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highest court of the State gives to the statute a different interpretation from that which seemed to prevail when the court below made its decision, the judgment or decree will ordinarily be reversed. If a contract when made is valid by the laws of the State as then construed by its courts, subsequent decisions altering the construction of those laws will not be followed by the Federal courts.23 This rule does not extend so as to authorize the reversal of a judgment of a State court because it gave a construction to a State statute different from one previously given by it to the same language in another statute.29 Whether a State statute has been passed 30 or repealed 31 by the legislature, and whether a particular corporation is a corporation of that State, 52 are questions as to which the Federal courts will in general follow the decisions of the courts of such State. Federal courts will in actions at common law on causes of action not created by Federal statutes follow the Statutes of Limitations, even when they are applied to judgments of the
mission Ankeny v. Hannon, 147 ter sustain it, the latter are followed. U. S. 118. So held of a divided court. Wade v. Travis County, 174 U. S. 499, Williams v. Eggleston, 170 U. S. 304. 509. But see Central R. Co. v. Wright, 164 29 Wood v. Brady, 150 U. S. 18. U. S. 327. The decisions of State 30 Leavenworth County v. Barnes, courts as to the interpretation of a 94 U. S. 70; South Ottawa v. Perkins, Territorial statute in force in such 94 U. S. 260; Post v. Supervisors, 105 State are binding on the Federal U. S. 667; Re Duncan, 139 U. S. 449; courts. Ankeny v. Clark, 148 U. S. 345. Fitzgerald v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 45 Fed.
27 Tefft v. Stern (C. C. A.), 74 Fed. R. 812. R. 755; Bauserman v. Blunt, 147 U. S. 31 Kibbe v. Ditto, 93 U. S. 674; Peik 647. But see Morgan v. Curtenius, v. Chicago & N. W.R. Co., 94 U. S. 164; 20 How. 1; Burgess v. Seligman, 107 Southern Ry. Co. v. N. C. Corp. ComU. S. 20.
mission, 99 Fed. R. 162. 28 Ohio L. Ins. & Tr. Co. v. Debolt, 32 Hancock v. Louisville & N. R. 16 How. 416; Gelpcke v. Dubuque, Co., 145 U. S. 409; Fitzgerald v. No. 1 Wall. 175; Havemeyer v. lowa Pac. R. Co., 45 Fed. R. 812. For a dicCounty, 3 Wall. 294; Thomson v. Lee tum that the construction by State County, 3 Wall. 327; Douglass v. Pike courts of a reservation of a right to County, 101 U. S. 677; Louisiana v. amend corporate charters should be Pilsbury, 105 U.S. 278; Carroll County followed by the Federal courts, see v. Smith, 111 U. S. 556; Anderson v. People ex rel. Schurz v. Cook, 148 Santa Anna, 116 U. S. 356. See N. O. U. S. 397, 411. W. W. Co. v. Southern B. Co., 36 Fed. 33 Bell v. Morrison, 1 Pet. 351; Tioga R. 833. Where the former decisions R. Co. v. Blossburg & C. R. Co., 20 of the State courts were against the Wall. 137; Bauserman v. Blunt, 147 validity of the contract and the lat- U. S. 647; supra, $ 8.
courts of the United States,34 Statutes of Frauds, 35 recording acts, 36 statutes regulating chattel mortgages,97 insolvents' assignments,38 so far as they are not affected by the bankruptcy law, employers' liability,39 the measure of damages,' the granting compensation for improvements made upon land in good faith,“ regulating the sale of land within their jurisdiction by domestic and foreign corporations; 42 making shares of stock in a domestic corporation personal property within the State, statutes giving a cause of action for an injury that has caused a death, and, in so far as they affect rights, the Sunday laws 45 of the State where such courts are held; and the construction given to those statutes by the courts of the State which enacted them, so far as they apply, subject to the exceptions already noted. The Federal courts will follow the decisions of the State courts as to the allowance or disallowance of interest on overdue coupons for interest; 46 or upon damages for
34 Metcalf v. Watertown, 153 U. S. 40 Golden Reward Min. Co. v. Bux671.
ton Min. Co. (C. C. A.), 97 Fed. R. 35 D'Wolf v. Rabaud, 1 Pet. 476; 413. Moses v. Lawrence County Bank, 41 McClaskey v. Barr, 62 Fed. R. 149 U. S. 298, 303.
