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EX PARTE BALDWIN, 291 U. S. 610 (1934)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Baldwin, 291 U.S. 610 (1934)

Ex Parte Baldwin

No.19, original

Argued February 12, 1934

Decided March 19, 1934

291 U.S. 610


1. The writ of mandamus will not be issued by this Court at the instance of a trustee in bankruptcy to compel the District Court to accept jurisdiction on removal of a suit in a state court, brought against him as such trustee and affecting the title and possession of property of which he has taken possession as part of the bankrupt estate. There is an adequate remedy by application to the court of bankruptcy to enjoin the prosecution of the suit. P. 291 U. S. 614.

2. All property in the possession of a bankrupt of which he claims the ownership passes, upon the filing of the petition in bankruptcy, into the custody of the court of bankruptcy. P. 291 U. S. 615.

3. Where a court of competent jurisdiction has, through its officers, taken property into its possession, the property is thereby withdrawn from the jurisdiction of other courts, and the court having possession may not only issue all writs necessary to protect its possession from physical interference, but is entitled to determine all questions respecting the same. P. 291 U. S. 615.

4. The jurisdiction in such cases is exclusive of the jurisdiction of other courts, although otherwise the controversy would be cognizable by them. P. 291 U. S. 615.

Page 291 U. S. 611

5. In bankruptcy, this rule applies regardless of whether the property is located in the district in which the bankruptcy jurisdiction originated, and an injunction to protect its possession may issue either from the federal court of original jurisdiction, or from the federal court of the district in which the state court suit is brought or in which the plaintiff in that suit resides. P. 291 U. S. 615.

6. The exclusive jurisdiction acquired by a court of bankruptcy through taking possession of land as part of the bankrupt's estate is not limited to prevention of interference with use of the land but extends also to the adjudication of questions respecting the title. P. 291 U. S. 616.

7. The inherent power of a bankruptcy court to protect its jurisdiction over property of which it has taken possession from interference by suit against the trustee thereafter begun in a state court, is expressly reserved in § 265, Jud.Code, and is not abridged by § 23(a) of the Bankruptcy Act, relating to suits over property brought by trustees in bankruptcy against adverse claimants, nor by § 66, Jud.Code, which provides that every receiver or manager of any property appointed by any court of the United States, may be sued without previous leave of that court, in respect of any act or transaction of his in carrying on the business connected with such property, subject, however, to the equity jurisdiction of the appointing court so far as may be necessary to the ends of justice. P. 291 U. S. 616.

8. A suit brought in a state court against trustees in bankruptcy to forfeit to the plaintiffs a railroad right of way in the trustees' possession, upon the ground that the bankrupt railway company broke an agreement requiring it to maintain train service, held subject to the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court notwithstanding that, as a mere incident, damages also were prayed against the trustees because of their failure to maintain the service after they took over the railway. P. 291 U. S. 618.

9. Nonfeasance of the trustees in bankruptcy in not reviving train service which the bankrupt wholly ceased to maintain before they took possession was not an " act or transaction " of the trustees, within the meaning of § 66, Jud.Code. Id.

Rule discharged.

Upon the return of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and of Thomas M. Kennerly, Judge thereof, to a rule to show cause why a writ of mandamus

Page 291 U. S. 612

should not issue commanding that jurisdiction be taken of a petition for the removal to that court of a suit pending in a court of Texas against the petitioners Baldwin and Thompson, trustees in bankruptcy, the Beaumont, Sour Lake Western Railway Company, and the Houston North Shore Railway Co.

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