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EDWARDS V. TANNERET, 79 U. S. 446 (1870)

U.S. Supreme Court

Edwards v. Tanneret, 79 U.S. 12 Wall. 446 446 (1870)

Edwards v. Tanneret

79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 446


A dismissal of a case for want of jurisdiction held to have been rightly made from the Circuit Court for Louisiana as being a proceeding which, under the act of Congress of July 28, 1866, was to remain in the District Court of the United States for that District, the case being one that had been begun in the "Provisional Court of Louisiana," on pleadings which showed that both parties were citizens of the state named. The jurisdiction of the circuit court was held not to have been helped by a suggestion made there on transferring the case, that the defendant was an alien, the fact being denied in the subsequent pleadings, and no proof of it in any way made.

In 1862, during the late rebellion, the courts of the United States were broken up within the limits of Louisiana. New Orleans, however, being retaken by the army of the United States, and the national authority partially reestablished in the state, though still liable to be overthrown by successes of the rebels, President Lincoln, in October, 1862, established by proclamation what was known as a "Provisional Court," with authority to hear, try, and determine all causes, civil and criminal, including causes in law, equity, revenue, and admiralty; and particularly all such powers and jurisdiction as belong to the district and circuit courts of the United States; conforming proceedings as far as possible to the course of proceedings and practice which has been customary in the courts of the United States and Louisiana.

In this provisional court, one Daniel Edwards sued Emile Tanneret. The plaintiff's petition began thus:

"The petition of Daniel Edwards, a loyal citizen, residing in the City of New Orleans, with respect shows, that Emile Tanneret, residing on False River, in the Parish of Pointe Coupee, is justly and truly indebted unto your petitioner for balance of account in the sum of $4,995."

The writ or citation was thus:


"You are hereby commanded to summon Emile Tanneret, a

Page 79 U. S. 447

citizen of the State of Louisiana, to comply with the demand of Daniel Edwards, citizen of the State of Louisiana."

Judgment was given for the plaintiff. However, in July, 1865, Tanneret, describing himself as "a resident of Pointe Coupee, Louisiana," and Edwards as "a resident of New Orleans," filed a petition and got an injunction from the same court against the issue of any execution, the order being simply "Let the injunction issue as prayed for."

On the 20th of July, 1866, the authority of the United States being now completely reestablished in Louisiana, Congress passed an act * by the first section of which all "suits, causes, prosecutions, or proceedings," then in the provisional court, with the records thereof, were transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and authority was given to the circuit court to hear and determine such of the suits or proceedings thus transferred "as the circuit court could take jurisdiction of under the laws of the United States."

The second section enacted that in case suits or proceedings were then pending in the provisional court which could not have been instituted in the circuit court or the district court for that district, the records, when removed into the district court, should "remain in said district court without further action."

The third section enacted that all judgments, orders, decrees, and decisions of the provisional court relating to the causes transferred by the act to the district court or to the Circuit Court held in the Eastern District of Louisiana, should at once become the judgments, orders, decrees, and decisions of the district court or the circuit court unless the same were inconsistent with the rules and proceedings thereof, and that they might be enforced as the judgments, orders, and decrees of the district court or the circuit court.

In this condition of things, Edwards appeared in the Circuit Court for the District of Louisiana and suggesting the recovery of his judgment and that the defendant was "an

Page 79 U. S. 448

alien and a citizen of the French Empire," and himself "a citizen of the State of Louisiana," moved a transfer of his case into the circuit court. He made no allusion to the injunction, and having got a transfer of the case, issued execution.

The defendant's counsel then filed their own petition alleging the injunction and denying the alienage of the defendant, asserting contrariwise that he was a citizen of Louisiana.

The court dismissed the case as being a proceeding which, under the act of Congress, must remain in the archives of the district court.

From this order of dismissal the present writ of error was taken.

Page 79 U. S. 449

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