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New York Elevated Railroad v. Fifth National Bank, 118 U.S. 608 (1886)

New York Elevated Railroad v. Fifth National Bank

Submitted October 12, 1886

Decided November 1, 1886

118 U.S. 608




The value of the matter in dispute in this Court is determined by the amount of the judgment below, without regard to the amount of the verdict.

Jurisdiction of a cause, having once attached in this Court, cannot be defeated by plaintiff below waiving or releasing enough of the judgment to bring it within the jurisdictional amount.

This was a motion to dismiss on the ground that the matter in dispute did not exceed the sum or value of $5,000. The suit Was brought by the Fifth National Lank of the City of New York against the New York Elevated Railroad Company to recover damages for injuries to real estate. A trial was had which resulted in a verdict against the railroad company, on the 9th of June, 1886, for $5,000. At the time of the rendition of the verdict, the railroad company moved for a new trial. This motion was denied on the 10th of August, and on the 26th of the same month, a judgment was entered for $5,068.33, that being the amount of the verdict, with interest added to the date of the judgment. The claim now made was that the value of the matter in dispute was to be determined by the verdict, without the interest.

Page 118 U. S. 609

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The rule is settled that when a writ of error is sued out from this Court by the defendant below and no question is presented growing out of a partial defense to the action or a counterclaim or a set-off, the value of the matter in dispute is fixed by the amount of the judgment. Gordon v. Ogden, 3 Pet. 33; Hilton v. Dickinson, 108 U. S. 165; Henderson v. Wadsworth, 115 U. S. 276. Our jurisdiction cannot be invoked

Page 118 U. S. 610

until after a final judgment, and, until such a judgment has been rendered, the cause remains in the full judicial control of the court in which it is pending. It was because of this that we declined to take jurisdiction in Thompson v. Butler, 95 U. S. 694, where the verdict was for more than $5,000 but reduced to that amount by leave of the court before the judgment, which was for the reduced sum. It is true that our jurisdiction depends on the amount of the judgment, exclusive of interest thereon, Knapp v. Banks, 2 How. 73; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Rogers, 93 U. S. 565, 566 [argument of counsel -- omitted], but here the interest accrued before judgment, and not after. In The Patapsco, 12 Wall. 451, jurisdiction was taken in a case where the decree was for $1,982 "and interest from the date of the report," which made more than $2,000 due at the time of the decree, that being then the jurisdictional limit.

As the jurisdiction has once attached, it cannot be defeated by a waiver or release of the amount in excess of $5,000.

The motion to dismiss is denied.

MR. JUSTICE FIELD took no part in this decision.

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