In re Lennon
Annotate this Case
166 U.S. 548 (1897)
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U.S. Supreme Court
In re Lennon, 166 U.S. 548 (1897)
In re Lennon
Submitted March 30, 1897
Decided April 19, 1897
166 U.S. 548
Parties to collateral proceedings are bound by the jurisdictional averments in the record, and will not be permitted to dispute them except so far as they may have contained a false recital with respect to such parties.
Where the requisite citizenship appears on the face of a bill, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be attacked by evidence dehors the record in a collateral proceeding by one who was not a party to the bill.
A bill brought solely to enforce compliance with the Interstate Commerce Act, and to compel railroad companies to comply with such act by offering proper and reasonable facilities for interchange of traffic with the company complainant, and enjoining them from refusing to receive from complainant, for transportation over their lines, any cars which might be tendered them, exhibits. a case arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States of which a circuit court has jurisdiction.
To render a person amenable to an injunction, it is neither necessary that he should have been a party to the suit in which the injunction was issued nor to have been actually served with a copy of it, so long as he appears to have had actual notice.
The petitioner alleged that he was a citizen of the State of Ohio, and was unlawfully restrained of his liberty by the marshal, under an order of the circuit court of the United States, made in a case pending in that court, wherein the Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railway Company, a corporation of the State of Michigan, was complainant and several railway companies, citizens of Ohio, as well as the Michigan Central Railroad Company, a citizen of Michigan, were defendants.
The bill in that case, which was annexed to the petition as an exhibit, averred the complainant to be the owner of a line of railroad from Toledo, Ohio, northwesterly through the State of Michigan; that a large part of its business consisted in the transportation of freight cars from points in the States of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to points in Ohio and other states east thereof, and that it was engaged as a common carrier in a large amount of interstate commerce, which was regulated and controlled by the interstate act of Congress. The bill further averred that the defendants' lines of railroad connected with those of complainant at or near Toledo, and that a large and important part of its business consisted in the interchange of freight cars between the defendant and complainant companies, and was subject to the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act; that it was the duty of the defendant companies to afford reasonable and equal facilities for the interchange of traffic and to receive, forward, and deliver freight cars in the ordinary transaction of business without any discrimination; that the defendant companies and their employees had given out and threatened that they would refuse to receive from complainant cars billed over its road for transportation by complainant to their destination for the reason that the complainant had employed
as locomotive engineers in its service men who were not members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, "an irresponsible voluntary association," and that the locomotive engineers in the employ of the defendant companies had refused to handle cars to be interchanged with the complainant's road notwithstanding that they continued to afford the other railroad companies full and free facilities for the interchange of traffic, while refusing to transact such business with the complainant, thereby illegally discriminating against it.
Upon the filling or this bill and upon the application of the complainant, the circuit court issued an injunction against the defendants, their officers, agents, servants, and employees, enjoining them from refusing to afford and extend to the Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railway Company the same facilities for an interchange of interstate business between the companies as were enjoyed by other railway companies, and from refusing to receive from the complainant company cars billed from points in one state to points in another state which might be offered to the defendant companies by the complainant.
The injunction was served upon the the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company, one of the defendants, one of whose employees was the appellant, James Lennon, a locomotive engineer, who had received notice of the injunction, and, still continuing in the service of the company, had refused to obey it.
Thereupon the Lake Shore Company applied to the court for an attachment against Lennon, and certain others of its engineers and firemen, setting forth that, with full knowledge of the injunction theretofore made, they had refused to obey the order of the court, and deserted their locomotives and engines in the yard of the company, for the reason that Ann Arbor cars of freight were in the trains of such company, and that they had refused to haul such cars and perform their service for that reason.
The persons named, including the petitioner, Lennon, being served with an order to show cause, appeared in pursuance of
such order in person and by counsel, and witnesses were examined as to their knowledge of, and as to their violation of, the order. The court found that Lennon was guilty of contempt in disobeying the order of injunction, and imposed a fine of fifty dollars and costs. Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railway Co. v. Pennsylvania Co., 54 F. 746.
Thereupon Lennon filed this petition, setting forth the above facts, and alleging that the circuit court had no jurisdiction or lawful authority to arrest or proceed against him in manner as aforesaid, and that its order and judgment -- whereby he was committed to the custody of the marshal -- were without authority of law and void: (1) that such order was issued in a suit whereof the circuit court had no jurisdiction, because the complainant and one of the defendants, namely, the Michigan Central Railroad Company, were at the time of the filing of the bill, and ever since have been, citizens of the same state, and that said suit did not arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States; (2) that the circuit court had no jurisdiction of the person of the petitioner, because he was not a party to the suit, nor served with any subpoena notifying him of the same; had no notice of the application for the injunction, nor was served with a copy thereof, nor had any notice whatever of the issuing of such injunction, nor of its contents; (3) that the circuit court was also without jurisdiction to make the order, 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 between himself and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company.
Upon a hearing in the circuit court, it was ordered that the petition be dismissed. Lennon, after appealing to this Court, which held it had no jurisdiction and dismissed the appeal, 150 U. S. 393, thereupon appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which affirmed the decree of the circuit court, Lennon v. Lake Shore &c. Railway Co., 64 F. 320, whereupon petitioner applied for and obtained a writ of certiorari from this Court.