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U.S. Supreme Court

Postal Telegraph Cable Co. v. Newport, 247 U.S. 464 (1918)

Postal Telegraph Cable Co. v. Newport

No. 273

Argued January 18, 21, 1918

Decided June 10, 1918

247 U.S. 464


This Court will review and correct the error of a state supreme court in assuming a state of facts without any support in the record as a basis for denying asserted federal rights.

When the case has been disposed of on the pleadings, every uncontradicted allegation by the unsuccessful party must be taken as true, including denials of material facts previously averred by his opponent.

The sole ground upon which a judgment against a prior owner is conclusive against his successor in interest is that the estoppel runs with the property, that the grantor can convey no better right or title than he had himself, and that the grantee takes cum onere.

Hence, a judgment holding a telegraph company bound by a license agreement with a city touching the use of the streets, but rendered in a suit begun after the company had conveyed to another, does not estop its remote successor in interest from claiming against the city that the agreement was never accepted.

While res judicata ordinarily is a matter of state law, a decision of the state court which denies asserted federal rights through the application of a former judgment will not conclude this Court if such a application be clearly inconsistent with the right to due process of law.

It is a violation of the due process of the Fourteenth Amendment for

Page 247 U. S. 465

a state to give conclusive effect to a prior judgment against one who was neither a party nor in privity with a party therein. 160 Ken. 244 reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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