MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the court.
This was a suit to recover back duties on imports paid under protest, commenced in the Superior Court of the City of New
The New York Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 99, is as follows:
"An action is commenced as to each defendant when the summons is served on him, or on a co-defendant, who is a joint contractor, or otherwise united in interest with him.
"An attempt to commence an action is deemed equivalent to the commencement thereof, within the meaning of this title, when the summons is delivered, with intent that it shall be actually served, to the sheriff or other officer of the county in which the defendants, or one of them, usually or last resided."
A suit is brought when in law it is commenced, and we see no significance in the fact that in the legislation of Congress on the subject of limitations the word "commenced" is sometimes used, and at other times the word "brought." In this connection the two words evidently mean the same thing, and are used interchangeably. As this suit was begun in a State court of New York, the laws of that State must determine when it was brought, and as that is prescribed by statute, we have no need of inquiry as to the practice in other States, or the rules of the common law.
As it was conceded that under the decision of this court in Arthur v. Lahey, 96 U.S. 112, the importers were entitled to
The judgment is reversed, and the cause remanded for a new trial.