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MAYNARD V. HECHT, 151 U. S. 324 (1894)

U.S. Supreme Court

Maynard v. Hecht, 151 U.S. 324 (1894)

Maynard v. Hecht

No. 680

Submitted January 8, 1894

Decided January 22, 1894

151 U.S. 324


Under the Judiciary Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, 26 Stat. 826, 827, when an appeal or writ of error is taken from a district court or a circuit court in which the jurisdiction of the court alone is in issue, a certificate from the court below of the question of jurisdiction to be decided is an absolute prerequisite for the exercise of jurisdiction here, and if it be wanting, this Court cannot take jurisdiction.

Motion to dismiss. Charles Hecht filed his petition in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Nebraska, October 14, 1890, against the plaintiffs in error alleging that the amount in controversy in the suit exceeded the sum or value of $2,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and that he had been damaged in the sum of $2,500 by reason of the purchase, upon defendants' false and fraudulent representations in writing, of certain land, for which he paid the sum of $1,800, and which turned out to be without value. The petition, among other things, averred that plaintiff had executed a deed of reconveyance of the property in question, and formally tendered the same, and he brought said deed into court, and also a promissory note of the Saline County Nurseries given to him at the time of the purchase as indemnity against a mortgage upon the premises, and prayed judgment for $2,500, together with interest and costs. Defendants answered, denying the allegations of the petition, and alleging that the purchase price of the land was paid in horses, which Hecht guarantied to be sound, but which were in fact worthless. To this answer a reply in general denial was filed, and, trial having been had, a verdict was returned in favor of Hecht for $1,720. Defendants then moved for a new trial, and the same day filed a motion to dismiss the case upon the ground that the circuit

Page 151 U. S. 325

court had no jurisdiction, since it appeared from the petition that the amount in controversy was less than the sum of $2,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and no evidence was introduced at the trial tending to prove that the amount exceeded that sum. June 10, 1891, the court overruled each of the motions and entered judgment upon the verdict. The writ of error was allowed November 16, 1891. No certificate of question for decision was applied for or granted by the court.

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