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Opinion of the Court.
graph business, and the receipts were receipts for telegraph messages. This case arose upon a certificate of division of the judges who presided at the trial, and in remanding the case the court said: “We answer the question in regard to which the judges of the Circuit Court divided in opinion, by saying that a single tax, assessed under the Revised Statutes of Ohio, upon the receipts of a telegraph company which were derived partly from interstate commerce and partly from commerce within the State, but which were returned and assessed in gross, and without separation or apportionment, is not wholly invalid, but is invalid only in proportion to the extent that such receipts were derived from interstate commerce ;” and, concurring with the circuit judge in his action, enjoining the collection of the taxes on that portion of the receipts derived from interstate commerce, and permitting the treasurer to collect the other tax upon property of the company and upon receipts derived from commerce entirely within the limits of the state, the decree was affirmed.
In the subsequent case, Leloup v. Port of Mobile, found in the same volume, the question arose upon a conviction under the statute of Alabama on an indictment for failing to take out a license tax by the telegraph company, imposed by the city of Mobile on all telegraph companies. Edward Leloup, the agent of the company, was convicted under this proceeding, his conviction affirmed by the Supreme Court of Alabama, and its judgment brought to this court on writ of error. This court held that, his company having complied with the act of Congress of July 24, 1866, the State could not require it to take out a license for the transaction of business in the city, and that a general license tax on the telegraph company affected its entire business, interstate as well as domestic and internal, and was unconstitutional.
We think these cases are so directly in point on the questions arising in the present case that they must control, and as the record of the case presents the means by which the receipts arising from commerce wholly within the State, and from that which, under these definitions, may be called inter
Statement of the Case.
state commerce, can be separated, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Alabama is Reversed, and the case remanded to it, with directions for further proceedings in conformity with this opinion.
RIO GRANDE RAILROAD COMPANY v. GOMILA.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA.
No. 113. Argued November 15, 1889. - Decided December 9, 1889.
Property of a debtor, brought within the custody of the Circuit Court of
the United States by seizure under process issued upon its judgment, reinains in its custody to be applied in satisfaction of its judgment, notwithstanding the subsequent death of the debtor before the sale under
execution. The jurisdiction of a court of the United States, once obtained over prop
erty by its being brought within its custody, continues until the purpose of the seizure is accomplished, and cannot be impaired or affected by any legislation of the State, or by any proceedings subsequently commenced
in a state court. Probate laws of a State which, upon the death of a party to a suit in a
Federal Court, withdraw his estate from the operation of the execution laws of the State, and place it in the hands of his executor or administrator for the benefit of his creditors and distributees, do not apply when, previous to the death of the debtor, his property has been seized upon execution, and thus specifically appropriated to the satisfaction of a judgment in that court.
This case came from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana. It arose out of the following facts: On the 5th of June, 1885, the Rio Grande Railroad Company, a corporation, recovered a judgment in that court against a copartnership firm known as Gomila & Co., and against its members, Anthony J. Gomila and Larned Torrey, in solido, for $26,731.99, with interest from January 1, 1884. Upon this judgment execution was issued under which certain interests were attached, or seized, as it is termed in the laws of Louisiana, namely, a claim upon which, in February, 1885,
Statement of the Case.
