Barron v. Burnside
Annotate this Case
121 U.S. 186 (1887)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Barron v. Burnside, 121 U.S. 186 (1887)
Barron v. Burnside
Argued March 18, 21, 1887
Decided April 11, 1887
121 U.S. 186
The statute of Iowa, approved April 6, 1886, c. 76, which requires that every foreign corporation named in it shall, as a condition of obtaining a permit for the transaction of business in Iowa, stipulate that it will not remove into the federal court certain suits which it would, by the laws of the United States, have a right to remove is void because it makes the right to a permit dependent upon the surrender by the foreign corporation of a privilege secured to it by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
This is a writ of error brought by Henry S. Barron to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa, on a trial on a writ of habeas corpus, remanding him to the custody of George W. Burnside, Sheriff of Linn County, Iowa, by whom he was held under a warrant for his arrest issued by a justice of the peace of Linn County, October 5, 1886, for
"the crime of knowingly transacting a portion of the business of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company within the State of Iowa when such railway company had no valid permit to do business in the State of Iowa, as provided by chapter 76 of the Laws of the 21st General Assembly of the State pf Iowa, approved April 6, 1886, and taking effect September 1, 1886."
The statute in question is entitled
"An act requiring foreign corporations to file their articles of incorporation with the secretary of state and imposing certain conditions upon such corporations transacting business in this state."
The provisions of the act are as follows:
"SECTION 1. That hereafter any corporation for pecuniary profit, other than for carrying on mercantile or manufacturing business, organized under the laws of any other state or of any territory of the United States or of any foreign country desiring to transact its business or to continue the transaction of its business in this state shall be, and hereby is, required, on
and after September [first,] A.D. 1886, to file with the secretary of state a certified copy of its articles of incorporation, duty attested, accompanied by a resolution of its board of directors or stockholders authorizing the filing thereof, and also authorizing service of process to be made upon any of its officers or agents in this state engaged in transacting its business, and requesting the issuance to such corporation of a permit to transact business in this state, said application to contain a stipulation that said permit shall be subject to each of the provisions of this act. And thereupon the secretary of state shall issue to such corporation a permit, in such form as he may prescribe, for the general transaction of the business of such corporation, and upon the receipt of such permit, such corporation shall be permitted and authorized to conduct and carry on its business in this state, provided that nothing in this act contained shall be construed to prevent any foreign corporations from buying, selling, and otherwise dealing in notes, bonds, mortgages, and other securities or from enforcing the collection of the same in the federal courts in the same manner, and to the same extent as is now authorized by law."
"SEC 2. No foreign corporation which has not in good faith complied with the provisions of this act and taken out a permit shall hereafter be authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain or exercise any of the rights and privileges conferred upon corporations until they have so complied herewith and taken out such permit."
"SEC 3. Any foreign corporation sued or impleaded in any of the courts of this state upon any contract made or executed in this state or to be performed in this state or for any act or omission, public or private, arising, originating, or happening in the state who shall remove any such cause from such state court into any of the federal courts held or sitting in this state for the cause that such corporation is a nonresident of this state or a resident of another state than that of the adverse party, or of local prejudice against such corporation, shall thereupon forfeit and render null and void any permit issued or authority granted to such corporation to transact
business in this state, such forfeiture to be determined from the record of removal and to date from the date of filing of the application on which such removal is effected, and whenever any corporation shall thus forfeit its said permit, no new permit shall be issued to it for the space of three months unless the executive council shall for satisfactory reasons cause it to be issued sooner."
"SEC 4. Any foreign corporation that shall carry on its business and transact the same on and after September 1, 1886, in the State of Iowa, by its officers, agents, or otherwise, without having complied with this statute and taken out and having a valid permit shall forfeit and pay to the state, for each and every day in which such business is transacted and carried on, the sum of one hundred dollars ($100), to be recovered by suit in any court having jurisdiction. And any agent, officer, or employee who shall knowingly act or transact such business for such corporation when it has no valid permit as provided herein shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and for each offense shall be fined not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100), or imprisoned in the county jail not to exceed thirty days, and pay all costs of prosecution."
"SEC 5. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions hereof are hereby repealed, provided that nothing contained in this act shall relieve any company, corporation, association, or partnership from the performance of any duty or obligation now enjoined upon them or required of them, or either of them, by the laws now in force."
The information on which the warrant of arrest was issued was as follows:
"State of Iowa"
"Linn County ss:"
"Before C. W. BURTON, Justice of the Peace in and for Rapids Township."
"The State of Iowa"
"The defendant is accused of the crime of knowingly transacting a portion of the business of the Chicago and Northwestern
Railway Company within the State of Iowa when such railway company has no valid permit to do business in the State of Iowa as provided in chapter 76 of the Laws of the 21st General Assembly of said State of Iowa, and taking effect September 1, 1886."
"For that the said defendant, on the 5th day of October, 1886 at the City of Cedar Rapids, in the county and state aforesaid, well knowing the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company to be a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Illinois, and not a corporation organized under the laws of Iowa, and well knowing that the said Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company was such foreign corporation for pecuniary profit other than for carrying on mercantile or manufacturing business, to-wit, for the operating of a line of railroad, and well knowing that said railway company has failed, neglected, and refused to file its articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State of the State of Iowa, and has neglected and refused to request the issuance to such Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company of a permit to transact business in said State of Iowa, and well knowing that said railway company has no permit to do business in said State of Iowa, as required by said chapter 76 of the Laws of Iowa passed by the 21st General Assembly aforesaid, did knowingly act as a locomotive engineer for the transaction of the business of said Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company within the State of Iowa by running a locomotive engine, with a passenger train attached thereto, through the Township of Rapids, in the county and state aforesaid, contrary to law, and the statute in such case made and provided."
"J. H. PRESTON"
"Subscribed and sword to by J. H. Preston before me, this 5th day of October, A.D. 1886."
"E. C. PRESTON"
"Notary Public in and for Linn County, Iowa"
Barron, having been arrested, applied to the supreme court of the state for a writ of habeas corpus by a petition setting
forth various facts as showing that his imprisonment was illegal, and praying that his petition might be tried before the supreme court. The writ was issued, a return was made to it by the sheriff, and the case was heard upon an agreed statement of facts, the only material ones, in the view we take of the case, being that the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company was and is an Illinois corporation, operating railroads in Iowa and claiming to do so under the authority of statutes of that state, and that Barron,
"at the time he was arrested, was in the employment of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company and engaged as an engineer on a locomotive in running a passenger train, which was made up at Chicago, in the State of Illinois, and was destined to Council Bluffs, in Iowa, and that said train was carrying passengers and the United States mails received at different points in the State of Illinois and destined to points in the State of Iowa and beyond, and also from points in the State of Iowa to other points in the same state,"
and that he was arrested while he was engaged in controlling the engine on the train while it was running. It was admitted that the company had not complied with the Iowa statute by taking out the required permit. On the hearing before the state court, it was urged, among other things, that the statute of Iowa is void as an attempt to interfere with the jurisdiction of the federal courts as established by the Constitution of the United States and acts of Congress. The court upheld the validity of the statute.