St. Joseph & Grand Island R. Co. v. Steele
167 U.S. 659 (1897)

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U.S. Supreme Court

St. Joseph & Grand Island R. Co. v. Steele, 167 U.S. 659 (1897)

St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad Company v. Steele

No. 256

Argued March 31, April 1, 1897

Decided May 24, 1897

167 U.S. 659

Syllabus

No federal question is presented in this bill, on which the circuit court could base the exercise of jurisdiction, and such jurisdiction cannot be found in the character of the controversy as one existing between citizens of different states.

A railroad company, owning and operating a line running through several states, may receive and exercise powers granted by each, but does not thereby become a citizen of every state it passes through within the meaning of the jurisdiction clause of the Constitution of the United States.

The St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad Company, describing itself as a corporation created and subsisting under and by virtue of the laws of Kansas and Nebraska, and as a common carrier operating a railroad as a continuous line from the City of Grand Island, in the State of Nebraska, to the City of St. Joseph, in the State of Missouri, which railroad passes through Doniphan County, in the State of Kansas, filed in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kansas a bill of complaint against R. M. Steele, sheriff of said Doniphan County, and a citizen of the State of Kansas, seeking to restrain the said Steele, as Sheriff of Doniphan County, from levying upon and selling the complainant's property situated in said county for taxes assessed and levied against the same for the year 1892 by the assessing authorities of Doniphan County.

Page 167 U. S. 660

The defendant answered, and agreed statement of facts was filed; and, after argument, a decree was entered dismissing the bill at plaintiff's costs. Thereupon an appeal was taken by the complainant to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, where the decree of the circuit court was affirmed. 63 F. 867. The case was then brought to this Court on appeal.

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