209. Cf. Santee R. C. L. Co. v. James, 36 Townsend v. Todd, 91 U. S. 452; 50 Fed. R. 360. Jones v. Smith, 40 Fed. R. 314; Union 42 Williams v. Gaylord (C. C. A.), Pac. Ry. Co. v. Reed, 80 Fed. R. 234. 102 Fed. R. 372. But not State stat
37 Etheridge v. Sperry, 139 U. S. utes forbidding the enforcement of 266, 277; Wilson v. Perrin (C. C. A.), contracts by foreign corporations 62 Fed. R. 629.
which have not complied with cer38 Union Bank of Chicago v. Kan- tain conditions. Sullivan v. Beck, 79 sas City Bank, 136 U. S. 223; Smith Fed. R. 200; Eastern B. & L. Ass'n M. P. Co. v. McGroarty, 136 U. S. 237; v. Bedford, 88 Fed. R. 7. Randolph's Ex'r v. Quidnick Co., 135 43 Jellenik v. Huron Copper Min. U. S. 457. So of State statutes giv- Co., 177 U. S. 1, 13. ing preferences to claims against the 44 Railroad Co. v. Barron, 5 Wall. estates of decedents which are pre- 90; Serensen v. N. P. R. Co., 45 Fed. sented within a certain time, Dodd R. 407; Holland v. Brown, 35 Fed. R. v. Ghiselin, 27 Fed. R. 405; and pro- 43; Holmes v. Railway Co., 5 Fed. R. viding that upon the foreclosure of a 75; S. C., 5 Fed. R. 523; Maysville St. mortgage given to secure the pay- R. & T. Co. v. Marvin (C. C. A.), 59 ment of several notes, the notes Fed. R. 91; Dennick v. Central R. Co., shall be paid in the order in which 103 U. S. 11. they fall due. N. Y. Security & Tr. 45 Bucher v. Cheshire R. Co., 125 Co. v. Lombard, 65 Fed. R. 271; re- U. S. 555. versed upon another point (C. C. A.), 46 Bolles v. Town of Amboy, 40 Fed. 74 Fed. R. 769.
R. 168; Holden v. Freedman's S. & 39 Peirce v. Van Dusen (C. C. A.), Tr. Co., 100 U. S. 72. 78 Fed. R. 693.
a tort; “7 and as to the rate of interest upon an obligation after it is due.48 Ordinarily they will also follow the State decisions as to the liability of municipal corporations for torts,19 and their power to contract. The right to issue a writ of scire facias under section 955 of the Revised Statutes, where the cause of action is not created by an act of Congress, is barred by the lapse of time prescribed by the State Statute of Limitations. 51 The title to land formed by accretion, the rights of riparian owners in the bed of a stream, whether navigable or otherwise,53 the validity of tax sales," and generally all questions affecting real estate,55 in the absence of constitutional difficul. ties, depend upon the local rule of property. The authorities as to how far the State law of lis pendens will be followed are not harmonious.56 A State statute giving the right to two trials in an action of ejectment will be followed by the Federal
47 N. Y., L. E. & W. R. Co. v. Estill, session of land, Santee R. C. L Co. p. 147 U. S. 591.
James, 50 Fed. R. 360. As to the 48 Ohio v. Frank, 103 U. 8. 697. rights of abutters in streets, Loben
49 Detroit v. Osborne, 135 U. S. 492; steine v. Union El. R. Co., 80 Fed. R. Edgerton v. Mayor, etc. of N. Y., 27 199. But see Barber v. Pittsburgh, Fed. R. 30. A municipal fire-boat etc. Ry. Co., 69 Fed. R. 501. was held liable in admiralty in a case 56 The Federal courts will refuse to where the State law gave no remedy follow any State statutes or decisions against the city. Workman v. New which provide that non-resident citi. York, 179 U. S. 552.
