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    DULL v. BLACKMAN, 169 U.S. 243 (1898)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    DULL v. BLACKMAN, 169 U.S. 243 (1898)

    169 U.S. 243

    DULL et al.
    v.
    BLACKMAN et al.
    No. 192.

    February 21, 1898

    [169 U.S. 243, 245]   Isaac N. Flickinger, Alfred G. Safford, and Omri F. Hibbard, for plaintiff in error.

    Winfield S. Strawn, for defendant in error.

    Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court. [169 U.S. 243, 246]   The contention of the plaintiffs in error, and in it is the only question of a federal nature presented by the record, is that the courts in Iowa did not give that full faith and credit to the decree rendered in the supreme court of the state of New York to which under the constitution of the United States it was entitled. From the foregoing statement of facts it appears clearly that although the suit in the Iowa court was originally commenced by Blackman, and though his name was, under the practice prevailing in Iowa, never dropped from the title of the case, it was, by reason of the intervention of Phelan and the orders of the court, simply prosecuted in his name for the benefit of Phelan, the intervener; that this intervention of Phelan, and his petition in support thereof, making the plaintiffs in error and others defendants thereto, was filed on the 17th of September, 1892, nearly two month before the commencement of the suit in New York. It also appears that, while Blackman, Phelan, Wright, and others were named as parties defendant to the suit in New York, Blackman was the only one served within the territorial jurisdiction, and the only one ppearing in that court. The other defendants were attempted to be brought in by service of summons in the state of Nebraska, and never entered any appearance in the suit. It is true the decree in the supreme court of the state of New York was entered before the trial of this case in the district court of Iowa, and the record of the proceedings in the New York court was in evidence at the trial in the Iowa court. It further appears from the findings of fact made by the trial court in Iowa, and sustained by the supreme court of that state, that the entire right and title had passed from Blackman to Phelan in September, 1892, nearly two months before the commencement of the suit in New York.

    Upon these facts we remark that as the land, the subject-matter of this controversy, was situate in Iowa, litigation in respect to its title belonged properly to the courts within that state (Ellenwood v. Chair Co., 158 U.S. 105, 107 , 15 S. Sup. Ct. 771), although, if all the parties interested in the land were brought personally before a court of another state, its decree would be [169 U.S. 243, 247]   conclusive upon them, and thus, in effect, determine the title. The suit in New York was one purely in personam. Any decree therein bound simply the parties before the court and their privies, and did not operate directly upon the lands. As said by this court in Carpenter v. Strange, 141 U.S. 87, 105 , 11 S. Sup. Ct. 960:

    In that suit the only party defendant subject to the jurisdiction of the court was Blackman. The other parties were not served with process within the limits of the state of New York, and never entered any appearance in the case. The service attempted to be made by delivering a copy of the summons to them in the state of Nebraska was ineffectual to bring them within the jurisdiction of that court.

    We remark again that while a judgment or decree binds not merely the party or parties subject to the jurisdiction of the court, but also those in privity with them, yet that rule does not avail the plaintiffs in error; for Phelan acquired his rights prior to the institution of the suit in New York, and was therefore not privy to that judgment.

    As Phelan was not brought within the jurisdiction of the New York court, and as the suit in that court was instituted nearly two months after he had acquired full title to the real estate, the decree of that court did not bind him as a party, nor bind him as in privity with Blackman, his grantor. The supreme court of Iowa did not err in so holding.

    The decree is affirmed.

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