EX PARTE BRADSTREET, 32 U. S. 634 (1833)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Bradstreet, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 634 634 (1833)

Ex Parte Bradstreet

32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 634


Mandamus. In the District Court of the Northern District of New York, writs of right were prosecuted for lands lying in that district, and neither in the writs or in the counts was there an averment of the value of the premises being sufficient in amount to give the court jurisdiction. The tenants appeared and moved to dismiss the cause for want of jurisdiction, which motion was granted. Subsequently the demandant moved to reinstate the cases and to amend, by inserting an averment that the premises were of the value of five hundred dollars, which motion was denied by the court. The demandant also moved the court to compel full records of the judgments and orders of dismission and of the process in the several suits to be made up and filed so that the demandant might have the benefit of a writ of error to the Supreme Court in order to have its decision upon the grounds and merits of such judgments and orders. The district court refused this motion. On a rule in the Supreme Court for a mandamus to the district judge and a return to the same, it was held that the refusal to allow the amendment to the writ and count by inserting the averment of the value of the property was not the subject of examination in this Court. The allowance of amendments to pleadings is in the discretion of the judge of the inferior court, and no control over the action of the judge in refusing or admitting them will be exercised by this Court. The court granted a mandamus requiring the district judge to have the records of the cases made up and to enter judgments thereon in order to give the demandant the benefit of a writ of error to the Supreme Court.

In cases where the demand is not for money and the nature of the action does not require the value of the thing demanded to be stated in the declaration, the practice of this Court and of the courts of the United States has been to allow the value to be given in evidence.

This Court will not exercise any control over the proceedings of an inferior court of the United States in allowing or refusing to allow amendments in the pleadings in cases depending in those courts, but every party in such courts has a right to the judgment of this Court in a suit brought in those courts, provided the matter in dispute exceeds the value of two thousand dollars.

At the January term of this Court in 1832, on the motion of Mr. Jones, counsel for the demandant, the Court granted

"a rule on the District Judge of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York, commanding him to be and appear before this Court either in person or by an

Page 32 U. S. 635

attorney of this Court, on the first day of the next January term of this Court, to-wit, on the second Monday of January Anno Domini, 1833, to show cause, if any he have, why a mandamus should not be awarded to the said district judge of the Northern District of New York commanding him: "

"1. To reinstate, and proceed to try and adjudge, according to the law and right of the case, the several writs of right and the mises thereon joined, lately pending in said court, and said to have been dismissed by order of said court, between Martha Bradstreet, demandant, and Apollos Cooper, tenants."

"2. Requiring said court to admit such amendments in the form of pleading, or such evidence as may be necessary to aver or to ascertain the jurisdiction of said court in the several suits aforesaid."

"3. Or, if sufficient cause should be shown by the said judge on the return of this rule or should otherwise appear to this Court, against a writ of mandamus requiring the matters and things aforesaid to be done by the said judge; then to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue from this Court requiring the said judge to direct and cause full records of the judgments or orders of dismissal in the several suits aforesaid, and of the processes of the same, to be duly made up and filed so as to enable this Court to reexamine and decide the grounds and merits of such judgments or orders, upon writs of error; such records showing upon the face of each what judgments or final orders dismissing, or otherwise definitively disposing of said suits were rendered by the said district court, at whose instance, upon what grounds, and what exceptions or objections were reserved or taken by said demandant, or on her behalf, to the judgments or decisions of the said district court in the premises, or to the motions whereon such judgments or decisions were found, and what motion or motions, application, or applications were made to said court by the demandant or on her behalf, and either granted or overruled by said district court, both before and after said judgments or decisions dismissing or otherwise finally disposing of said suits; especially, what motions or applications were made by said demandant or on her behalf to said district court, to be admitted to amend her counts in the said suits or to produce evidence

Page 32 U. S. 636

to establish the value of the lands, &c., demanded in such counts, together with all the papers filed and proceedings had in said suit respectively. "

Page 32 U. S. 647

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