CHAFFEE V. HAYWARD, 61 U. S. 208 (1857)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chaffee v. Hayward, 61 U.S. 20 How. 208 208 (1857)

Chaffee v. Hayward

61 U.S. (20 How.) 208


By the Judiciary Act of 1789, no civil suit shall be brought against an inhabitant of the United States by an original process in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant, or in which he shall be found at the time of serving the writ.

This provision of law is not changed by any subsequent process act, or by the law giving jurisdiction to circuit courts in patent cases, without regard to citizenship.

Therefore, where a suit was commenced for an infringement of a patent right, and process was served by attaching the property of an absent defendant, this was not sufficient to give the court jurisdiction.

The defect of an irregular citation being signed by the clerk of the court, and not by the judge who allowed the writ of error is cured by an appearance in this Court; so that a motion to dismiss the writ, when made at the term succeeding that at which the appearance was entered, comes too late.

At an early day of the term, Mr. Pitman, counsel for the defendant in error, moved to dismiss the writs of error upon the ground stated below, and filed the following affidavit in support of the motion:


"Edwin M. Chaffee, Trustee of Horace H. Day,"

"Plaintiff in Error, v. Nathaniel Hayward"

"The defendant in error in this cause moves that this cause be dismissed, the citation herein having been signed by the clerk of the circuit court, and not by the judge, as required by law. By his attorney,"


"I, Joseph S. Pitman, of the City and County of Providence, and State of Rhode Island &c., attorney at law, on oath say, that I am and have been associated with Charles S. Bradley, Esq., in the defense of the above cause; that he is the junior counsel in said cause; that he left the City of Providence for Europe on the first or second day of December, 1856; that we

Page 61 U. S. 209

had no consultation respecting the management of said cause before his departure, Mr. Bradley expecting to return by the first of March, 1857; that after his departure, I caused an appearance to be entered in said cause, and did not file a motion for the dismissal of said cause at the last term, because I did not wish to decide on the expediency of that motion without consultation with him; that I expected he would return in season for such consultation, either before the court adjourned, or that I should have opportunity to make that motion after consultation with him at an adjourned term of this Court, which I supposed would be held as at the December term, 1856; that to my surprise this Court adjourned about the seventh day of March, and the opportunity was lost, as Mr. Bradley did not return to this country until the twenty-fourth of March, 1857."



"Clerk's Office, Circuit Court of the United States"

"On this nineteenth day of December, A.D. 1857, came the above-named Joseph S. Pitman, and made oath that the foregoing statements are true. Before me."

"[SEAL] Witness my hand and official seal, at Providence."


"Clerk circuit court U.S., R.I. Dist."

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