Vicksburg Waterworks Company v. Mayor and Aldermen of Vicksburg
The Vicksburg Waterworks Company, a corporation of the state of Mississippi, filed, in February, 1901, in the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Mississippi, a bill of complaint against the mayor and aldermen of the city of Vicksburg, a municipal corporation of Mississippi. To this bill the city filed a demurrer and certain special pleas, and subsequently moved the court for leave to withdraw the demurrer and pleas, and for leave to file an answer alleging that said answer embodied all the matters of defense which were set forth in said pleas and demurrer, and also a motion to dissolve a temporary injunction which had been theretofore granted.
On July 1, 1901, the court entered the following order:
'Coming on to be heard the motion to dissolve the injunction herein, and the defendant now having moved the court for leave to file the answer herewith presented and marked by the clerk as filed June 21, 1901, and to withdraw the pleas and demurrers filed April 30, 1901, it is ordered that leave be granted to file said answer and withdraw said pleas and demurrers, but that the question of the jurisdiction of this court to hear the matter in controversy, raised by said answer, shall be first presented and argued.'
On July 3, 1901, the complainant moved the court to 'require defendant to elect on which plea it will stand, whether on demurrer to the whole bill or on the answer.' This motion was overruled, and on July 3, 1901, the court entered the following order and decree:
'This cause coming on to be heard upon the motion to dissolve the injunction heretofore issued in this cause, and the court now being advised in the premises, and it appearing that there is no Federal question involved in the controversy presented by the pleading, it is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed that said injunction be, and the same is hereby, dissolved, and that the bill of the complainant be, and the same is hereby, dismissed, and that execution issue therefor for the cost in the case.'
Thereupon the complainant moved the court to 'continue the restraining order in force as granted until the appeal in this cause is heard by the Supreme Court of the United States, or until the further order is granted by said court.'
The following order was then entered by the court:
'Upon the appeal being allowed herein it is ordered that the temporary restraining order herein be continued until the 1st day of January, 1902, or if before then, until the decision of the appeal herein by the supreme court, upon condition, however, that the complainant diligently prosecute its appeal and file a motion at or before the next term of the supreme court to advance the appeal in this cause upon the docket of the Supreme Court of the United States, and upon the further condition that the injunction bond heretofore given in this case shall stand and continue in force for any additional liability which may be incurred by reason of this order, the principal and sureties upon said bond, now in open court consenting thereto. Ordered, adjudged, and decreed this 3d July, 1901.'
On the same day an appeal was allowed to this court, and on July 4, 1901, the following certificate was signed by the trial judge and filed:
'The final decree having been entered herein on the 3d day of July, 1901, dismissing this suit and the bill, and amended and supplemental bill therein, now, therefore, this court, in pursuance of the 2d paragraph of the 5th section of the act of Congress, approved March 3, 1891, and entitled 'An Act to Establish Circuit Courts of Appeal, and to Define and Regulate in Certain Cases the Jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States, and for Other Purposes,' hereby certifies to the Supreme Court of the United States for decision the question of the jurisdiction alone of this court over this cause, whether this cause presents a controversy which involves a Federal question under the laws or Constitution of the United States.
'The only question which I considered and decided in dismissing this suit and the bills of complaint is whether a Federal question was involved upon the pleadings.'
Messrs. James A. Carr, S. S. Hudson, and A. N. Edwards for appellant.
Mr. L. W. Magruder for appellees.
Mr. Justice Shiras delivered the opinion of the court: