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Sullivan v. Fulton Steamboat Company, 19 U.S. 6 Wheat. 450 450 (1821)

Sullivan v. Fulton Steamboat Company

19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 450




In order to maintain a suit in the circuit court, the jurisdiction must appear on the record, as if the suit is between citizens of different states, the citizenship of the respective parties must be set forth.

This was a bill in equity filed in the court below in which Sullivan, one of the plaintiffs, was described as a citizen of Massachusetts and others of the plaintiffs, as citizens of Connecticut and Vermont, and the defendants were described as a corporate body incorporated by the Legislature of the

Page 19 U. S. 451

State of New York for the purpose of navigating, by steamboats, the waters of the East River, or Long Island Sound, in said state. The object of the bill was to obtain an injunction to prevent the defendants from so exercising the privileges granted to them by the said act, and by an assignment from Livingston and Fulton of their rights under certain other acts of the Legislature of New York, as to obstruct the plaintiffs in the right claimed by them under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and under a coasting license, of employing a certain steamboat belonging to the plaintiffs in the transportation of goods and passengers in the waters of the States of Connecticut and New York. The defendants demurred to the bill, and a decree dismissing it was entered pro forma by consent, and the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.

Mr. Webster, for the appellants, opened the record, from which it not appearing that the court below had jurisdiction, as the respective parties were not described as citizens of different states, the decree, dismissing the bill, was affirmed.

DECREE. On motion of the appellants, by their counsel and on inspection of the transcript of the record of the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, it is DECREED and ORDERED that the decree of the said circuit court in this case be and the same is hereby affirmed, it not appearing from the record that the said circuit court had jurisdiction

Page 19 U. S. 452

in said cause. The said affirmance to be without prejudice to the complainants on the merits of the case.

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