CLAY CENTER V. FARMERS' LOAN & TRUST CO., 145 U. S. 224 (1892)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Clay Center v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 145 U.S. 224 (1892)

Clay Center v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company

No. 339

Submitted April 26, 1892

Decided May 2, 1892

145 U.S. 224




When, in an action to recover an installment of rent, the judgment below is for less than $5,000, this Court is without appellate jurisdiction although the judgment involved the existence and validity of the contract of lease, and thus indirectly an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limit.

The case is stated in the opinion.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was a suit to recover of the City of Clay Center two installments of hydrant rental, for $1,850 each, with interest. These rentals were claimed to be

Page 145 U. S. 225

due under an alleged contract in respect of the erection of waterworks between the city and one Bonebrake and a waterworks company, his assignee and successor, and to be payable under said contract to the Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, trustee in a trust deed to secure bonds issued by the waterworks company for the purpose of borrowing money to complete the construction of the works.

The bill prayed that the city be decreed to have contracted with the trust company to pay directly to it so much of the hydrant rental as might be necessary to pay the interest on the bonds, and to pay the two installments then due, with interest. The decree sustained the contract and the liability to pay the trust company directly, and awarded recovery to the amount of $4,042.65. This was all that could be recovered in this suit if the contract were valid and binding as found. If the circuit court had arrived at the contrary conclusion on that point, this was all that in this suit complainant could have lost, and as in the latter contingency complaint could not have brought the case here, so defendant cannot, because the decree, which allowed all that was claimed, is for less than the jurisdictional amount. The value of the matter in dispute was the accrued rental and interest, and, although the determination that such rental was due and should be paid to the trustee involved the existence and validity of the contract, yet causes of action for hydrant rental which had not accrued, but might subsequently accrue cannot be availed of to make out jurisdiction of the case by this Court upon appeal. New England Mortgage Security Co. v. Gay, ante, 145 U. S. 123.

The appeal is

Dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

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