Conolly v. Taylor
Annotate this Case
27 U.S. 556 (1829)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Conolly v. Taylor, 27 U.S. 2 Pet. 556 556 (1829)
Conolly v. Taylor
27 U.S. (2 Pet.) 556
When there is no change of the parties to a suit during its progress, a jurisdiction depending on the condition of the parties is governed by that condition as it was at the commencement of the suit.
If an alien should sue a citizen and should omit to state the character of the parties in the bill, though the court could not exercise jurisdiction while the defect in the bill remained, yet it might, as is every day's practice, be corrected at any time before the hearing, and the court would not hesitate to decree in the cause.
The suit was originally instituted by aliens and a citizen of the United States as complainants against the defendants, citizens of the United States. In the progress of the cause and before the final hearing, the name of the citizen of the United States who was one of the plaintiffs was struck out and he was made a defendant by the court. It was held the substantial parties, plaintiffs, those for whose benefit the decree is sought are aliens, and the court has original jurisdiction between them and all the defendants. But they prevented the exercise of this jurisdiction by uniting with themselves a person between whom and one of the defendants the court could not take jurisdiction strike out his name as a complainant, and the impediment is removed to the exercise of that original jurisdiction which the court possessed between the alien parties and all the citizen defendants. There is no objection founded on convenience or law to this course.
In the Circuit Court of Kentucky, on 20 February, 1818, Thomas Conolly, James Conolly, Margaret Conolly, David David, and Francis Badley, aliens and subjects of the King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and Samuel Mifflin, a citizen of the State of Pennsylvania, filed their bill against certain defendants, claiming to have an equitable title to a large tract of lands in right of Colonel John Conolly deceased, situated at the Falls of Ohio in the State of Kentucky. The defendants in the bill were Richard Taylor, Fortunatus Cosby and Henry Clay, citizens of Kentucky, and William Lytle, described in the subpoena as a
citizen of Kentucky, but who was in fact a citizen of the State of Ohio. The subpoena was served on all the defendants, Mr. Lytle having been found by the process in Kentucky.
The answer of Mr. Lytle protests against the jurisdiction of the circuit court, he being a citizen of the State of Ohio.
In the further progress of the suit before the circuit court at May term, 1823, on motion on the part of the complainants, the name of Samuel Mifflin was struck out of the bill as a plaintiff, and he was made a defendant, after which he answered an amended bill filed against him.
When, therefore, the case came on to a hearing in the circuit court at May term, 1826, the parties complainants were all aliens and subjects of the King of Great Britain and Ireland; two of the defendants were citizens of the State of Kentucky, one of them was a citizen of the State of Ohio, and Samuel Mifflin was a citizen of the State of Pennsylvania.
The cause was argued upon an objection to the jurisdiction of the case in the Circuit Court of Kentucky and upon its merits. This Court being divided upon the merits, and no opinion having been expressed upon any other question in the cause but that of jurisdiction, the reporter does not consider himself permitted to state any of the facts of the case, or the arguments of counsel, other than those connected with that point.