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FEIBELMAN V. PACKARD, 109 U. S. 421 (1883)

U.S. Supreme Court

Feibelman v. Packard, 109 U.S. 421 (1883)

Feibelman v. Packard

Submitted November 8, 1888

Decided December 3, 1883

109 U.S. 421


1. An action against a marshal of the United States for seizing a stock of goods more than $500 in value, under authority of a writ from a district court of the United States in proceedings in bankruptcy, the suit being on his official bond, and the sureties therein being joined as codefendants, is a suit of a civil nature arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States, which may be removed from the state courts to the federal courts.

2. A district court of the United States sitting in bankruptcy has jurisdiction to order the seizure and detention of goods, the property of the bankrupt, although in possession of another under claim of title. The officer, in a subsequent action against him for obedience to that order, may justify by proof that the title to the property at the time of seizure was in the bankrupt. If the local state laws are in conflict with this right, they will not be regarded as having any application to it. Sharpe v. Doyle, 102 U. S. 686, approved and followed.

Suit against a United States marshal and his sureties on his official bond to recover for an alleged illegal seizure of goods.

The action was originally brought by Nathan Feibelman,

Page 109 U. S. 422

since deceased, and revived by his administrator, the plaintiff in error, by petition filed April 24, 1873, in the Fourth District Court for the Parish of Orleans, in the State of Louisiana. Its object was to recover damages for unlawfully seizing and taking forcible possession of a stock of merchandise alleged by the plaintiff to have been his property and in his possession. The defendant Packard was alleged to be the marshal of the United States for the District of Louisiana, and the seizure and taking of the property is stated to have been under a claim of authority based upon a writ or warrant issued by the judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana in certain proceedings in bankruptcy instituted in that court by D. Valentine & Co. as creditors against E. Dreyfus & Co., but it is averred that the writ did not justify the acts complained of. The other defendants below were sureties on the official bond of Packard as marshal, and by an amendment to the original petition it is alleged

"that all the acts charged and complained of in said original petition by which the petitioners suffered the damages therein set forth were done by said Packard in his capacity of marshal aforesaid, and are breaches of the conditions of said bond, and give unto your petitioner this right of action on said bond against said marshal and his sureties."

On April 7, 1865, the defendants filed in the state court their petition for the removal of the cause to the circuit court of the United States for that district, accompanied by a sufficient bond, conditioned according to law, upon the ground that the suit arose under a law of the United States, but the application was denied, and thereafter, on April 22, 1875, they filed in the circuit court a petition for a writ of certiorari to remove the same into that court, which was granted. Thereafter the cause proceeded to final judgment in favor of the defendants in that court, and the plaintiff brought the cause here by writ of error.

The case was submitted for the plaintiff in error, and argued for the defendants.

Page 109 U. S. 423

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