West Side Belt R. Co. v. Pittsburgh Constr. Co.
219 U.S. 92 (1911)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

West Side Belt R. Co. v. Pittsburgh Constr. Co., 219 U.S. 92 (1911)

West Side Belt Railroad Company v.

Pittsburgh Construction Company

No. 61

Motion to dismiss or affirm

Submitted December 5, 1910

Decided January 3, 1911

219 U.S. 92

Syllabus

When plaintiff in error asserts that the state court has not given due faith and credit to a prior judgment of a federal court between the same parties, he asserts a right under the Constitution of the United States and a federal question is raised, and, unless manifestly frivolous, the writ of error will not he dismissed.

In this case, the consideration given to the federal question by the state court demonstrates that it is not so far frivolous as to sustain a motion to dismiss.

Where the action is based on counts upon a contract and also upon quantum meruit and the evidence to sustain the latter is ruled out, the action rests solely on the contract, and the right to maintain it is determined as though brought solely on the contract.

Where an action was dismissed by the circuit court of the United States on the sole ground that plaintiff, a foreign corporation, could not sue owing to noncompliance with a state statute, the effect to be given to that judgment in a subsequent action between the same parties in the state court after a curative statute has been enacted raises a federal question.

Where the state, by statute, gives a person the right to avoid a contract for a purpose of its own and not because of the merits of the obligation, it may, so long as the matter remains in fieri, take that right away, and so held that a curative statute allowing foreign corporations who had not complied with the registration statute to sue, on complying therewith, on contracts made before registration, is within the power of the state, and a judgment entered in an action on a contract in the state court brought after the curative statute does not deny full faith and credit to a judgment of the federal court entered in an action between the same parties dismissing the complaint on same cause of action solely on the ground that plaintiff had not complied with the registration laws.

Page 219 U. S. 93

The Act of Pennsylvania of May 3, 1907, P.L. 205, validating contracts made by foreign corporations which had not complied with registration laws, was within the power of the state, and in this case was held to apply to a contract which the courts theretofore had refused to enforce on account of the noncompliance with such registration laws.

227 Pa.St. 90 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity of a statute of Pennsylvania validating contracts made by foreign corporations and the effect to be given to a judgment of the federal court, are stated in the opinion.

Page 219 U. S. 96

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