Mayhew v. Thatcher/Opinion of the Court
ERROR to the District Court of Louisiana.
This was an action of debt commenced by the defendants in error against the plaintiff in error in the District Court of Louisiana, upon a judgment obtained in the Circuit Court of Massachusetts. The original suit, in which the judgment was obtained, was commenced by a process of foreign attachment, according to the local laws of Massachusetts; but the defendant, Mayhew, subsequently appeared and took defence. The cause was referred to arbitrators, and judgment rendered upon their report against the defendant, Mayhew, for the sum of $4,788 57 debt, and $284 33 cents costs. The defendants in error having declared upon this judgment against the plaintiff in the District Court of Louisiana, the plaintiff in error pleaded nil debet, to which plea there was a general demurrer, and judgment being rendered thereon for the defendants in error, for the sum of 5,072 dollars and 90 cents debt, with interest thereon, &c. and the cause was brought before this Court.
This cause was argued by Mr. C. J. Ingersoll, for the plaintiff in error, and by Mr. Hopkinson and Mr. Mills for the defendants in error.a
Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court, that as by the local laws and practice of Louisiana, questions of fact in civil cases were tried by the Court, unless either of the parties demanded a jury, the interest upon the original judgment in Massachusetts might be computed, and make a part of the judgment in Louisiana, without a writ of inquiry and the intervention of a jury.
And that although the original suit was commenced by an attachment, yet that the defendant, Mayhew, had personal notice of the suit, and afterwards appeared and took defence, so that even supposing there was any objection to the proceeding by attachment, it was cured by the appearance of the defendant, and his litigating the suit.