Where a petition of intervention is entertained and disposed of
in virtue of jurisdiction already invoked, if the decree of the
circuit court of appeals is final in respect of the original suit,
it is equally so in respect of the intervention.
Whether jurisdiction depends alone on diverse citizenship or on
other grounds as well must be determined from complainant's own
statement in the bill of his cause of action, regardless of what
may be brought into the suit by answer or in subsequent
Jurisdiction of the federal court can only rest on grounds
distinctly and affirmatively set forth; grounds of jurisdiction,
other than those of diverse citizenship alleged, cannot be inferred
argumentatively from statements in the bill.
A case is not one arising under the laws of the United States
unless it really and substantially involves a dispute or
controversy respecting the validity, construction, or effect of
such a law upon the determination whereof the result depends. This
rule applies peculiarly to suits respecting rights to land acquired
under laws of the United States; otherwise all suits to establish
title to land which had been part of the public domain would be
cognizable in the federal courts.
The fact that the controversy might have arisen under the laws
of the United States does not give the federal court jurisdiction
if the bill does not allege the facts in that particular, and the
controversy might have arisen in another way independent of those
A corporation which was organized in the Indian Territory while
the statutes of Arkansas were, under authority of Congress, in
force in that Territory is not for that reason a federal
corporation, but is to be regarded for jurisdictional purposes as
one of Oklahoma. Kansas Pacific R. Co. v. Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe R. Co., 112 U. S. 414
The action of Congress in putting the laws of Arkansas in force
in the Indian Territory by the Act of February 18, 1901, 31 Stat.
Page 225 U. S. 562
c. 379, was to provide a body of law for that Territory until it
became a state, and the effect was the same as though those laws
had been adopted by a territorial legislature.
In this case, held
that as the jurisdiction of the
Circuit Court depended solely upon diverse citizenship, the
judgment of the circuit court of appeals was final, and,
notwithstanding the case involved conflicting claim to allotted
land in the Creek Nation, it was not one arising under the laws of
the United States
Appeals from 170 F. 529 dismissed.
The facts, which involve the determination of the question of
finality of judgments of the circuit court of appeals under the Act
of 1891 in a suit brought to determine conflicting rights to a
tract of land in the Creek Nation, are stated in the opinion.
Page 225 U. S. 565
MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.
These are appeals from decrees of the Circuit Court of Appeals
for the Eighth Circuit, affirming a decree of the Circuit Court for
the Eastern District of Oklahoma, dismissing on the merits a bill
in equity, as also a petition in intervention, brought to determine
conflicting claims to a tract of allotted land in the Creek Nation.
The allegations of the bill may be summarized as follows:
The complainant, Shulthis, is a citizen of Kansas. One of the
defendants, the Kiefer Oil & Gas Company, is a corporation
organized in the Indian Territory under the Arkansas statutes which
were put in force therein by an act of Congress, and since the
admission of Oklahoma as a state "has been and now is a citizen and
resident of said state" and of the eastern district thereof. The
other defendants are citizens of that state, resident in that
district. The intervener, George Franklin Berryhill, is a member by
blood of the Creek Nation, duly enrolled as such, and his wife is
not a member.
A son, named Andrew J. Berryhill, was born to the
Page 225 U. S. 566
intervener and his wife in May, 1901, and died in November
following, leaving no brother or sister surviving. In October,
1902, the deceased son's name was placed on the roll of the Creek
Nation by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and
thereafter an allotment, including the tract in controversy, was
made to his "heirs" from the lands of the Nation, and a deed or
patent was issued to such heirs with the approval of the Secretary
of the Interior. Subsequently, and in March, 1906, George Franklin
Berryhill and his wife, claiming to be the sole heirs of Andrew J.,
and the owners in fee of this tract, executed to the complainant a
lease thereof, granting to him the right to explore for and extract
oil and gas from the land for the term of fifteen years. The lease
was made conformably to regulations prescribed by the Secretary of
the Interior, was filed with the United States Indian agent at
Muskogee, in the Indian Territory, March 21, 1906, and was approved
by the Secretary of the Interior April 19, 1907. The complainant
complied with the regulations, duly paid the advance royalty
provided for in the lease, and claims the sole and exclusive right
to prospect for and extract the deposits of oil and gas existing in
and under the land, which are said to be extensive and to have a
value many times in excess of $2,000. Respecting the claims and
acts of the defendants, the bill alleges:
"Your orator further shows that the defendants and each of them
claim and assert some right, title, and interests in and to said
lands, and particularly to the said oil and natural gas deposits,
adverse to your orator, but the nature of said claims of said
defendants is to your orator unknown; but your orator states that
they have no such right, title, or interest in the said deposits of
oil and natural gas or any part thereof; that whatever claimed
rights the said defendants or any of them have therein were
acquired long subsequent to the right of
Page 225 U. S. 567
your orator hereinbefore set forth, and further, were acquired
with notice and knowledge of the lease to your orator so executed,
filed, and approved as aforesaid, and also of facts and
circumstances sufficient to put them and each of them upon inquiry
with reference thereto."
