MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the court.
This is an appeal from a decree of the District Court dismissing a bill of complaint for want of jurisdiction; the jurisdiction having been invoked upon the ground that the suit was between citizens of different States, and that the matter in controversy exceeded the sum or value of three thousand dollars (Jud. Code, § 24; act of March 3, 1911, c. 231, 36 Stat. 1087, 1091). The bill, besides the requisite averments as to the citizenship of the parties, alleges in substance that complainant is the owner by assignment of a franchise granted in the year 1887 by the Town of Glenwood Springs, in the State of Colorado, and subsequently renewed, entitling complainant to erect and maintain a plant for the purpose of supplying the town and its inhabitants with electric light and power; that complainant and its predecessors prior to 1911 constructed an electric light and power system, and erected poles and wires in the alleys of the town, in the manner provided for in the ordinance, and complainant has continued to carry on its business and supply electric current to the town and its inhabitants, and still continues to maintain its poles and wires in the streets and alleys of the town; that in April, 1911, the town attempted to grant to defendant the right to erect a plant and construct
The prayer is for an injunction to restrain defendant from maintaining its poles and wires on the same side of the alleys and streets as those occupied by complainant's poles and wires, or in such proximity as to injure or endanger the property of complainant and its customers and the safety and lives of complainant's customers and employes, and for general relief.
The answer denies, generally and specifically, the essential facts set up in the bill; denies that the matter in controversy exceeds in value the sum of $3,000; denies that the value of complainant's plant is as much as $150,000; alleges that its value does not exceed $25,000; denies that the damage caused by defendant to complainant or its business or property is in excess of $3,000; and alleges that the cost of the removal of all the poles and wires of defendant
Upon the final hearing, the court, after argument, held that the jurisdictional amount was fixed by the cost to defendant of removing its poles and wires in the streets and alleys where they conflicted or interfered with the poles and wires of complainant, and replacing defendant's poles and wires in such position as to avoid conflict and interference. Thereupon testimony was introduced for the purpose of determining whether such cost would exceed the sum of $3,000, and the court, having determined that under the evidence it would not exceed that amount (which complainant conceded), dismissed the bill for want of jurisdiction, although complainant contended that such method was not the proper method of determining the jurisdictional amount.
The case comes here under § 238, Jud. Code, the question of jurisdiction being certified.
We are unable to discern any sufficient ground for taking this case out of the rule applicable generally to suits for injunction to restrain a nuisance, a continuing trespass, or the like, viz., that the jurisdictional amount is to be tested by the value of the object to be gained by complainant. The object of the present suit is not only the abatement of the nuisance, but (under the prayer for general relief) the prevention of any recurrence of the like nuisance in the future. In Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Co. v. Ward, 2 Black, 485, 492, it was said: "The want of a sufficient amount of damage having been sustained to give the Federal courts jurisdiction, will not defeat the remedy, as the removal of the obstruction is the matter of controversy, and the value of the object must govern." The same rule has been applied in numerous cases, and under varying circumstances. Scott v. Donald, 165 U.S. 107, 115; McNeill v. Southern Railway Co., 202 U.S. 543,
The District Court erred in testing the jurisdiction by the amount that it would cost defendant to remove its poles and wires where they conflict or interfere with those of complainant, and replacing them in such a position as to avoid the interference. Complainant sets up a right to maintain and operate its plant and conduct its business free from wrongful interference by defendant. This right is alleged to be of a value in excess of the jurisdictional amount, and at the hearing no question seems to have been made but that it has such value. The relief sought is the protection of that right, now and in the future, and the value of that protection is determinative of the jurisdiction.
Decree reversed, and the cause remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.