Troy v. Evans
97 U.S. 1 (1877)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Troy v. Evans, 97 U.S. 1 (1877)

Troy v. Evans

97 U.S. 1

Syllabus

1. The amount of the judgment below against a defendant in an action for money is prima facie the measure of the jurisdiction of this Court in his behalf.

2. This prima facie case continues until the contrary is shown, and, if jurisdiction is invoked because of the collateral effect a judgment may have in another action, it must appear that the judgment conclusively settles the rights of the parties in a matter actually in dispute, the sum or value of which exceeds $5,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

This is an action commenced Oct. 31, 1872, by Evans, Gardner, & Co., against the Mayor and Councilmen of Troy, a municipal corporation in Alabama.

The declaration alleges that the defendant, on the 19th of February, 1869, pursuant to lawful authority, issued certain town bonds, each for $100, payable to bearer, with interest at eight percent per annum from said date, in ten annual installments, after the completion of the Mobile and Girard Railroad to said town, together with the accrued interest; that sixty-three of said bonds are the property of the plaintiffs; that said road was completed to the Town of Troy June 9, 1870; and that three annual installments of ten percent each, amounting

Page 97 U. S. 2

to $30 of the principal, are due and unpaid on each of said bonds, besides interest. The plaintiffs therefore claim $1,890, the amount of the installments due on said bonds, with interest on said bonds at eight percent per annum from Feb. 19, 1869.

The defendant's plea sets forth that at the commencement of the suit, the plaintiffs held the bonds as security for an existing liability or indebtedness of one Jones to them, which was much smaller in amount than the amount of said bonds, and which was neither paid nor extinguished by said bonds, nor by their delivery to the plaintiffs by said Jones; that the plaintiffs obtained said bonds from Jones, before the commencement of the suit, as security for his liability or indebtedness to them, and held the same as such security at the commencement of the suit, and not otherwise; and that, when they so obtained said bonds, they had notice that Jones was a citizen of the State of Alabama, as in fact he then was, and ever since has been.

There was a judgment for the plaintiffs, May 27, 1875, for $3,926.96. The defendant below then sued out this writ of error, which the defendants in error now move to dismiss, on the ground that the amount in controversy is not sufficient to give this Court jurisdiction.

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