Gordon v. Ogden - 28 U.S. 33 (1830)
U.S. Supreme Court
Gordon v. Ogden, 28 U.S. 3 Pet. 33 33 (1830)
Gordon v. Ogden
28 U.S. (3 Pet.) 33
The plaintiff below claimed more than $2,000 in his declaration, but obtained a judgment for a less sum.
The jurisdiction of this Court depends on the sum or value in dispute between the parties, as the case stands upon the writ of error in this Court, not on that which was in dispute in the circuit court.
If the writ of error be brought by the plaintiff below, then the sum which the declaration shows to be due may be still recovered should the judgment for a smaller sum be reversed, and consequently the whole sum claimed is still in dispute.
But if the writ of error be brought by the defendant in the original action, the judgment of this Court can only affirm that of the circuit court, and consequently the matter in dispute cannot exceed the amount of that judgment. Nothing but that judgment is in dispute between the parties.
Mr. Ogden moved to dismiss the writ of error in this case on the ground that the court had not jurisdiction of the cause, the sum in controversy not amounting to $2,000, the amount for which a writ of error is allowed. He stated, that the action was instituted for the violation of a patent, and the amount of the recovery in damages was $400 by the verdict of the jury. If, under the provision of the patent law, the damages are to be trebled, it will not amount to a sum authorizing the writ of error.
Although the damages laid in the declaration are $2,600, yet, after verdict, as the writ of error is taken by the defendant below, the only matter in dispute here is the amount of the verdict, or at most, treble that sum, being $1,200. If the sum stated in the declaration shall be allowed to ascertain the amount in dispute, in every case of tort or of claims of uncertain damages, the plaintiff who might insert any sum in his declaration could secure the right to a writ of error to this Court.