required in such notice or within thirty days after the date therein fixed, interest thereon shall cease from said date, but said bond, with interest accrued to said date, shall be payable upon presentment at the office of the Treasurer of Bates County at any time thereafter."

It was further alleged that the funding bonds in question had not been presented for payment, and that the purpose of including them in the suit at bar was merely in aid of an attempt to confer jurisdiction upon the court over the claim of plaintiff upon the two one thousand dollar bonds. The plaintiff filed a reply to the plea to the jurisdiction, and the issue thereby raised was heard upon an agreed statement of facts and certain documentary evidence unnecessary to be specifically stated.

In the agreed statement of facts, it was admitted that the funding bonds in question had never been presented for payment at the place designated by the contract for the redemption of the same, though said county had on deposit at the depository named in the advertised notice of intention to redeem, on said 1st day of July, 1891, and for more than thirty days thereafter, sufficient funds to pay said bonds, which funds had been deposited for such special purpose, and that the County of Bates had in the hands of its county treasurer money sufficient belonging to said township to pay said bonds at any and all times after said thirty days from said 1st day of July, 1891, if they had been presented for payment by the holder thereof.

The trial court sustained the plea, and dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction. 55 F. 436. The case was then brought to this Court by writ of error.

Page 163 U. S. 271

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