Sovereign Camp of Woodmen of the World v. O'Neill,
266 U.S. 292 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sovereign Camp of Woodmen of the World v. O'Neill, 266 U.S. 292 (1924)

Sovereign Camp of Woodmen of the World v. O'Neill

No. 58

Submitted October 9, 1924

Decided November 17, 1924

266 U.S. 292


1. A decree of the district court dismissing a bill upon the specific ground of want of jurisdiction is appealable directly to this Court under Jud.Code, § 238. P. 266 U. S. 295.

2. It is a settled general rule that, in a suit based on diversity of citizenship brought against several defendants to enjoin the collection of claims against the plaintiff which are separate and distinct, although depending for their validity upon a common origin, the test of jurisdiction is the amount of each separate claim, and not their aggregate amount. P. 266 U. S. 295.

3. But there is an exception to this rule where the bill alleges not only that the defendants' claims are baseless, but that they originated and are being prosecuted in pursuance of a conspiracy to embarrass and attempt to ruin the plaintiff, the amounts of the particular claims not being disputed and the validity of all depending on the same issue. P. 266 U. S. 295.

4. In such case, the conspiracy partakes of the nature of a fraudulent conspiracy, and ties together the several claims as one claim for jurisdictional purposes, making their aggregate amount the value of the matter in controversy. P. 266 U. S. 297. McDaniel v. Traylor, 196 U. S. 415; 212 U. S. 212 U.S. 428.

5. The objection that relief by injunction sought against proceedings in a state court is prohibited by Jud.Code § 265 goes to the equity of the particular bill, and not to the federal court's jurisdiction of the suit. P. 266 U. S. 298. Smith v. Apple, 264 U. S. 274.

286 F. 734 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the district court which dismissed, for want of jurisdiction, a bill to enjoin the defendants from prosecuting separate actions for damages in a state court and from endeavoring to collect money from the plaintiff in any other manner by reason of the matters alleged.

Page 266 U. S. 293

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