judgment was recovered in that court in favor of Gomila & Co. against Culliford & Clark, for $23,999.76, with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum from June 30, 1883, from which judgment an appeal was, at the time, pending in the Supreme Court of the United States; also a claim and judgment thereon in favor of Gomila & Co., against John T. Milliken, rendered in a state court of Louisiana, on the 27th of June, 1883, for $6200, with interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum from February 27, 1883; and also a claim made by Gomila & Co. against Kellor Brothers, garnishees in the suit of Gomila & Co. against Milliken. Under this execution a parcel of real estate in the city of New Orleans was also seized. The property, except the real estate, was advertised by the marshal of the district for sale. Whilst thus advertised, and before the day of sale designated, Gomila, of the firm of Gomila & Co., died. The sale did not, therefore, take place, and the representatives of Gomila were made parties to the proceedings under the execution. Subsequently a new sale was advertised. Before the day of sale arrived, the public administrator, and, as such, dative testamentary executor of Gomila, upon an affidavit that three-fourths of these assets belonged to and were inventoried as of the succession of the deceased, and should be administered with his other assets in the Probate Court of the Parish of Orleans, moved the Circuit Court of the United States for an order directing the marshal of the district to discontinue and withdraw the advertisement of sale, and desist from making the sale as advertised, or offering for sale the property seized. To this motion the railroad company appeared, and by way of exception and demurrer, pleaded, 1st, that the executor could not proceed by motion if he had any cause of complaint, but must proceed by an original bill in equity; and, 2d, that the motion presented issues of law and fact, which, if within the jurisdiction of the law side of the court, should be tried in the ordinary way by a jury. The company further stated that, if the demurrer and exception were overruled, it desired to set up in answer to the motion the fact that the claims were seized and advertised for sale before the death of Gomila, and were in the custody and jurisdiction of
Opinion of the Court.
the court at the time of his death, and should not, therefore, be transferred to the Probate Court of the parish. Upon the hearing, which took place on the 5th of November, 1885, the court overruled the exception and demurrer, and ordered that the marshal discontinue and withdraw the advertisement of sale, which had been fixed for that day, and desist from making the sale until further order of the court, reserving to the parties all the rights not therein passed upon. This order merely operated to postpone the sale. Subsequently another rule was taken out by the executor upon the railroad company to show cause why the effects and property should not be delivered to him, burdened with any liens in its favor, which might have resulted from their seizure, and be received and held by him as executor for the purpose of administration, under the orders of the Probate Court. Upon the hearing which followed, the Circuit Court, in December, 1885, adjudged and decreed that the rule be made absolute, and that the property described in the motion, then in the possession and under the control of the marshal, be delivered to the executor as the officer of the Probate Court for the Parish of Orleans, the said property to pass into his possession burdened with any liens in favor of the plaintiff which might have resulted from its seizure, and that it be received and held by the executor for the purpose of administration under the orders of the Probate Court, and that the cost of the proceedings be paid by the Rio Grande Railroad Company. Rio Grande Railway v. Gomila, 28 Fed. Rep. 337.
To reverse this judgment the case was brought to this court on writ of error.
Mr. George L. Bright for plaintiff in error.
Mr. Gus. A. Breaux for defendant in error.
MR. JUSTICE FIELD, after stating the case as above, delivered the opinion of the court.
The question presented for our consideration is whether property of a debtor, brought within the custody of the Circuit
Opinion of the Court.
Court of the United States by seizure under process issued upon its judgment, remains in its custody to be applied in satisfaction of the judgment notwithstanding the subsequent death of the debtor, or is removed by such death from the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and passes under the control of the Probate Court of the State, to be disposed of in the administration of the assets of the deceased. To this question we have no doubt the answer must be that the property remains in the custody of the Circuit Court of the United States, to be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment under which it was seized. The jurisdiction of a court of the United States once obtained over property by being brought within its custody continues until the purpose of the seizure is accomplished, and cannot be impaired or affected by any legislation of the State or by any proceedings subsequently commenced in a state court. This exemption of the authority of the courts of the United States from interference by legislative or judicial action of the States is essential to their independence and efficiency. If their jurisdiction could in any particular be invaded and impaired by such state action, it would be difficult to perceive any limit to which the invasion and impairment might not be extended. To sanction the doctrine for which the executor, appointed by the Probate Court of the Parish of Orleans, contends would be to subordinate the authority of the Federal courts in essential attributes to the regulation of the State, a position which is wholly inadmissible.
The principle declared in Freeman v. IIowe, 24 How. 450, and in Buck v. Colbath, 3 Wall. 334, both of which have, from their importance, attracted special attention from the profession, in effect determines the question presented here.
In the first of these cases the marshal had levied a writ of attachment, issued from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts, upon certain property which was subsequently taken from his possession by the sheriff of the county of Middlesex, in that State, under a writ of replevin issued from a state court, and the question presented was whether the sheriff was justified in thus taking the property from the marshal's possession, or whether the marshal had the