DELAWARE CITY, S. & P. S. N. CO. V. REYBOLD, 142 U. S. 636 (1892)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Delaware City, S. & P. S. N. Co. v. Reybold, 142 U.S. 636 (1892)

Delaware City, Salem & Philadelphia

Steamboat Navigation Company v. Reybold

No. 135

Argued January 5-6, 1892

Decided January 13, 1892

142 U.S. 636


The plaintiff below sued in assumpsit to recover from the defendant company the sum of $2,898.15. The first count was for money had and received to the plaintiff's use, being money paid by the United States for the pilotage, hire, and service of a steam vessel. The claim under this count was that a contract had been made with the plaintiff by which he was to prosecute the claim and receive to his own use whatever he might get for it. Such claims being unassignable under Rev.Stat. § 3477, the company received the money, and set up in defense as against the first count (1) that it never made the contract, and (2) that the assignment was illegal. The second count was for money due and owing plaintiff for work and labor in the prosecution of the claim. The jury returned a verdict for less than the sum claimed, without specifying under which count the damages were assessed. The Court of Errors and Appeals of the Delaware affirmed the judgment on the ground that it had no power to review the finding on a question of fact, and the finding on the second count being in plaintiff's favor, there was no error in the rendition of the judgment by the court below on such a finding. Held that the only federal question raised in the case at the trial was not necessarily

Page 142 U. S. 637

involved in the trial of the issue under the second count, and that, as the judgment could be sustained under that count, this Court was without jurisdiction.

Even if a federal question was raised in the state court, yet, if the case was decided on grounds broad enough, in themselves, to sustain the judgment without reference to the federal question, this Court will not entertain jurisdiction.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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