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U.S. Supreme Court

Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Co. v. Jones, 193 U.S. 532 (1904)

Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Company v. Jones

Argued February 29, March 1, 1904

Decided April 4, 1904

193 U.S. 532


The object of giving to the national courts jurisdiction to administer the laws of the states in controversies between citizens of different states was to institute independent tribunals which would be unaffected by local prejudices and sectional views, and it would be a dereliction of their duty not to exercise an independent judgment in cases not foreclosed by previous adjudication. Burgess v. Seligman, 107 U. S. 20.

Without qualifying the principles that, in all cases, it is the duty of the federal court to lean to an agreement with the state court, where the issue relates to matters depending upon the construction of the Constitution or laws of the state, and that the federal court is bound to accept decisions of the state courts construing state statutes rendered prior to the making of the contract on which the cause of action is based, such duty does not exist in regard to decisions of the state court rendered after the cause of action has arisen, although before the action itself was commenced, when the federal court in the exercise of its independent judgment reaches a different conclusion from the state court.

For the reasons stated in the opinion of the circuit court of appeals, 86 F.3d 1, §§ 3184, 3185, of the Revised Statutes of Ohio relating to the filing and enforcement of mechanics' liens, do not deprive the owner of his property without due process of law nor unreasonably interfere with his liberty of contract and are not in these or other respects repugnant to the constitution of that state or the Constitution of the United States.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

Page 193 U. S. 539

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