zens of other States who hold nego50 Claiborne County v. Burks, 111 tiable paper or chattels beyond the U. S. 400; Norton v. Shelby County, jurisdiction of the court shall have 118 U. S. 425, 440; Meriwether v. Muh- constructive notice of litigation aflenburg Court, 120 U. S. 354, 357; fecting the title or validity of the Francis v. Howard County, 50 Fed. R. same. Enfield v. Jordan, 119 U. S. 44; Thompson v. Searcy County, 57 680, 693. A bona fide holder of negoFed. R. 1030. But see supra, note 28. tiable paper is not subject to the gen.
51 Browne v. Chavez, 181 U. S. 68; eral doctrine of lis pendens. FarmButler v. Poole, 44 Fed. R. 586; Bark- ers' L. & Tr. Co. v. Toledo & S. H. R. ler v. Ladd, 3 Saw. 44; Price v. Fates, Co., 54 Fed. R. 759, 772, per Jackson, 19 A. L. J. 295; supra, $ 373.
J. It has been held in the Second 52 Barney v. Keokuk, 94 U. S. 324; Circuit, that a State statute providSt. Louis v. Rutz, 138 U. S. 226, 250. ing that purchasers without actual
63 Barney v. Keokuk, 94 U. S. 324, notice of a pending suit are not 338; St. Louis v. Myers, 113 U. S. 566; bound by the proceedings therein Packer v. Bird, 137 U. S. 661; St. Louis unless a notice of lis pendens has been v. Rutz, 138 U. S. 226, 242.
filed in a designated public office, 54 Lewis v. Monson, 151 U. S. 454; will be followed by the Federal court Bardon v. Land & R. Imp. Co., 157 there held, which will require notice U. S. 327.
of the pendency of a suit in such a 55 Case v. Kelly, 133 U. S. 21. For Federal court to be filed in such office example, as to what constitutes pos- so as to bind subsequent purchasers. courts there held.57 The courts of the United States in the administration of the criminal law are governed by the rules of the common law.58
§ 376. New trials.- The power of a Federal court to grant a new trial cannot be enlarged or restricted by a State statute.' It has been held that a State statute forbidding a new trial for the insufficiency of damages would be unconstitutional as a violation of the Seventh Amendment if applied to a Federal court, but that the right to two or more trials of an action for ejectment may be given 3 or taken away by a State statute, which is constitutional even when applied to actions pending
Jones v. Smith, 40 Fed. R. 314, per al common-law cases touching these Laurence, J. Contra in the Sixth questions.” In re Barry, 42 Fed. R. Circuit. McCloskey v. Barr, 48 Fed. 113, 132; S. C., 136 U. S. 597, 624. R. 130, 132, per Jackson and Sage, JJ. Where the Federal court had adopted
57 Equator M. & S. Co. v. Hall, 106 the State practice in serving process, U. S. 86. But see § 376. "Statutory it was held that the State decisions, modifications of the common law in holding that the sheriff's return was regard to the rights of husband and conclusive, must be followed. Joseph wife, as plaintiffs, in actions at law v. New Albany St. & R. M. Co., 53 in the courts of a State, are applicable Fed. R. 180. The State law as to comalso in the United States courts held mon-law set-off was followed. Charnin such State, if not inconsistent with ley v. Sibley (C. C. A.), 73 Fed. R. 980; the laws of the United States or with Fricks v. Clements, 31 Fed. R. 542. A the duties which belong to its judges Federal court refused to follow a and courts and the powers with State statute giving an attorney a which they are clothed.” The Morn- lien on his client's cause of action so ing Journal Ass'n v. Smith (C. C. A.), far as it was construed to require the 56 Fed. R. 141, per curiam; Texas & court to go on and try a cause for Pac. Ry. Co. v. Humble, 181 U. S. 57. the attorney's benefit after it had A State statute providing that an been settled by the parties, in ignoassignee of a cause of action by a rance of his claim. Sherry v. Oceanic written instrument may sue in his S. Nav. Co., 72 Fed. R. 565. own name, although the assignor re- 58 Howard v. U. S. (C. C. A.), 75 Fed. tains an interest therein, will be fol- R. 986. lowed by a Federal court in an action 8 376. 