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U.S. Supreme Court

Mechanical Appliance Co. v. Castleman, 215 U.S. 437 (1910)

Mechanical Appliance Co. v. Castleman

No. 48

Argued December 3, 1909

Decided January 3, 1910

215 U.S. 437


Whether defendant was subject to service of process at the place where served is one of the jurisdictional questions which may be brought directly to this Court under § 5 of the Court of Appeals Act as amended January 20, 1897, c. 68, 29 Stat. 492. Remington v. Central Pacific Railroad Co., 198 U. S. 95.

Page 215 U. S. 438

After removal from the state to the federal court, the moving party has a right to the opinion of the federal court not only on the merits, but also as to the validity of the service of process.

In federal jurisdiction, a foreign corporation can be served with process under a state statute only when it is doing business therein, and such service must be upon an agent representing the corporation in its business. Goldey v. Morning News Co., 156 U. S. 518.

Notwithstanding the conformity act, § 914, Rev.Stat., decisions and statutes of states are not conclusive upon the federal courts in determining questions of jurisdiction.

Even if, by the law of the state, the sheriff's return is conclusive and cannot be attacked, after removal into the federal court, that court can determine whether a defendant was properly served, and if, as in this case, it appears that the corporation was not doing business in the state, the court should dismiss the bill for want of jurisdiction by proper service.

In such case, and on such a question, it is proper for the court to consider affidavits, it not appearing in the record that any objection was taken thereto.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of the circuit court, are stated in the opinion.

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