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Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Co. v. Jones, 177 U.S. 449 (1900)

Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Company v. Jones

No. 210

Argued March 21-22, 1900

Decided April 9, 1900

177 U.S. 449


On writ of error or appeal, the first and fundamental question is that of jurisdiction, first of this Court and then of the court from which the record comes. This question the court is bound to ask and answer for itself, even when not otherwise suggested, and without respect to the relation of the parties to it.

A limited partnership, doing business under a firm name and organized under the Act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania approved June 2, 1874, entitled

"An act authorizing the formation of partnership associations in which the capital subscribed shall alone be responsible for the debts of the association, except under certain circumstances,"

is not a corporation within the rule that a suit by or against a corporation in a court of the United States is conclusively presumed, for the purposes of

Page 177 U. S. 450

the litigation, to be one by or against citizens of the state creating the corporation. It is not sufficient that the association may be described as a quasi-corporation or as a "new artificial person." The rule does not embrace a new artificial person that is not a corporation.

Under the circumstances disclosed by the record, the circuit court should allow an amendment of the pleadings upon the subject of the citizenship of the parties, and the case should proceed to a final hearing on the merits in the event the pleadings as amended show a case within the jurisdiction of the court.

The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

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