New Mexico v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. - 201 U.S. 41 (1906)
U.S. Supreme Court
New Mexico v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co., 201 U.S. 41 (1906)
New Mexico v. Atchison, Topeka
and Santa Fe Railway Company
Argued January 26, 1906
Decided March 12, 1906
201 U.S. 41
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT
OF THE TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO
Plaintiff sued in the district court of a territory for several items and recovered judgment for less than amount sued for but over $5,000 with interest at six percent. Defendant alone sued out writ of error from the supreme court of the territory, which disallowed $4,880 of the judgment, including interest at six percent. Plaintiff then appealed to this Court, and prayed for reinstatement of the district court judgment and, when the case was reached for hearing here, assigned as additional error that the district court had not allowed twenty-five percent, instead of six percent, interest, which would have made the amount disallowed exceed $5,000.
Held that plaintiff had not complained of the district court judgment the only matter in dispute was that part of the district court judgment which was disallowed by the territorial supreme court, and, as that was less than $5,000, the appeal to this Court could not, under the Act of March 3, 1885, 23 Stat. 443, be maintained.
The facts are stated in the opinion.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Territory of New Mexico commenced three separate actions against appellees, respectively, in the District Court of Grant County, New Mexico, to recover taxes alleged to be due on a levy to pay certain judgments against the county, including
a particular item of $276.21, arising from the increase of the valuation of the property of the railroad companies. The aggregate amount claimed was $8,646.49, with interest at the rate of twenty-five percent per annum. The cases were consolidated and submitted to the district court on an agreed statement of facts with exhibits attached, a jury being waived, and resulted in a judgment, October 9, 1902, for $5,156.71 with interest at six percent per annum. This included the $276.21 with interest. Appellees sued out writs of error from the supreme court of the territory. No cross-writ of error was brought and no-cross errors were assigned. In the supreme court, the item of $276.21 with interest was not contested. February 26, 1903, the supreme court announced its conclusion that the judgment be reversed, but, as the item of $276.21 was not contested, rendered judgment for that amount, thereby rejecting the sum of $4,880.50 of the judgment below, that sum with interest at six percent amounting to less than $5,000 on that date. 11 N.M. 669. From the judgment so rendered, the territory prosecuted an appeal to this Court under the Act of Congress in that behalf, January 17, 1905, and prayed in its assignment of errors that the judgment of the supreme court be reversed and set aside, and the cause be "remanded to said supreme court, with directions to affirm the judgment of the District Court of Grant County." The appeal was heard in this Court on January 26, 1906, and on that day appellant filed an additional assignment of errors to the effect that the Supreme Court of New Mexico erred in failing to hold that appellant was entitled to interest at the rate of twenty-five percent per annum from October 9, 1902. But the judgment of the district court gave interest at six percent, and, as before stated, the territory did not complain of that judgment as rendered.
By the Act of March 3, 1885, 23 Stat. 443, c. 355, no appeal or writ of error could be allowed from any judgment or decree of the territorial supreme courts, with certain exceptions not material here, "unless the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs,
shall exceed the sum of five thousand dollars." The matter in dispute here was that part of the judgment of the district court which was disallowed by the supreme court, and that was less than five thousand dollars.