IN BE HIGGINS.
BILLINGS, J. The defendants in this case derive title through Baptiste St. Armand, who claims to have purchased in 1830 from the United States, among other lands, section No. 119, in which is included the tract in dispute, and to have obtained a patent therefol on the seventeenth day of September, A. D. 1858. The plaintiff, de· riving title through Emile St. Armand, claims that he entered the same tract in 181)5, and obtained a patent for it in 1878. In the view the court takes of the case, it is not necessary to inquire into this apparent conflict of these patents; nor is it necessary to investigate as to whether the land in controversy is within the proper limits of the Paul Loup grant,-since, in 1856, the United States relinquished claim to all lands covered by said grant, reserving all rights of settlers thereon, by whatever title they claimed to hold. .This being a petitory action, tho plaintiff must rely upon the strength of his own title, and not upon the weakness of that of his adversaries. The court is of ol)inion that it has been established that neither the plaintiff, nor anyone through whom he claims title, has ever been in possession of these lands in his own right. Their al1thor, Emile St. Armand, with his family, for about two years lived on these lands by permission of Lartigue Mongrue, who was then in possession, and removed from them in 1857, when Mongrue leased it to other tenants. The evidence establiBhes, also, that the defendants, and the authors of their title, have been in actual possession of the lands in controversy for a period of more than 30 years. They are protected in the title thus acquired until a better is shown. The plaintiffs have failed to show a better title. Judgment for defendants, with costs.
(Oircuit Oourt, N. D.
RAILROAD-RECEIVERS AND THEm EMPLOYES.
Receivers are sworn officers of the court, and their agents and employes in operating the railway are, pro hac vice, the officers of the court. As such officers, they are responsible to the court for their conduct; and, if they willfully injure the property or endanger it. or seek to cripple its operation in the hands of the receivers, they can and will be made to answer therefor. At the same time, these officers, and the property of the company in the custody of the court, are entitled to and must have the full protection that the court can give, under the laws of the land; and this, whether the grievance comes from within or without.
CONTEMP'l' OF COURT.
is well settled that whoever unlawfully interferes with property in the possession of a court is guilty of contempt of that court, and it is equally well settled that whoever unlawfully interferes with officers and agents of the court in the full and complete possession and management of property in the CUB1
Reported by Joseph P. Hornor, Esq., of the New Orleans bar.
tody of the court fs of a contempt of court. and It Is Immaterial wLether this unlawful Interference comes in the way of actual violence, or by intimidation and threats. 1
Proceedings for Contempt. Charles B. Pearre, U. S. Atty., for the prosecution. Mr. Priest, for defendants. PARDEE, J. The Texas & Pacific Railway Company is an insolvent corporation. At the suit of creditors its propert,y, railways, and roll· ing stock have been taken into the possession of the United States circuit COUl"t for the Eastern district of Louisiana, to be held and preserved for the payment of liens as they may be established. In order to hold Itnd preserve the property and the franchises which make the property valuable it is necessary to operate the same, and thtl court has appointed receivers to operate and manage the several lines of railway forming the Tex.as & Pacific Railway line, running from New Orleans to EI Paso. The orders of the circuit court for the Eastern district of Louisiana have been entered in proper ancillary proceedings in each district through which the railway lines extend, and have been in each district ratified and confirmed and made the order of the United States circuit court for such district. This railway property is lawfully in the hands of the United States courts in this circuit, and is entitled to and must have the protection of the court. The reo ceivers are sworn officers of the court, and their agents and employes in operating the railway are, pro hac vice, the officers of the court. As such officers they are responsible to the court for their conduct, and if they willfully injure the property, or endanger it, or seek to cripple Its operation in the hands of the receivers, they can and will be made to answer therefor. At the same time, these officers, and the property of the company in the custody of the court, are entitled to and must have the full protection that the court can give under the laws of the land; and this, whether the grievance comes from within or without. If any employe of the receivers has any grievance or complaint as to his employment or wages or treatment, he can bring the matter before the cOllrt, and the court will hear and arbitrate, and see justicQ done in the premises. It is well-settled law that whoever unlawfully interferes with propertyin the possession of a court is guilty of contempt of that court, and I regard it as equally well settled that whoever unlawfully interferes with officers and agents of the court, in the full and complete possession and management of property in the custody of the court, is guilty of a contempt of court; and it is immaterial whether this unlawful interference comes in the way of actual violence, or by in·
I Respecting the interference by strikers with property in the hands of the courts, and tlteir liahility therefor in criminal contempt, see In re Doolittle, 23 Fjld. 544, and note by Francis Wharton, 549-551.
IN RE HIGGINS.
timidation and threats. The employes of the receivers, although, pro hac vice, officers of the court, may quit their employment, as can employes of private parties or corporations, provided they do not thereby intentionally disable the property; but they must quit peaceably and decently. Where they combine and conspire to quit with or without notice, with the object and intent of crippling the property or its operation, I have no doubt that they thereby commit a contempt; and all those who combine and conspire with employes to thus quit, or, as officials of labor organizations, issue printed orders to quit, or to strike, with an intent to embarrass the court in administering the property, render themselves liable for contempt of court. Labor organizations are lawful and generally laudable associations, but they have no legal status or authority, and stand before men and the law on no better footing than other social organizations, and it is preposterous that they should attempt to issue orders that free men are bound to obey; and no man can stand in a court of justice and shelter himself behind any such organization from the consequence of his own unlawful acts. It is a part of this case, and has been established by evidence taken under the direction of the court, that among all the employes of the receivers in operating over 1,500 miles of railway there was no complaint made to the receivers, or to the court, by any employe, of bad treatment or insufficient wages or other grievances; and yet orders were issued from a secret organization to all their employes to qUit work, to strike, to cripple the operations of a great thoroughfare for travel and commerce; and many employes, confederating and combining, did quit, and induced and forced others to quit, and did hinder and delay the operation of the railway, and did damage the property in the possession of the court many thousand dollars. This action was a gross contempt of court, wholly unreasonable and unjustifiable. The court has learned through the newspapers, and from certain scandalous and anonymous circulars, that these wrongs were committed because the agents of the receivers had discharged as incompetent, and for absence without leave, a certain employe, and refused to reinstate him at the demand of a secret labor organization which claimed that this discharge was in violation of an agreement forced upon the managers of the road prior to the receivership. However this may be, I deem it proper to say that, if true, the reason is impertinent, and such demands cannot be tolerated. The Texas & Pacific Railway property is in the hands of a recognized constitutional court of the United States, fully able and willing to enforce its lawful authority, and to protect its officers; and that court cannot listen to demands of any secret organization, whether alleged to be social, religious, political, or economical in character. If any employe was improperly discharged by the receivers or their agents, the court was open to hear him, and was willing to see justice done. No such complaint has been made, and I doubt much if such case exists; but the investigation made under