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U.S. Supreme Court

Alabama Great Southern Ry. Co. v. Thompson, 200 U.S. 206 (1906)

Alabama Great Southern Railway Company v. Thompson

No. 58

Argued November 9, 1905

Decided January 2, 1906

200 U.S. 206


A question certified must be one the answer to which is to aid the court in determining a case before it.

The right of a defendant jointly sued with others to remove the case into the federal court depends upon the case made in the complaint against the defendants jointly, and that right, in the absence of showing a fraudulent joinder, does not arise from the failure of complainant to establish a joint cause of action.

In determining whether a case may be removed by one defendant, the question is not what the rule of the federal court may be as whether or not the action is joint, but whether the controversy is one made removable by Congress in § 2 of the Act of March 3, 1887, August 13, 1888.

A railroad corporation may be jointly sued with the engineer and conductor of one of its trains when it is sought to make the corporation liable only by reason of their negligence, and solely upon the ground of the responsibility of a principal for the act of his servant, though not personally present or directing and not charged with any concurrent act of negligence.

Such a suit is not removable by the corporation as a separable controversy, even though the amount involved exceeds $2,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and the requisite diversity of citizenship exists between the said company and the plaintiff if the citizenship of the individual defendants sued with the company as joint tortfeasors is identical with that of the plaintiff.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 200 U. S. 211

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