"Your orator further states that the said defendant Kiefer Oil
& Gas Company, combining and confederating with the other
defendants named herein, have disregarded and still disregard the
rights of your orator, and in violation thereof, and without right,
unlawfully and willfully, on or about the first day of April, 1907,
entered upon the said above-described lands, and have stationed
thereon divers agents, servants, and employees, whose names are to
your orator unknown, and with force and arms exclude and have
excluded your orator and his agents, servants, and employees
therefrom, and further, that said defendants have bored and drilled
oil and gas wells on said premises, and have and still are allowing
large quantities of oil and natural gas to escape therefrom and be
wasted. That, by reason thereof, your orator has been damaged in
the sum of $25,000. And further, said defendants threaten to, and
will, unless restrained by this Court, drill other and further
wells on said land for oil and natural gas, and have and are
threatening to, and will, unless restrained, by means of such
wells, extract said oil and gas deposits from said land, and
convert the same to their own use and benefit against the manifest
right of your orator."
The prayer of the bill is that the defendants be decreed to have
no interest or estate in the deposits of oil and gas, save as any
defendant may have an interest in the land and be thereby entitled
to the royalties secured by the lease; that the cloud cast upon the
complainant's title and rights under the lease by the claims of the
defendants be removed and his title and rights thereunder be
quieted, and that a receiver be appointed to take possession
Page 225 U. S. 568
proceed with the extraction and disposal of the oil and gas for
the benefit of whomsoever may prove to be entitled to it. After the
filing of the bill, a receiver was appointed, who took possession
and proceeded as suggested. Thereafter George Franklin Berryhill,
who had not been made a party to the bill, was permitted to file in
the suit a petition in intervention, wherein he asserted full title
in himself to the land, subject only to the lease to the
complainant, specifically set forth the claims of the defendants,
assailed those claims as invalid and clouds upon his title, and
sought a decree establishing the latter as against the former.
Answers and replications were filed, proofs were taken, and on the
final hearing a decree was entered for the defendants. 162 F. 331.
The complainant and the intervener separately appealed to the
circuit court of appeals, where the decree was affirmed (95 C.C.A.
615, 170 F. 529), and then the case was brought here.
Our jurisdiction is challenged by a motion to dismiss the
appeal. Section 6 of the Act of March 3, 1891, 26 Stat. 828, c.
517, declares that
"the judgments or decrees of the circuit court of appeals shall
be final in all cases in which the jurisdiction is dependent
entirely upon the opposite parties to the suit or controversy being
. . . citizens of different states,"
and this refers to the jurisdiction of the federal court of
first instance. Thus, it becomes necessary to consider whether the
jurisdiction of the circuit court depended entirely upon diversity
of citizenship. If it did, the appeals must be dismissed.
The question is not affected by the petition in intervention,
for it was entertained and disposed of in virtue of the
jurisdiction already invoked, and if the decree is final in respect
of the original suit, it is equally so in respect of the
intervention. Rouse v. Letcher, 156 U. S.
; Gregory v. Van Ee, 160 U.
; Pope v. Louisville &c. Co.,
173 U. S. 573
St. Louis, K. C. & C. R. Co. v. Wabash R. Co.,
217 U. S. 247
217 U. S.
Page 225 U. S. 569
In opposing the motion, the appellants contend that the case
arose under certain laws of the United States presently to be
mentioned, and therefore was not one in which the jurisdiction
depended entirely on diversity of citizenship. The consideration of
the contention will be simplified if, before taking up the specific
grounds on which it is advanced, the rules by which it must be
tested are stated. They are:
1. Whether the jurisdiction depended on diverse citizenship
alone or on other grounds as well must be determined from the
complainant's statement of his own cause of action, as set forth in
the bill, regardless of questions that may have been brought into
the suit by the answers or in the course of the subsequent
proceedings. Colorado Central Mining Co. v. Turck,
150 U. S. 138
Tennessee v. Union & Planters' Bank, 152 U.
; Spencer v. Duplan Silk Co.,
191 U. S. 526
Devine v. Los Angeles, 202 U. S. 313
202 U. S.
2. It is not enough that grounds of jurisdiction other than
diverse citizenship may be inferred argumentatively from the
statements in the bill, for jurisdiction cannot rest on any ground
that is not affirmatively and distinctly set forth. Hanford v.
Davies, 163 U. S. 273
163 U. S. 279
Mountain View Mining Co. v. McFadden, 180 U.
; Bankers' Casualty Co. v. Minneapolis &c.
