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Court. See also Hibernia Bank v. Standard Guana Co., 51 La. Ann. 1321. Of course, the jurisdiction of the United States courts could not be lessened or increased by state statutes regulating venue or establishing rules of procedure. But, manifestly, if a new and independent suit could have been brought in a state court to enjoin Simon from enforcing this judgment, a like new and independent suit could have been brought for a like purpose in a Federal court, which was then bound to act within its jurisdiction and afford redress (Hyde v. Stone, 20 How. 175; Reagan v. Farmers' Trust Co., 154 U. S. 391; Payne v. Hook, 7 Wall. 429). The United States courts could not stay original or supplementary proceedings in a state court (Mutual Reserve v. Phelps, 190 U. S. 159); or revise its judgment. But by virtue of their general equity jurisdiction they could enjoin a party from enforcing a void
2. The Appellant, Simon, however, contends that even if there was equity in the bill; and even if the Railway Company could have brought a new and independent suit in the state court to enjoin him from using the judgment,-yet in the present case the Federal court was without power to afford the same relief because $ 720 of the Revised Statutes provides that, except in bankruptcy cases, a United States court shall not "stay proceedings in any court of a State."
In 1793, when that statute was adopted (1 Stat. 334), courts of equity had a well-recognized power to issue writs of injunction to stay proceedings pending in court,in order to avoid a multiplicity of suits, to enable the defendant to avail himself of equitable defenses and the like. It was also true that the courts of equity of one State or country could enjoin its own citizens from prosecuting suits in another State or country. Cole v. Cunningham, 133 U. S. 107. This, of course, often gave rise to irritating controversies between the courts themselves
Opinion of the Court.
236 U. S.
which could, and sometimes did, issue contradictory injunctions.
On principles of comity and to avoid such inevitable conflicts the act of 1793 was passed. Diggs v. Wolcott, 4 Cranch, 179, 180 (1807) and Hull v. Burr, 234 U. S. 712 (1914), (the first and last cases in this court dealing with that question) furnish typical instances in which the statute has been applied. Those decisions, and the authorities therein cited, show that although the facts might have been such as to warrant an injunction against a suit then pending in a state court, yet $ 720 prevented the Federal court from staying the proceedings in the state court.
3. But when the litigation has ended and a final judgment has been obtained and when the plaintiff endeavors to use such judgment-a new state of facts, not within the language of the statute may arise. In the nature of the case, however, there are few decisions dealing with such a question. For where the state court had jurisdiction of the person and subject-matter the judgment rendered in the suit would be binding on the parties until reversed and there would therefore usually be no equity in a bill in a Federal court seeking an injunction against the enforcement of a state judgment thus binding between the parties. See Marshall v. Holmes, 141 U. S. 600, where Nougué v. Clapp, 101 U. S. 551, relied on by Appellant, is discussed.
There have, however, been a few cases in which there was equity in the bill brought to enjoin the plaintiff from enforcing the state judgment, and where that equity was found to exist appropriate relief has been granted. For example, in Julian v. Central Trust Company, 193 U. S. 112, a judgment was obtained in a state court, execution thereon was levied on property which, while not in possession of the Federal court, was in possession of a purchaser who held under the conditions of a Federal decree. It
U.S. 589, and the earlier cases cited in that case.".
Opinion of the Court. was held that the existence of that equity authorized an injunction to prevent the plaintiff from improperly enforcing his judgment, even though it may have been perfectly valid in itself.
Other cases might be cited involving the same principle. But this is sufficient to show that if, in a proper case, the plaintiff holding a valid state judgment can be enjoined by the United States court from its inequitable use, -by so much the more can the Federal courts enjoin him from using that which purports to be a judgment but is, in fact, an absolute nullity. Marshall v. Holmes, 141 U.S. 597;Gaines v. Fuentes, 92 U. S. 10; Barrow v. Hunton, 99 U. S. 85.
