Chicago, R. I. & Pac. R. Co. v. Stude
346 U.S. 574 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, R. I. & Pac. R. Co. v. Stude, 346 U.S. 574 (1954)

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Stude

No. 209

Argued December 2-3, 1953

Decided January 18, 1954

346 U.S. 574

Syllabus

An administrative condemnation proceeding instituted by petitioner under an Iowa statute resulted in a commission's award of $23,000 damages to the landowner. The statute provides for an appeal from the commission's award to a state court. Petitioner filed a complaint in the Federal District Court, alleging diversity of citizenship, and praying that the damages for the taking of the land be fixed at not more than $10,000. Petitioner also filed an appeal in the state court, where, as required by Iowa law, the case was docketed with the landowner as plaintiff and the petitioner as defendant. Thereafter, petitioner filed a petition to remove the state court proceeding to the federal court. Respondents filed in the Federal District Court a motion to dismiss the complaint filed therein and a motion to remand the case removed from the state court.

Held:

1. The case removed from the state court was properly ordered remanded to that court. Pp. 346 U. S. 578-580.

(a) In the circumstances of this case, an order denying a motion to remand is reviewed, although the order would not be appealable if it stood alone. P. 346 U. S. 578.

(b) Within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), petitioner was plaintiff, and not "defendant," in the state court proceeding, and therefore was not authorized to remove that proceeding to the Federal District Court. Pp. 346 U. S. 578-580.

(c) For the purpose of removal, the federal law determines who is plaintiff and who is defendant, and the procedural provisions of the state law are not controlling. P. 346 U. S. 580.

2. The original complaint in the Federal District Court was properly dismissed. Pp. 346 U. S. 580-582.

(a) Petitioner's complaint in the Federal District Court was an attempt to have that court review the state proceedings on appeal. Iowa law does not purport to authorize such an appeal, Congress has provided none by statute, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure make no such provision. Pp. 346 U. S. 580-582.

Page 346 U. S. 575

(b) The complaint in the Federal District Court did not invoke the jurisdiction of that court in an eminent domain proceeding. P. 346 U. S. 582.

(c) The question whether petitioner could proceed by way of an original action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa is not here presented or decided. P. 346 U. S. 582.

204 F.2d 116, 954, affirmed.

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