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BOSTON AND MONTANA CONSOLIDATED COPPER AND SILVER MINING COMPANY v. MONTANA ORE PURCHASING COMPANY.

decided: February 23, 1903.

BOSTON AND MONTANA CONSOLIDATED COPPER AND SILVER MINING COMPANY
v.
MONTANA ORE PURCHASING COMPANY.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA.

Author: PECKHAM

[ 188 U.S. Page 638]

 MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM, after making the foregoing statement of facts, delivered the opinion of the court.

It is quite plain that the various averments contained in the complainant's bill for the purpose of showing jurisdiction in the Circuit Court are wholly unnecessary in order to make out complainant's cause of action for the conversion of ore by the defendants on premises belonging to complainant. To make out a prima facie case on the part of complainant, so far as its right to the ore in question is concerned, all that was necessary was to show the patent and the complainant's possession under it, and from such patent and possession the presumption would be that the complainant was the owner of all ores found within the boundaries contained in the patent extended downward into the earth, and the burden would then rest upon the defendants to show that, notwithstanding such presumption, they had the right to enter upon and take the ore from the ground within the limit described in the patent under which the complainant derives title. It could then prove facts to sustain its averments in regard to ascertaining the quantity and value of the ores which the defendants were extracting or might extract from the complainant's premises, and that it would be altogether uncertain and indefinite as to what amount of ores or the value thereof the defendants might extract in the future, and that the complainant would be compelled to rely upon the good faith and showing of the defendants as to the amount and value of the ores which they had theretofore extracted and might thereafter extract from the premises. Indeed, the complainant asserted in the bill, an extract from which is contained in the foregoing statement, that prima facie it is the owner of all ores found within its boundaries extended downwards into the earth, until the contrary has been shown. It would be wholly unnecessary and improper in order to prove complainant's cause of

[ 188 U.S. Page 639]

     action to go into any matters of defence which the defendants might possibly set up, and then attempt to reply to such defence, and thus, if possible, to show that a Federal question might or probably would arise in the course of the trial of the case. To allege such defence and then make an answer to it before the defendant has the opportunity to itself plead or prove its own defence is inconsistent with any known rule of pleading so far as we are aware, and is improper.

The rule is a reasonable and just one that the complainant in the first instance shall be confined to a statement of its cause of action, leaving to the defendant to set up in his answer what his defence is and, if anything more than a denial of complainant's cause of action, imposing upon the defendant the burden of proving such defence.

Conforming itself to that rule the complainant would not, in the assertion or proof of its cause of action, bring up a single Federal question. The presentation of its cause of action would not show that it was one arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States.

The only way in which it might be claimed that a Federal question was presented would be in the complainant's statement of what the defence of defendants would be and complainant's answer to such defence.Under these circumstances the case is brought within the rule laid down in Tennessee v. Union & Planters' Bank, 152 U.S. 454. That case has been cited and approved many times since, among the latest being Arkansas v. Kansas &c. Railroad, 183 U.S. 185, where it was stated by Mr. Chief Justice Fuller, speaking for the court, at page 188, as follows:

"Hence it has been settled that a case cannot be removed from a state court into the Circuit Court of the United States on the sole ground that it is one arising under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States, unless that appears by plaintiff's statement of his own claim; and if it does not so appear, the want of it cannot be supplied by any statement of the petition for removal or in the subsequent pleadings. And moreover that jurisdiction is not conferred by allegations that defendant intends to assert a defence based on the Constitution

[ 188 U.S. Page 640]

     or a law or treaty of the United States, or under statutes of the United States, or of a State, in conflict with the Constitution." See also Blackburn v. Portland &c. Co., 175 U.S. 571; Shoshone &c. Co. v. Rutter, 177 U.S. 505.

The test of the right of removal is that the case must be one over which the Circuit Court might have exercised original jurisdiction under section 1 of the act of March 3, 1887, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888, 24 Stat. 552; 25 Stat. 433. The cases hold that to give the Circuit Court original jurisdiction the Federal question must appear necessarily in the statement of the plaintiff's cause of action, and not as mere allegations of the defence which the defendants intend to set up or which they rely upon. Third Street Railway Company v. Lewis, 173 U.S. 457.

It is urged, however, on the part of the complainant that its averments in regard to the jurisdiction of the court are necessary to be set forth as a part of its cause of action, and that they show that the appellees are questioning complainant's title and interfering with its enjoyment of its property right by asserting ownership to a portion of such claim of complainant based upon two government patents issued for the Rarus and Johnstown claims respectively, and although such assertion of ownership of the appellees is, as complainant avers, without legal foundation, yet, for reasons stated in the bill, the consideration of which necessitates an examination of Federal questions, the case is in effect one to quiet complainant's title or to prevent an interference with its rights and property, and complainant avers that the allegations of jurisdiction ...


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