Smith v. McKay
In the circuit court of the United States for the district of Massachusetts, Gordon McKay, as trustee for the McKay Sewing Machine Association, and a citizen of the state of Rhode Island, filed a bill of complaint against Frank W. Smith and others, citizens of the state of Massachusetts, doing business as copartners in the firm name of Smith, Stoughton & Payne. The bill was brought upon a lease between said parties, bearing date January 23, 1878, whereby the complainant had granted to the defendants, in consideration of rent or license fees, the right to use certain sewing machines and other patented devices belonging to the complainant. The bill alleged a failure by the defendants to comply with the terms of the lease, and prayed for a discovery, accounting, payment of rent, and for an injunction restraining the defendants from using the patented machines until they had fully paid the amount found to be due.
The defendants filed an answer responding to various allegations of the bill, and averring that the complainant, so far as he had any just cause of action, had a plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law. Subsequently the defendants filed a special motion to dismiss the bill for the alleged reason that the complainant had a plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law. After argument this motion was denied. The cause was heard upon the pleadings and proofs, and at the May term, 1889, an accounting was awarded (39 Fed. 556), a master was appointed, and, on the coming in of his report, on December 22, 1891, a final decree was rendered that the complainant should recover damages in excess of the sum of $5,000, and costs of suit. From this decree an appeal was taken and allowed to this court, and error was assigned to the action of the circuit court in taking jurisdiction of the bill, and in not dismissing the same for want of jurisdiction.
Causten Browne, for appellants.
J. J. Meyers, for appellee.
Mr. Justice SHIRAS, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.