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MILLER V. STATE, 79 U. S. 159 (1870)

U.S. Supreme Court

Miller v. State, 79 U.S. 12 Wall. 159 159 (1870)

Miller v. State

79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 159


Although a suit be nominally by a state as the plaintiff, yet where the real plaintiffs are individuals -- as ex gr. in a quo warranto, where the state is plaintiff ex relatione -- the court will not advance, even by consent of counsel on both sides, a case under the Act of June 30, 1870.

Seven persons, asserting themselves to be the true directors of the Rochester & Genesee Railroad Company, a corporation created by the State of New York, brought suit in one of the courts of that state in the nature of a quo warranto -- using the name of The People of the State of New York as plaintiff with their own names as relators -- against one Miller and several others, who also asserted themselves to be directors, charging that these last had unlawfully usurped the office of directors, from which they, the relators, had been unlawfully ousted.

The case being transferred from the special term of the court to which it was brought to the general term, the names of the seven relators were dropped, and the matter proceeded in the name of "The People of the State of New York" alone. Judgment being finally given in the case thus entitled by the Court of Appeals in New York, the case came here from that court on error, and now, standing low down on the docket, a motion was made by Mr. T. Bacon, for the plaintiff in error, Mr. J. C. Cochrane in behalf of the other side, favoring the same, and having himself made a

Page 79 U. S. 160

similar motion, to advance the cause and bear it at such time as the Court should direct.

The motion was made under the Act of 30 June, 1870, which provides:

"That in all suits . . . now pending or which may hereafter be brought in any of the courts of the United States, whether original suits in the courts of the United States, or brought into said courts by appeal or writ of error, . . . wherein a state is a party, . . . or where the execution of the revenue laws of any state may be enjoined or stayed by judicial order or process . . . , it shall be the duty of any court in which such case may be pending, on sufficient reason shown, to give to such cause the preference and priority over all other civil causes pending in such court between private parties."

"And the state or party claiming under the state the execution of whose revenue laws is enjoined or suspended shall have a right to have such cause heard at any time after such cause is docketed in such court in preference to any other civil cause pending in such court between private parties."

It was stated at the bar in support of the motion under this statute that in addition to the suit being by the state of New York, and so within the statute on that ground, the state named was interested in a fiscal point of view in the successful operation of the road, now greatly interfered with and almost arrested by the quarrels between the different bodies asserting themselves to be its true board of directors; that the revenue laws of the state and her receipts from the road were in fact suspended until the road was put into quiet and successful operation -- that is to say, were suspended by the judicial order or process granting a writ of error in the case, until the disposition of which in some way the road could not be put into the sort of operation spoken of.

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