Ex Parte Pennsylvania,
Annotate this Case
109 U.S. 174 (1883)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Ex Parte Pennsylvania, 109 U.S. 174 (1883)
Ex Parte Pennsylvania
Submitted October 15, 1883
Decided November 5, 1883
109 U.S. 174
1. The district court of the U.S. for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over the claim of a pilot appointed under the laws of Delaware for fees when the vessel is seized within the jurisdiction of the court, and properly brought before it.
2. Where the evident purpose of an application for a writ of prohibition is the correction of a supposed error in a judgment on the merits, the court will not grant the writ.
The State of Pennsylvania, by the Act of 8th June, 1881, sec. 5, enacted that every vessel which is not spoken by a pilot outside of a straight line drawn between the capes of the Delaware shall be
"exempt from the duty of taking a pilot on her voyage inward to the port of Philadelphia, and the vessel, as well as her master, owner, agent, or consignee, shall be exempt from the duty of paying pilotage, or half pilotage, or any penalty whatsoever, in case of her neglect or refusal so to do."
The State of Delaware, by the Act of 5th April, 1881, made it compulsory upon every vessel, except such as are solely coal laden, "passing in or out of the Delaware Bay by the way of Cape Henlopen" to receive a pilot. The vessel in this case did pass in by the way of Cape Henlopen, and was spoken by a Delaware pilot after she had entered the Capes. A Delaware pilot tendered his services to the incoming vessel within the exempted district bound for Philadelphia. The services being refused, the vessel was libeled in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to recover the legal fees for them. The claim was resisted on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction. The court allowed the claim, whereupon the Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania applied to this Court for a writ of prohibition to the court below, directing it to refrain from any further proceedings in the case.