Wabash R. Co. v. Adelbert College
208 U.S. 38 (1908)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Wabash R. Co. v. Adelbert College, 208 U.S. 38 (1908)

Wabash R. Company v. Adelbert College

No. 40

Argued November 6-7, 1907

Decided January 6, 1908

208 U.S. 38

Syllabus

Where the federal questions are clearly presented by the answer in the state court, and the decree rendered could not have been made without adversely deciding them, and, as in this case, they are substantial as involving the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court over property in its possession and the effect to be given to its decree, this Court has jurisdiction and the writ of error will not be dismissed.

Page 208 U. S. 39

The taking possession by a court of competent jurisdiction of property through it officers withdraws that property from the jurisdiction of all other courts, and the latter, though of concurrent jurisdiction, cannot disturb that possession, during the continuance whereof the court originally acquiring jurisdiction is competent to hear and determine all questions respecting the title, possession, and control of the property. Under this general rule, ancillary jurisdiction of the federal courts exists over subordinate suits affecting property in their possession although the diversity of citizenship necessary to confer jurisdiction in an independent suit does not exist.

The possession of property in the circuit court carries with it the exclusive jurisdiction to determine all judicial questions concerning it, and that jurisdiction continues after the property has passed out of its possession by a sale under its decree to the extent of ascertaining the rights of, and extent of liens asserted by, parties to the suit, and which are expressly reserved by the decree and subject to which the purchaser takes title, and anyone asserting any of such reserved matters as against the property must pursue his remedy in the circuit court, and the state court is without jurisdiction.

It will be presumed that the circuit court, in determining the validity of liens affecting property in its possession, will consider the decision of the courts of the state in which the property is situated with that respect which the decisions of this Court require.

A suit brought by the holder of some of a series of bonds, the complaint in which alleges that the suit is brought on complainant's behalf and also on behalf of all others of like interest joining therein and contributing to the expenses, and of which no other notice of its pendency is given to the other bondholders, is not a representative or class suit the judgment in which binds those not joining therein or not privies to those who do. Compton v. Jesup, 68 F. 263, concurred in.

See also p. 208 U. S. 609, post.

This is a writ of error directed to the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio. In that court, the defendants in error obtained a decree declaring that certain negotiable notes held by them, which had been made by the Toledo & Wabash Railway Company, were entitled to a lien on property once owned by that company and now owned by the plaintiff in error, and ordering a sale in satisfaction of that lien. The federal questions presented and such facts as are deemed material to their decision are stated in the opinion.

Page 208 U. S. 43

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