Big Vein Coal Co. v. Read
229 U.S. 31 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Big Vein Coal Co. v. Read, 229 U.S. 31 (1913)

Big Vein Coal Company of West Virginia v. Read

No. 501

Argued April 11, 1913

Decided May 26, 1913

229 U.S. 31

Syllabus

A Circuit Court of the United States has no jurisdiction to issue an order of attachment in a case where no personal service can be had upon the defendant and where there has been no personal appearance in the action.

Neither under § 915, Rev.Stat., nor under any provision of the Act of March 3, 1887, as amended August 13, 1888, can the auxiliary remedy by attachment be had in a Circuit Court of the United States where that court cannot obtain jurisdiction over the defendant personally.

Page 229 U. S. 32

An attachment is still but an incident to a suit, and unless jurisdiction can be obtained over the defendant, his estate cannot be attached in a federal court.

This Court will not construe an amendment to the judiciary statute as making such a radical change as granting a new remedy unless provision is clearly made for making the remedy effective, and so held that, as Congress did not, in the Act of March 3, 1887, as amended August 13, 1888, make any provision for service by publication, the act will not be construed as giving jurisdiction to federal courts to grant attachments in cases where the defendant cannot be served. In the federal courts, an appearance may be made for the sole purpose of raising jurisdictional questions without thereby submitting to the jurisdiction of the court over the action, and where, as in this case, no issue involving the merits was made, a special appearance to object to the jurisdiction does not give the court jurisdiction to issue an attachment.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of a circuit court of the United States to issue an order of attachment in a case where no personal service could be had upon the defendant and wherein there was no personal appearance to the action, are stated in the opinion.

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