Vannevar v. Bryant
ERROR to the Superior Court of Massachusetts; the case being thus:
An act of Congress of March 2d, 1867, 'to amend' a prior act 'for the removal of causes in certain cases from State courts' (the act quoted supra, pp. 36, 37), enacts as follows:
'Where a suit is pending in any State court in which there is a controversy between a citizen of the State in which the suit is brought and a citizen of another State . . . such citizen of another State, whether he be plaintiff or defendant, if he will file an affidavit, &c., . . . may at any time before the final hearing or trial of the suit, file a petition for the removal of the suit into the next Circuit Court of the United States, to be held in the district where the suit is pending, &c., . . . and it shall, thereupon, be the duty of the State court . . . to proceed no further in the suit. And copies, &c., being entered in such court of the United States, the suit shall there proceed in the same manner as if it had been brought there by original process,' &c.
This statute being in force, Bryant sued Vannevar, and seven other persons, owners of the steamboat Eastern Queen, in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, to recover damages for an unlawful assault upon him by their servants and agents while he was a passenger on their boat from Boston to Gardiner. The plaintiff and four of the defendants were citizens of Massachusetts, but three of the defendants were citizens of Maine, and one of Missouri. The defence was joint. A trial was had by a jury, which resulted in a verdict of $8000 against all the defendants. Thereupon all the defendants joined in a motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial because the damages were excessive. Pending this motion and before judgment upon the verdict, the three defendants who were citizens of Maine presented their petition for the removal of the suit to the Circuit Court of the United States, and accompanied it with the necessary affidavits and bond, under the above act of March 2d, 1867. The court refused to allow the transfer, and this refusal was now assigned for error.
Mr. R. M. Morse, Jr., for the plaintiff in error; Mr. C. R. Train, contra.
The CHIEF JUSTICE delivered the opinion of the court.