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O'SULLIVAN V. FELIX, 233 U. S. 318 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

O'Sullivan v. Felix, 233 U.S. 318 (1914)

O'Sullivan v. Felix

No. 249

Submitted March 9, 1914

Decided April 13, 1914

233 U.S. 318


That an action depends upon, or arises under, the laws of the United States does not preclude the application of the statute of limitations of the state. McLaine v. Rankin, 197 U. S. 154.

Page 233 U. S. 319

An action brought in the state court for damage for personal assault against persons violating Rev.Stat. § 5508 and 5509 is not an action for penalties, but for remedial damages, and the period of prescription depends upon the law of the state. Rev.Stat. § 1047 does not apply.

The criminal proceedings and punishment for public wrongs provided by Rev.Stat. §§ 1979-1981 and 5510 and the actions in law and equity for the redress of private injuries resulting from violations of laws of the United States also provided by §§ 1971981 are distinct.

The term "penalty" involve the idea of punishment for infraction of the law, and includes any extraordinary liability to which the law subjects a wrongdoer in favor of the person wronged, not limited to the damages suffered, while in a civil suit the amount of recovery for such damages is determined by the extent of the injury received and the elements constituting it.

194 F. 88 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction and application of the statute of limitations of the Louisiana to claims for damages for personal assaults, are stated in the opinion.

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