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PULLMAN COMPANY v. CROOM

December 22, 1913

THE PULLMAN COMPANY
v.
CROOM, COMPTROLLER OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA

SAME
v.
SAME



APPEALS FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Lurton, Hughes, Van Devanter, Lamar, Pitney

Author: Day

[ 231 U.S. Page 574]

 After making the foregoing statement, MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

Section 266 of the Judicial Code, practically a reenactment of ยง 17 of the act of June 18, 1910 (c. 309, 36 Stat. 539, 557), regulates the granting of injunctions by Federal courts in cases depending upon the alleged repugnancy of state statutes to the Federal Constitution. The requirement is that applications for temporary injunction in such cases shall be heard before three judges, one of whom shall be a justice of this court or a circuit judge, and an appeal from an order granting or denying an interlocutory injunction in such cases may be prosecuted directly to this court. These appeals are brought under that

[ 231 U.S. Page 575]

     section. They are from the orders of the court below denying the application for an interlocutory injunction. In that aspect alone the cases are now before the court. In the second suit, it is true, the Treasurer was brought in, with a view to the recovery from him of the moneys wrongfully collected over the protest of the Pullman Company; but no injunction was asked against him, and his presence in the case does not concern the inquiry as to the right to the temporary injunction against the Comptroller, restraining him from levying and collecting the taxes.

The order of substitution was made upon the stipulation and was granted without discussion. In the brief of the Attorney General the matter is submitted to the decision of the court, with an expression of doubt as to whether such substitution of parties can be made in cases of this character, and the question is thus called to the court's attention. In this situation the cases are controlled by the repeated adjudications of this court governing the right of substitution where relief is sought against persons who are situated as was the Comptroller in this case.

The leading case upon substitution of parties in such cases is United States v. Boutwell, 17 Wall. 604, which involved the right to substitute in a suit for mandamus the successor of the Secretary of the Treasury for the one who held that office at the time the suit was commenced. Mr. Justice Strong, who delivered the opinion of the court, pointed out that the purpose of a writ of mandamus is to enforce the personal obligation of the individual, no matter how the duty arose, and that even if the party be an officer and the duty official, mandamus does not reach the office, but is directed solely to the person, who alone can be punished for failure to conform to the mandate, and the suit is therefore a personal action based upon the alleged fact that the defendant has failed to perform a personal duty. And the court concluded that, since the

[ 231 U.S. Page 576]

     personal duty of the defendant lasted only so long as he occupied the office, and as his successor was not his personal representative and could not be held responsible for his delinquencies, for the successor might have acted differently than the defendant, such action, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, must abate upon the death or retirement from office of the original defendant. This case has been uniformly followed, and applied to suits for injunction as well as for the writ of mandamus. Warner Valley Stock Co. v. Smith, 165 U.S. 28, 33.

And in United States ex rel. Bernardin v. Butterworth, 169 U.S. 600, it was held that the substitution could not be made, although consent was given by the successor in office. In that case it was suggested that in view of the present state of the law it seemed desirable that Congress should provide for the difficulty by enacting a statute which would permit the successors of heads of departments who had died or resigned to be brought into the case by appropriate method. Thereupon Congress passed the act of February 8, 1899 (c. 121, 30 Stat. 822), under the provisions of which, by proper steps, successors of officers of the United States may be substituted for them in suits commenced against the latter in their official capacity. Subsequently, in Caledonian Coal Co. v. Baker, 196 U.S. 432, 442, this court held, after noticing the cases of United States v. Boutwell, supra, and United States ex rel. Bernardin v. Butterworth, supra, and other cases, and the statute just referred to, that, in so far as the successor to a territorial district judge was concerned, the statute had authorized substitution.

The above cases establish the practice of this court, and until the statute of 1899 the practice was uniformly adhered to. That statute affects only Federal officials and leaves the doctrine of the prior cases undisturbed as to the substitution of state officials. The ...


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