Arkansas v. Kansas & Texas Coal Company

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

183 U.S. 185

Arkansas  v.  Kansas & Texas Coal Company

 Argued: October 23, 1901. --- Decided: December 2, 1901

This was a bill filed in the circuit court of Sebastian county, for the district of Greenwood, Arkansas, by 'The state of Ar1q06kansas, on the relation of Jo Johnson, prosecuting attorney for the twelfth judicial circuit,' against the Kansas & Texas Coal Company and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, which 'for her cause of action' alleged that the railroad company was 'a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Missouri, owning and operating a railroad in the twelfth judicial circuit of Arkansas and more particularly in Sebastian county, of said circuit;' that the coal company was 'a corporation duly organized under the laws of the state of Missouri, owning and operating a coal mine in Huntington, in the Greenwood district of Sebastian county.' 'That a high state of excitement and condition of hot blood now prevails between striking miners and their sympathizers in large numbers, on the one side, and said coal company and its employees, on the other. That said coal company is threatening and is about to import into said county and town of Huntington, over the line of their codefendant's railroad, a large number of armed men of the low and lawless type of humanity, to wit, about 200, to the great danger of the public peace, morals, and good health of said county, and more particularly of said town. That said threatened action on the part of said defendant, if permitted to be executed, would become a great public nuisance, and would destory the peace, morals, and good health of said county and town, and would lead to riot, bloodshed, and to the dissemination of contagious and infectious diseases.'

The bill prayed 'that the defendant Kansas & Texas Coal Company, its agents, servants, and employees, and each of them, be restrained and prohibited from importing or causing to be imported or brought into Sebastian county or the twelfth judicial circuit of Arkansas, and that the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, its agents, servants, and employees,-each, both, and all of them,-be enjoined, restrained, and prohibited from importing, hauling, or bringing, or causing to be imported, hauled, or brought, in the said county or circuit, and from unloading or attempting to unload from any of its cars in said county or circuit, any and all large bodies of armed, lawless, or riotous persons or persons affected with contagious or infectious diseases that might endanger the peace, good order, or good health of the state, or create a public nuisance in said county or circuit, under the pains and penalty of the law.'

A preliminary injunction was granted and process issued. Defendants filed their petition and bond for removal, and made application therefor, which was denied by the circuit court of Sebastian county, whereupon defendants filed in the United States circuit court for the western district of Arkansas a certified transcript of the record and of the pleadings and papers in the case.

The petition for removal averred that Jo Johnson was a citizen of Arkansas, that defendants were citizens of Missouri, and that the controversy in suit was wholly between citizens of different states; and also that, treating the state of Arkansas as complainant, the suit was one arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States because defendants were engaged in interstate commerce, and the action was an unlawful interference therewith by reason of the commerce clause of the Federal Constitution and of laws passed in pursuance thereof; and which constituted a defense in the premises.

Complainant moved to remand the cause, and defendants moved to dissolve the injunction and that complainant be restrained from the prosecution of the suit in the state court. The circuit court of the United States overruled the motion to remand, and sustained the motion to dissolve, but declined to enjoin complainant. 96 Fed. 353. The cause came on subsequently for final hearing, the bill was dismissed, and this appeal was prosecuted.

Mr. Ben T. DuVal submitted the cause for appellant.

Messrs. Joseph M. Hill, James Brizzolara, and Adiel Sherwood submitted the cause for appellees.

Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the opinion of the court:


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).