In re Lennon
Annotate this Case
150 U.S. 393 (1893)
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U.S. Supreme Court
In re Lennon, 150 U.S. 393 (1893)
In re Lennon
Argued November 17, 1893
Decided November 27, 1893
150 U.S. 393
The Toledo and Ann Arbor Railway Company, which connected with the Michigan Southern Railway in the carrying on of interstate commerce, filed a bill in the circuit court to restrain the Michigan Southern from refusing to receive its cars used in such commerce and discriminating against it on the ground that it employed engineers who were not members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. An injunction was issued, and a few days later the Lake Shore applied for an order of attachment against some of its employees who had refused to haul cars and perform service for them, thus hindering them from complying with the order of the court in respect to the Toledo and Ann Arbor Company. A rule to show cause was issued and such proceedings had thereunder that one of the employer was adjudged guilty of contempt, was fined, and was ordered to be committed until payment of the fine. This employee applied to the circuit court for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition, after setting the facts forth, claimed that the circuit court had no jurisdiction of the cause in which the original order of injunction had been issued for reasons stated, and further that it had no jurisdiction of the petitioner's person because he was no party to that suit and had not been served with process. The application was denied and the petition dismissed, from which judgment the petitioner appealed to this Court.
(1) That while the general right of appeal from the judgments of circuit courts on habeas corpus directly to this Court is taken away by the Act of March 8, 1891, 26 Stat. 826, c. 517, nevertheless, that right still exists in the cases designated in § 5 of that act.
(2) That the jurisdiction of the circuit court over the petition for habeas corpus was not in issue, and was not decided adversely to the petitioner, and this appeal therefore did not come within the. first of the classes named in § 5 of the act of 1891.
(3) That the construction or application of the Constitution was not involved in the sense of the statute, and that the petition did not proceed on that theory, but on the ground of want of jurisdiction in the prior case over the subject matter, and in this case over the person of the petitioner.
(4) That the appeal must be dismissed.
On March 11, 1893, the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railway Company filed its bill of complaint in the
Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Ohio against the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Company and other railroad companies which connected with complainant in the carrying on of interstate commerce, charging that it was the duty of defendants, under the Act of Congress of February 4, 1887, and the amendments thereto, regulating commerce between the states, to afford equal and reasonable facilities for the interchange of traffic with complainant, and to forward cars and freight in the ordinary transaction of its business without discrimination. The bill further averred that the defendant companies had threatened to refuse to receive from complainant cars offered by it, and to deliver to complainant cars billed over its road for transportation to their destination, and that, because complainant had employed as locomotive engineers men who were not members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, those in the employment of defendants had refused to handle cars to be interchanged with complainant's railroad; that the defendant companies offered to other companies free interchange of traffic, but refused to transact business with complainant, thereby discriminating illegally against it, and complainant charged that irreparable damage would result if defendants carried out their threats, and prayed for an injunction.
On March 11, an injunction was granted restraining, among others, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Company, its officers, servants, and employees from refusing to offer and extend to complainant equal facilities for the interchange of traffic on interstate business, and to receive from that company cars billed from points in one state to points in another state, offered by complainant to defendant companies, and to deliver in like manner to complainant cars billed over complainant's line from points in one state to points in other states. March 18, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Company filed its application for an order of attachment against certain engineers and firemen in its service, and among them James Lennon, as being in contempt of the restraining order by refusing to haul cars and perform
service, and thereby preventing compliance with that order by the company. A rule to show cause was issued, and such proceedings were thereafter had that Lennon was adjudged guilty of contempt and ordered to pay a fine of fifty dollars and costs and stand committed until they should be paid, and upon his refusal was committed to the custody of the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, whereupon an application for a writ of habeas corpus to release him from such custody was made to the Circuit Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The petition represented that Lennon was unlawfully held in custody and restrained of his liberty in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States, under the order of the circuit court, which order was made in the cause heretofore referred to, and copies of the bill, the restraining order, the application of the railway company for the attachment, the order to show cause, the order in the matter of contempt, and the evidence on the application for the attachment in that cause were annexed as exhibits. The petition then proceeded thus:
"Your petitioner further states and alleges, as he is advised, that the said circuit court had no jurisdiction or lawful authority to cause the arrest of your petitioner nor to proceed against him in manner as aforesaid, and that the said pretended order and judgment whereby your petitioner was committed to the custody of the said marshal and whereby he is held in custody of the said marshal and imprisoned and restrained of his liberty were and are wholly without authority of law and void."
"Said order was issued in a suit whereof the said circuit court had no jurisdiction because the complainant and one of the defendants were at the time of the filing of the said bill of complaint, and ever since have been, citizens of the same state, to-wit, the State of Michigan, and which did not arise under the Constitution or laws of the United States."
"Said circuit court had no jurisdiction of the person of your petitioner, because he was not a party to the said suit, nor was he served with any process of subpoena notifying him
of the same, nor did he have notice of the application made by the complainant for the mandatory injunction, nor was he served by the officers of the court with the said order of injunction, nor did he have any notice whatever of the issuing of the said order of injunction by the circuit court, nor of the contents of said order, before the doing of the acts alleged to have been in contempt of said order."
"Said circuit court was also without jurisdiction to make the order aforesaid, because it was beyond the jurisdiction of a court of equity to compel the performance of a personal contract for service and to interfere by mandatory injunction with the contract by which the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Company hired your petitioner as its servant."
And the petition concluded with the usual prayer for the writ.
Upon hearing, the application was denied and the petition dismissed, from which order an appeal was prayed, allowed, and perfected to this Court, and the circuit court then made the following certificate:
"The questions certified to the supreme court for its decision are the questions of jurisdiction presented by the petition herein filed, to-wit:"
"1. Is the suit in which the order was made one arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States?"
"2. Did the court have jurisdiction of the person of the petitioner by reason of his having had sufficient notice of the proceedings and orders set out in the petition?"
"3. Was it beyond the jurisdiction of a court of equity to issue the orders made in said case?"
The opinions of the circuit court upon the motion for an injunction and upon the application for the attachment will be found reported in 54 F. 730, 746.