If, at the hearing of a bill in equity to redeem land worth more
than $5,000 from encumbrances, the only controversy is as to less
than that amount of encumbrances, no appeal lies to this court.
Page 152 U. S. 251
The case is stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE GRAY delivered the opinion of the Court.
This was a bill in equity by Russ, as the owner of land in
Chicago, worth more than $40,000, against Ogden and others to set
aside and cancel, as creating a cloud upon his title, a tax deed to
Ogden, and a certificate of tax sale procured by the other
defendants as his agents.
The bill alleged that the taxes upon which the tax deed and
certificate were issued were illegally levied and apportioned, and
that the plaintiff had tendered to the defendants the full amount
of the taxes paid by them.
The defendants answered, denying the plaintiff's title, the
illegality of the taxes, and the tender of payment. But Ogden, in
his answer, offered to waive his claim of title to the land, and to
reconvey it to the plaintiff, if the plaintiff would pay him the
sums paid by him, with penalties accrued thereon, and 10 percent
interest, and the other defendants, in their answers, disclaimed
all title in themselves.
At the hearing the defendants contended that the sums which the
plaintiff was in equity bound to pay them amounted to $8,705.-34;
but the circuit court held that those sums amounted to $4,291.84
only, and that the plaintiff, upon paying this amount, (which he
forthwith paid into court,) was entitled to the relief prayed for,
and entered a final decree in his favor. The defendants appealed to
Upon the admissions of the answers, and upon the claims made by
the defendants in the circuit court, and renewed in this Court, it
clearly appears that the plaintiff's title to the land was not
really contested, but that the only matter in controversy was the
amount of money which the plaintiff was equitably bound to pay to
the defendants, and that the difference between the sum which the
circuit court held him to pay and the highest sum claimed by the
defendants was less
Page 152 U. S. 252
than $5,000. The amount in controversy therefore is insufficient
to support the appellate jurisdiction of this Court. Act of
February 1875, c. 77, § 3, 18 Stat. 316; Peyton v.
9 Wheat. 527; Bank of
Alexandria v. Hoof,
7 Pet. 168; Ross v.
3 How. 771; Tintsman v. National
Bank, 100 U. S. 6