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RECTOR V. LIPSCOMB, 141 U. S. 557 (1891)

U.S. Supreme Court

Rector v. Lipscomb, 141 U.S. 557 (1891)

Rector v. Lipscomb

No. 40

Argued and submitted October 20, 1891

Decided November 18, 1891

141 U.S. 557


Nearly two years after the entry of a decree dismissing a hill in equity relating to the title to real estate, the complainant, without notice to the respondent, filed his affidavit to show that its value was more than $5,000, appealed to this Court, and the appeal was allowed below and was entered in this Court. The respondent thereupon filed counter-affidavits in the court below, and, after notice to the complainant, moved to set aside the appeal upon the ground that the value of the property was shown to be less than $5,000. The complainant was present at the hearing of this motion, which resulted in an order vacating the order allowing the appeal. The respondent as appellee in this Court, on all these facts as shown by the original and supplemental records, moved to dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction. Held that under the circumstances it was no more than right that this Court should consider the subsequent affidavits, and that they showed that the amount in controversy was not sufficient to give this Court jurisdiction, and that therefore the appeal must be dismissed.

Red Fiver Cattle Company v. Needham, 137 U. S. 632, affirmed and applied to the circumstances of this case.

The Court stated the case as follows:

On April 29, 1884, appellant filed his bill in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas alleging that he was the equitable owner of lot 10, in block 125, in the Town of Hot Springs, Arkansas; that the legal title stood in the name of defendant, and praying that she be adjudged a trustee for his benefit, and ordered to convey the premises to him. On the final hearing, a decree was entered dismissing the bill. Nearly two years thereafter, without notice to the appellee and on the single affidavit of appellant that the property was worth over $5,000, an appeal was allowed. Subsequently, and at the same term, the appellee filed in the circuit court a motion to set aside the order allowing an appeal, and, to sustain her motion,

Page 141 U. S. 558

the affidavits of sixteen citizens of Hot Springs, among them the collector of taxes and sheriff and several real estate brokers, showing that the value of the property was not to exceed $3,500, and probably not over $2,500. Upon this testimony, the circuit court made an order setting aside and vacating the allowance of an appeal, with leave to the appellant to renew his motion therefor, and file additional affidavits as to the value of the property. Appellant took no further action. Prior, however, to the filing of this motion, the citation had been served on appellee and the record filed in this Court. The appellee now moves to dismiss the appeal on the ground that there is not $5,000 involved in the controversy.

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