Co., 192 U. S. 371
192 U. S.
3. A suit to enforce a right which takes its origin in the laws
of the United States is not necessarily, or for that reason alone,
one arising under those laws, for a suit does not so arise unless
it really and substantially involves a dispute or controversy
respecting the validity, construction, or effect of such a law,
upon the determination of which the result depends. This is
especially so of a suit involving rights to land acquired under a
law of the United States. If it were not, every suit to establish
title to land in the central and western states would so arise,
Page 225 U. S. 570
as all titles in those states are traceable back to those laws.
Little York Gold-Washing & Water Co. v. Keyes,
96 U. S. 199
Colorado Central Mining Co. v. Turck, 150 U.
; Blackburn v. Portland Gold Mining Co.,
175 U. S. 571
Florida Central & P. Railroad Co. v. Bell,
176 U. S. 321
Shoshone Mining Co. v. Rutter, 177 U.
; De Lamar's Nevada Co. v. Nesbitt,
177 U. S. 523
To sustain the contention that the suit was one arising under
the laws of the United States, counsel for the appellants point out
the statutes (Acts March 1, 1901, 31 Stat. 861, c. 676; June 30,
1902, 32 Stat. 500, c. 1323; April 26, 1906, 34 Stat. 137, c. 1876,
§ 22) relating to the allotment in severalty of the lands of the
Creek Nation, the leasing and alienation thereof after allotment,
the making of allotments to the heirs of deceased children, and the
rights of the heirs, collectively and severally, under such
allotments; but the bill makes no mention of those statutes or of
any controversy respecting their validity, construction, or effect.
Neither does it by necessary implication point to such a
controversy. True, it contains enough to indicate that those
statutes constitute the source of the complainant's title or right,
and also shows that the defendants are in some way claiming the
land, and particularly the oil and gas, adversely to him; but
beyond this, the nature of the controversy is left unstated and
uncertain. Of course, it could have arisen in different ways,
wholly independent of the source from which his title or right was
derived. So, looking only to the bill, as we have seen that we
must, it cannot be held that the case as therein stated was one
arising under the statutes mentioned. As was said in Blackburn
v. Portland Gold Mining Co., 175 U. S. 571
controversy in respect of lands has never been regarded as
presenting a federal question merely because one of the parties to
it has derived his title under an act of Congress.
It next is insisted that the bill shows that the Kiefer Oil
Page 225 U. S. 571
& Gas Company, one of the defendants, is a federal
corporation, and therefore that, under the decisions of this Court
in Osborn v. Bank of United
9 Wheat. 738; Pacific Railroad Removal
Cases, 115 U. S. 1
In re Dunn, 212 U. S. 374
case was one arising under the laws of the United States. The bill
states that this company was incorporated in the Indian Territory
under the Arkansas statutes, which were put in force therein by an
act of Congress, and then adds that, since the admission of
Oklahoma as a state, the company "has been and now is a citizen and
resident of said state." Evidently, the pleader did not anticipate
the present insistence, but proceeded on the theory that the
company became on Oklahoma corporation when that state was admitted
into the Union.
The corporation laws of Arkansas were put in force in the Indian
Territory by the Act of February 18, 1901, 31 Stat. 794, c. 379,
which was but one of a series of acts of that character. Congress
was then contemplating the early inclusion of that territory in a
new state, and the purpose of those acts was to provide, for the
time being, a body of laws adapted to the needs of the locality and
its people in respect of matters of local or domestic concern.
There being no local legislature, Congress alone could act.
Plainly, its action was intended to be merely provisional, and not
to encroach upon the powers which rightfully would belong to the
prospective state. The situation therefore is practically the same
as it would be had the corporation laws of Arkansas been adopted
and put in force by a local or territorial legislature. United
States v. Pridgeon, 153 U. S. 48
153 U. S.
In Kansas Pacific Railroad Co. v. Atchison Topeka &
Santa Fe Railroad Co., 112 U. S. 414
this Court had occasion to consider the effect of the admission of
a territory as a state on corporations existing at the time under
the territorial laws, and it was there said:
"The admission of Kansas as a state into the Union,
Page 225 U. S. 572
and the consequent change of its form of government, in no
respect affected the essential character of the corporations or
their powers or rights. They must, after that change, be considered
as corporations of the state, as much so as if they had derived
their existence from its legislation. As its corporations, they are
to be treated, so far as may be necessary to enforce contracts or
rights of property by or against them, as citizens within the
clause of the Constitution declaring the extent of the judicial
power of the United States."
Adhering to the principle of that ruling, we hold that the
corporate defendant here is an Oklahoma, and not a federal,
corporation, and therefore must be regarded as a citizen of that
state for jurisdictional purposes.
It follows from what has been said that the case is one in which
the jurisdiction of the circuit court depended entirely on diverse
citizenship, and so the decrees of the circuit court of appeals are