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DAWSON V. COLUMBIA TRUST CO., 197 U. S. 178 (1905)

U.S. Supreme Court

Dawson v. Columbia Trust Co., 197 U.S. 178 (1905)

Dawson v. Columbia Avenue Saving Fund,

Safe Deposit, Title and Trust Company

No. 154

Argued January 26-27, 1905

Decided March 27, 1905

197 U.S. 178


An arrangement of parties which is merely a contrivance between friends to found jurisdiction on diverse citizenship in the circuit court will not avail, and when it is obvious that a party who is really on complainant's side has been made a defendant for jurisdictional reasons, and for the purpose of reopening in the United States courts a controversy already decided in the state courts, the court will look beyond the pleadings and arrange the parties according to their actual sides in the dispute.

The wrongful repudiation of, and refusal to pay, a contract debt by a city may amount merely to a naked breach of contract, and in the absence of any legislative authority affecting the contract or on which the refusal to pay is based, the mere fact that the city is a municipal corporation does not give to its refusal the character of a law impairing the obligation

Page 197 U. S. 179

of contracts or depriving a citizen of property without due process of law, and give rise to suit under the Constitution of the United States within the jurisdiction of the circuit court.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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