1. The rolling stock of a railroad, and traffic balances owing
it, are not exempt from attachment or garnishment merely because
the former are used, and the latter derived, in interstate
commerce. P. 265 U. S.
2. A state statute permitting a citizen and resident of another
state to prosecute a cause of action which arose elsewhere against
a railroad corporation of another state which is engaged in
interstate commerce and neither owns nor operates a railroad, nor
has consented to be sued, in the state where the action is brought
is so far invalid. Davis v. Farmers Cooperative Co.,
262 U. S. 312
3. Judgments obtained by garnishment and constructive service
against a foreign railroad corporation and a local railroad
corporation, as garnishee, on such a cause of action held
void as an unreasonable interference with interstate commerce, and
their enforcement subject to be enjoined in a suit by the foreign
corporation in a federal court against the judgment creditor and
his attorney. Id.
285 F. 369 reversed.
Page 265 U. S. 102
Certiorari to a decree of the circuit court of appeals affirming
a decree of the district court, which dismissed a bill to enjoin
the enforcement of judgments.
MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Wells, a citizen and resident of Colorado, employed by the
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, was injured while
performing his duties in New Mexico. He sued the company in a state
court of Texas, but could not make personal service upon it within
that state. *
from the same court a writ of garnishment to a Texas railroad
company whose line connected with the Santa Fe, which had in its
possession Santa Fe rolling stock, and which owed to it large sums
on traffic balances. Thereafter, constructive service was made upon
the Santa Fe by serving one of its officers in Kansas and by
publication in a Texas newspaper. The Santa Fe did not appear in
the action, and judgment in the sum of $4,000 and costs was entered
against it by default. Objection by the garnishee to the
jurisdiction having been overruled, a judgment was entered that
Wells recover from it this sum with interest and costs, in
satisfaction of his judgment against the Santa Fe. To enjoin the
enforcement of these judgments, suit was brought by the Santa Fe in
the federal court for western Texas against Wells, who had
meanwhile become a resident of that state, and his counsel. The
case was heard on agreed facts, and a decree dismissing the bill
was affirmed by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the
Page 265 U. S. 103
285 F. 369. It is here on writ of certiorari under § 240 of the
Judicial Code. 261 U.S. 612.
The rolling stock held by the garnishee was then being used in
interstate commerce, and the amount due on traffic balances arose
out of transactions in such commerce. These facts did not render
the property immune from seizure by attachment or garnishment.
Davis v. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry.
Co., 217 U. S. 157
the writ of garnishment is void because of the purpose for which it
was invoked. The Santa Fe is a Kansas corporation. It had not been
admitted to Texas as a foreign corporation. It had not consented to
be sued there. It did not own or operate any line of railroad
within the state, and had no agent there. The Texas statutes
concerning garnishment were construed and applied in the Wells
suit, so as to permit a citizen and resident of another state to
prosecute in Texas a cause of action which arose elsewhere against
a railroad corporation of another state, which is engaged in
interstate commerce, which neither owns nor operates a railroad in
Texas, and which has not consented to be sued there. For the
reasons stated in Davis v. Farmers' Cooperative Co.,
262 U. S. 312
262 U. S. 43
Sup.Ct. 556, 67 L. Ed. 996 (decided since the entry of the judgment
here under review), such a suit necessarily and unreasonably
burdens interstate commerce, and the statute as construed and
applied is invalid.
Relief against the void judgments entered was properly sought by
the Santa Fe in the federal court. Simon v. Southern Ry.
Co., 236 U. S. 115
Wells Fargo & Co. v. Taylor, 254 U.
. See Essanay Film Co. v. Kane,
258 U. S. 358
258 U. S. 360
The garnishment was void because seizure of the rolling stock and
credits for the purpose of compelling the Santa Fe to submit to the
jurisdiction of the court in the Wells suit interfered unreasonably
with interstate commerce. The Santa Fe was not obliged to assert
its rights in the courts of Texas. Compare Firestone
Page 265 U. S. 104
Tire & Rubber Co. v. Marlboro Cotton Mills,
811, 814. Nor could its right not to be sued there be affected by
anything which the garnishee did or omitted to do. Moreover, the
garnishee's objection to the jurisdiction (on grounds later upheld
by this Court in the Farmers' Cooperative Co.
been overruled by the state court. We have no occasion, therefore,
to consider further the scope or the provisions of the statutes
* See Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. Weeks,