Ex Parte Dubuque & Pacific Railroad,
68 U.S. 69 (1863)

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Ex Parte Dubuque & Pacific Railroad, 68 U.S. 1 Wall. 69 69 (1863)

Ex Parte Dubuque & Pacific Railroad

68 U.S. (1 Wall.) 69


When this Court, under the 24th section of the Judiciary Act, reverses a judgment on a case stated and brought here on error, remanding the case, with a mandate to the court below to enter judgment for the defendant, the court below has no authority but to execute the mandate, and it is final in that court. Hence such court cannot, after entering the judgment, hear affidavits or testimony and grant a rule for a new trial, and if it does grant such rule, a mandamus will issue from this Court ordering it to vacate the rule.

Litchfield sued the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad Company in the District Court of the United States for the District of Iowa for a tract of land in that district. The cause of action was set forth by petition according to the mode of proceedings prescribed by the Code of Iowa. It alleged that the plaintiff had a title in fee and the right of possession, which land was withheld from him by the defendant, who was in possession. The answer of the defendant denied that the plaintiff had any title to the premises sued for. On this issue the parties went to trial before the district court at October Term 1859. The court found, and entered judgment, that the plaintiff had right to the land claimed and the right of possession thereof. The facts had been agreed on in writing and filed on stipulation in the district court, on which agreed statement the finding and judgment proceeded. On the facts thus presented to the court below, the cause was brought to this Court by writ of error, was reexamined, and after an elaborate opinion, reported among the decisions of December Term, 1859, the judgment below was reversed, and it was ordered that the district court enter judgment for the defendant below. [Footnote 1]

A mandate went down and was entered of record, and the district court entered judgment that the plaintiff Litchfield had no title, and that he pay costs. This was done at October Term 1861, and immediately thereafter (affidavits of ability to show new facts having been filed) a new trial was moved for on behalf of Litchfield, and granted by the court. To

Page 68 U. S. 70

this step the railroad company excepted, and it now moved for a writ of mandamus commanding the court below to vacate the order granting the new trial. [Footnote 2]

Page 68 U. S. 72

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