That the United States Circuit Court here could enjoin Simon from enforcing a void judgment against the Southern Railway Company, has already been ruled in another branch of this very case.
In habeas corpus proceedings (Ex parte Simon, 208 U. S. 144) he sought relief from the punishment imposed because of his violation of the temporary injunction granted in this cause. He there claimed that the attachment for contempt was void because the court was without power to issue the injunction which he had violated. On that subject this court said:
“This is not a suit coram non judice and wholly void by reason of Rev. Stat., $ 720, forbidding United States courts to stay by injunction proceedings in any state court. The Circuit Court had jurisdiction of the cause. That must be assumed at this stage, and finally unless we overrule the strong intimations in Marshall v. Holmes, 141
The appellant insists, however, that Marshall v. Holmes, referred to as conclusive unless overruled, does not support the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court because there no injunction was granted by the United States court.
In that case Mrs. Marshall brought a suit, in a Louisiana court, and obtained a temporary injunction restraining
Opinion of the Court.
Holmes, Sheriff, from levying Mayer's judgments alleged to be fraudulent. Her petition for removal to the United States court was denied and the case proceeded to final hearing in the state court where the temporary injunction was dissolved. That decree was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Louisiana. The case was then brought here to review the order refusing to allow the case to be removed to the Federal court. In discussing that issue the Appellee contended that it was not competent for the Circuit Court of the United States, by any form of decree, to deprive Mayer of the benefit of his judgment at law, and that Mrs. Marshall could obtain the relief asked only in the court in which the judgment had been rendered.' In considering that contention (which is substantially the same as that urged by the Appellant Simon here), the court asked 'whether, where the requisite diversity of citizenship existed, the Circuit Court of the United States could not deprive a party of the benefit of a judgment fraudulently obtained by him in a state court?' In answering this question the court pointed out the difference between enjoining a court and enjoining a party; and the difference between setting aside a judgment for irregularity and setting it aside for fraud. It was held that the case was removable, since, there being diversity of citizenship, the Circuit Court of the United States had jurisdiction to award Mrs. Marshall protection by preventing the plaintiff from enforcing his judgments if they were found to be fraudulent in fact, saying that the
“Authorities would seem to place beyond question the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court to take cognizance of the present suit, which is none the less an original, independent suit, because it relates to judgments obtained in the court of another jurisdiction. While it cannot require the state court itself to set aside or vacate the judgments in question, it may, as between the parties before it, if the facts justify such relief, adjudge that Mayer shall
not enjoy the inequitable advantage obtained by his judgments. A decree to that effect would operate directly upon him, and would not contravene that provision of the statute prohibiting a court of the United States from granting a writ of injunction to stay proceedings in a state court. 'It would simply take from him the benefit of judgments obtained by fraud.'” And if a United States court can enjoin a plaintiff from using a judgment, proved to be fraudulent, it can likewise enjoin him from using a judgment absolutely void for want of service.
4. The Appellant Simon further contends that Marshall v. Holmes, is not applicable here because that was a removal case; and it is urged that even if a Federal court can grant an injunction in a case removed, it cannot award the same relief in a bill originally brought in the Federal court. But that is a clear case of distinction without a difference and was not the basis of the decision.
Indeed (excluding ancillary bills Traction Company v. Mining Company, 196 U. S. 245), it seems always to have been assumed that the prohibition of $ 720 applied to cases removed to the United States courts, as well as to those originally instituted therein. Such was true in Diggs v. Wolcott, 4 Cranch, 179, the first reported case arising under the law. There a bill in Chancery was filed in a Connecticut court to enjoin a suit then pending in a Connecticut court. The case was removed to the United States Circuit Court and after removal the injunction was granted. On appeal the decree was reversed on the ground that a United States court could not (even on removal "stay proceedings in a state court.” In later decisions it has been pointed out that if there was a difference between cases brought and those removed, it would have been easy, as the law then stood, for the nonresident to bring a suit for injunction in a state court, remove it to the Federal court, secure therein the injunction sought, and thus evade