1 Indianapolis & St. L. R. Co. at common law. Dexter, Horton & v. Horst, 93 U. S. 291; Newcomb v. Co. v. Sayward, 51 Fed. R. 729, 732. Wood, 97 U. S. 581; Fishbrom v. ChiSee supra, & 360. Judge Betts said cago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co., 137 U. S. 60. at circuit that the adjudications of 2 Hughey v. Sullivan, 80 Fed. R. 72. the State courts "prescribing the 3 Equator Co. v. Hall, 106 U. S. 86. laws of its citizens in respect to the As to costs, see Shreve v. Cheesman custody of infant children resident (C. C. A.), 69 Fed. R. 785. in the State, and the relative rights 4 Campbell v. Iron-Silver Min. Co. of parents in respect to such children, (C. C. A.), 83 Fed. R. 643. are rules of decision in this court in
when it was passed, and will be followed by the courts of the United States.
The Federal courts have power to grant new trials after a trial by jury "for reasons for which new trials have usually been granted in the courts of law.”? A motion for a new trial must be made or noticed for argument during the term at which the trial took place, or by special leave of the court granted, upon a petition filed within forty-two days after the entry of judgment. A motion for a new trial upon exceptions, or because the verdict was against the evidence or against the weight of evidence, or because of excessive or insufficient damages, is regularly argued before the judge who tried the case. He may, if he chooses, ask another judge to assist him in rendering his decision; 10 and the latter may then hear the argument; but neither party has the right to domand the participation of another judge in the decision. It has been held that the power to try a case carries with it as an incident the power to hear and decide a motion for a new trial,12 but that an order denying a motion for a new trial is void if signed by a judge after his successor has been appointed and qualified, and notice of this has been given to the judge who signs the order.14 The power of Congress to authorize such a re-examination of the proceedings upon the trial has been questioned. 15 As a general rule, on a motion for a new trial affidavits of jurors may be received to support but not to impeach the verdict.16 “A juryman may
133; Ives v. Grand Trunk Ry. Co., 35 6 Ibid.; Equator Co. v. Hall, 106 Fed. R. 176. U. S. 86. After one trial and an order 12 Ives v. Grand Trunk Ry. Co., 35 for a new trial in a State court, it Fed. R. 176. was held that the plaintiff could not 13 Cheesman v. Hart, 42 Fed. R. 98, discontinue and sue in the Federal 105. court. Hyatt v. Challiss, 55 Fed. R. 14 U. S. v. Alexander, 46 Fed. R. 728. 267.
15 Ives v. Grand Trunk Ry. Co., 35 7 U. S. R. S., S 726; Clark v. Sohier, Fed. R. 176. Cf. Metropolitan R. Co. 1 W. & M. 368; Milliken v. Ross, 9 v. Moore, 121 U. S. 558, 573. Fed. R. 855.
16 Hyman v. Eames, 41 Fed. R. 676, 8 U. S. R. S., $ 987. See $ 380. 677; Chandler v, Thompson, 30 Fed.
9 Ives v. Grand Trunk Ry. Co., 35 R. 38, 45; Glaspell v. N. Pac. R. Co., Fed. R. 176.
43 Fed. R. 903, 909; Fuller v. Fletcher, 10 Ives v. Grand Trunk Ry. Co., 35 44 Fed. R. 34, 39; Biggs v. Barry, 2 Fed. R. 176; Adams v. Spangler, 17 Curtis, 259; Ewer's Adm'r v. NaFed. R. 133.
tional Imp. Co., 63 Fed. R. 562. 11 Adams v. Spangler, 17 Fed. R.