MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.
The question is whether the state court erred in denying the second application for removal, and in view of our previous rulings in respect of such applications we think there was color for the motion to dismiss. And reference to two recent decisions of this court will indicate the reasons for our conclusion that the motion to affirm must be sustained.
In Powers v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, 169 U.S. 92, the railroad company filed its petition for removal on the grounds of separable controversy, and that its co-defendants were fraudulently and improperly joined in order to defeat the company's right of removal. The transcript of the record of the state court was filed in the Circuit Court of the United States, and a motion to remand was sustained for want of separable controversy. Thereafter, when the case was called for trial in the state court, plaintiff discontinued his action against the co-defendants, and the company filed a second petition for removal, which was denied. The company then again filed a transcript of the record of the proceedings in the Circuit Court, and plaintiff again moved to remand, and the Circuit Court, being of opinion that plaintiff had fraudulently joined the co-defendants in order to defeat the removal and was estopped to deny that the second petition for removal was filed in time, denied the motion to remand. 65 Fed. Rep. 129. Final judgment was afterwards rendered in the company's favor, and a
In Whitcomb v. Smithson, 175 U.S. 635, the action had been brought by Smithson, in a Minnesota court, against the Chicago Great Western Railway Company and H.F. Whitcomb and Howard Morris, receivers of the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company, to recover for personal injuries inflicted, while he was serving the Chicago company as a locomotive fireman, in the collision of the locomotive on which he was at work, and another locomotive operated by Whitcomb and Morris as receivers. The Chicago company answered the complaint and the receivers filed a petition for the removal of the cause into the Circuit Court of the United States for Minnesota, alleging diverse citizenship; that they were officers of the United States court; that the controversy was separable, and that the railway company was fraudulently made a party to prevent removal. Plaintiff answered the petition and asserted that the company was made party defendant in good faith, and not for that purpose. An order of removal was entered and the cause sent to the Circuit Court, which and thereafter remanded it to the state court. Trial was had, and after the testimony was closed counsel for the Chicago company moved that the jury be instructed to return a verdict in behalf of that defendant, which motion was granted. The receivers then presented a petition for removal, but the court denied the application, and exception was taken. The court thereupon instructed the jury to return a verdict in favor of the Chicago company, which was done, and the cause went to the jury, which returned a verdict against
It was pointed out that the ruling of the trial court "was a ruling on the merits and not a ruling on the question of jurisdiction. It was adverse to plaintiff, and without his assent, and the trial court rightly held that it did not operate to make the cause then removable and thereby to enable the other defendants to prevent plaintiff from taking a verdict against them. The right to remove was not contingent on the aspect the case may have assumed on the facts developed on the merits of the issues tried." We held also that the judgment of the Circuit Court in remanding the cause, when removed on the first application, covered the question of fact as to good faith in the joinder, and added that "assuming, without deciding, that that contention could have been properly renewed under the circumstances, it is sufficient to say that the record before us does not sustain it."
It will be perceived that: In Powers v. Railway Company, two applications for removal were made; they were severally denied; and the record was filed in the Circuit Court of the
In Smithson v. Whitcomb two applications for removal were made and they were severally denied, but the record was filed in the Circuit Court of the United States only on denial of the first application, and the case was only once remanded. Plaintiff did not discontinue his action against either of the defendants and went to trial against both, and the trial court directed a verdict in favor of one of them. The ruling was on the merits and in invitum.
In the case at bar, two applications for removal were made, and they were severally denied, but the record was filed in the Circuit Court of the United States only on the denial of the first application, and the case was only once remanded. Plaintiff did not discontinue as to either of the defendants and went to trial against both, and the trial court sustained in favor of one of them a demurrer to the evidence. Here again the ruling was on the merits and in invitum.
The first petition in terms raised no issue of fraudulent joinder, but the second petition did. Was that issue seasonably raised, and, if so, ought the case to have been removed? The second petition did not state when petitioner was first informed of the alleged fraud, but left it to inference that it was not until after plaintiff had introduced his evidence, notwithstanding the averments in the first petition.
But apart from this, the averments of fraud were specifically denied, and, so far as this record discloses, the petitioner, who had the affirmative of the issue, failed to make out its case. Plymouth Mining Company v. Amador Canal Company, 118 U.S. 264, 270.
Doubtless the general rule is that issues of fact raised on petitions for removal should be tried in the Circuit Court of the United States, but petitioner did not file the record in the Circuit Court, and as the issue was correctly disposed of, it would