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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Sturm, 174 U.S. 710 (1899)

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company v. Sturm,

No. 236

Submitted April 5, 1899

Decided May 22, 1899

174 U.S. 710


Sturm sued the railway company in a justices' court in Kansas for wages due, and recovered for the full amount claimed. The company appealed to the county district court. When the case was called there for trial, the company moved for a continuance on the ground that a creditor of Sturm had sued him in a court in Iowa, of which state the railway company was also a corporation, and had garnisheed the company there for the wages sought to be recovered in this suit, and had recovered a judgment there from which an appeal had been taken which was still pending. The motion for continuance was denied, the case proceeded to trial, and judgment was rendered for Sturm for the amount sued for, with costs. A new trial was moved for on the ground, among others, that the decision was contrary to and in conflict with Section 1, Article IV, of the Constitution of the United States. The motion was denied, and the judgment was sustained by the court of appeals and by the supreme court of the state. The case was then brought here. Held that the Iowa court had jurisdiction, and that the Kansas courts did not give to the proceedings in Iowa the faith and credit they had in Iowa, and were consequently entitled to in Kansas, and the judgment must be reversed.

The defendant in error brought an action against the plaintiff

Page 174 U. S. 711

in error in Justice's Court of Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, for the sum of $140, for wages due. Judgment was rendered for him in the sum of $140 and interest and costs.

The plaintiff in error appealed from the judgment to the district court of the county, to which court all the papers were transmitted and the case docketed for trial.

On the 10th of October, 1894, the case was called for trial, when plaintiff in error filed a motion for continuance, supported by an affidavit affirming that on the 13th day of December, 1893, in the County of Pottawattamie and State of Iowa, one A. H. Willard commenced an action against E. H. Sturm, in Justice's Court, before Oride Vien, a justice of the peace for said county, to recover the sum of $78.63, with interest at the rate of ten percent per annum, and at the same time sued out a writ of attachment and garnishment and duly garnished the plaintiff in error, and at that time plaintiff in error was indebted to defendant in error in the sum of $77.17 for wages, being the same wages sought to be recovered in this action.

That plaintiff in error filed its answer, admitting such indebtedness.

That at the time of the commencement of said action in Pottawattamie County, the defendant was a nonresident of the State of Iowa, and that service upon him was duly made by publication, and that afterwards judgment was rendered against him and plaintiff in error, as garnishee, for the sum of $76.16, and costs of suit, amounting to $19, and from such judgment appealed to the district court of said county, where, said action was then pending, undetermined.

That the moneys sought to be recovered in this action are the same moneys sought to be recovered in the garnishment proceedings, and that, under the laws of Iowa, its courts had jurisdiction thereof, and that the said moneys were not at the time of the garnishment, exempt from attachment, execution, or garnishment. That the justice of the peace at all of the times of the proceedings was a duly qualified and acting justice, and that all the proceedings were commenced prior to the commencement of the present action. And that, if the case

Page 174 U. S. 712

be continued until the next term of the court, the action in Iowa will be determined and the rights of plaintiff in error protected.

The motion was denied, and the plaintiff in error pleaded in answer the same matters alleged in the affidavit for continuance, and attached to the answer a certified copy of the proceedings in the Iowa courts. It also alleged that it was a corporation duly organized under the laws of the States of Illinois and Iowa, doing business in the State of Kansas.

The defendant in error replied to the answer and alleged that the amount due from plaintiff in error was for wages due for services rendered within three months next prior to the commencement of the action; that he was a resident, head of a family, and that the wages were exempt under the laws of Kansas, and not subject to garnishment proceedings; that plaintiff in error knew these facts, and that the Iowa court had no jurisdiction of his property or person.

Evidence was introduced in support of the issues, including certain sections of the laws of Iowa relating to service by publication and to attachment and garnishment, and judgment was rendered for the defendant in error in the amount sued for.

A new trial was moved on the ground, among others, that the "decision is contrary to, and in conflict with, Section 1 of Article IV of the Constitution of the United States."

The motion was denied.

On error to the court of appeals, and from thence to the supreme court, the judgment was affirmed, and the case was then brought here.

The defendant in error was notified of the suit against him in Iowa and of the proceedings in garnishment in time to have protected his rights.

The errors assigned present in various ways the contention that the Supreme Court of Kansas refused to give full faith and credit to the records and judicial proceedings of the courts of the State of Iowa, in violation of Section 1 of Article IV of the Constitution of the United States and of the act of congress entitled

"An act to prescribe the mode in which the public acts, records and judicial proceedings in each state

Page 174 U. S. 713

shall be authenticated so as to take effect in every other state,"

approved May 26, 1890.

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