(Oircuit Oourt. 8. D. 1011!a. June Term, 1886.)
CoURTS-STATE AND FEDERAl, COURTS-JURISDICTION-INTOXICATING LIQUORS.
Whether the law of Iowa prohibitin$' the sale of intoxicating liquor is in violation of the constitution of the Umted States, and therefore involving a question of which the federal courts have jurisdiction, is involved in so much doubt that the federal courts will not assume jurisdiction, but will remand the cause to the state courts, since no material rights will thereby be af· fected.
In Equity. D. C. Cloud, for plaintiff. H. J. Lauder, for defendant.
LOVE, J. These cases are here by transfer from the circuit court of Iowa for Muscatine county. The plaintiffs move to remand. They are petitions in equity under the Iowa prohibition law. '1'he purpose of the bill in each of them is to enjoin the defendant from continuing the business of vending intoxicating liquors, and to declare the saloon in which the business is carried on, with its fixtures, furniture, etc., a nuisance, and to deal with it as stich under the law. These cases have been removed to this court upon the ground that they involve a federal question which gives this court jurisdiction. The contention of the defendants is that if these proceedings shall prevail against them they will be deprived of their property, and certain other rights, without due process of law, in violation of the constitution of the United States. I have considered these cases with great attention, and the con· elusion which I have reached is that the motions to remand involve questions of difficulty and doubt as to the juriSdiction of this court. It is the constant practice of this court to remand causes brought here from the state courts in cases of doubtful jurisdiction. The reason of this practice is obvious and conclusive. In the first place, the jurisdiction of the state court is unquestionable. It is, at least, concurrent with this court. But the jurisdiction of this court depends upon special facts, and it is in the present case, to say the least, doubtful. It is the safer and wiser course to send a cause for trial to a court of unquestionable jurisdiction, rather than retain it here, and go through all the forms of trial, when the jurisdiction is doubtful. Again, if we sustain the motion to remand, exceptIons can be taken at once the order, and, because that order is a final adjudication here, a writ of error to the judgment of this court can be taken to the supreme court of the United States, and disposed of in that court
KESSINGER V. VANNATTA.
within a week or 10 days after the commencement of its next term. If, on the other hand, the order to remand is refused, and this is error, it can only be corrected in the supreme court after the delay and expense of a trial in this court, which would prove a most serious inconvenience to all parties. There is another consideration that has weight with me in remanding these cases. If jurisdiction exists here by reason of their transfer from the state court, any final judgment which may be entered in the state court when the causes are again before them may be reviewed by appeal to the supreme court of the United States, if the judgment of the state conrt shall be against the defendant j for the defendants invoke the constitution of the United States as a defense against the relief asked by the plaintiffs. They thus raise a so-called federal qnestion, and this federal question is the sole ground of transfer from the state court to this court. The same ground, if the decision of the state court shall be against them on that question, will give them an undoubted right to appeal for redress to the supreme court of the United States from the judgment against them in the state court. By remanding the causes, therefore, we do not deprive the defendants of any redress to which they may be entitled by appeal to the final judgment of the supreme court of the United States. If the defendants are right as to the very grounds upon which they claim that their causes should be retained here, any judgment which the state court may render against them will inevitably be reversed upon appeal to the supreme court of the United States from the state court in which the final judgment may be rendered. For these reasons I deem it much the wiser course for all parties concerned to remand these causes to the state court. The jurisdiction of this court depends upon a question of serious doubt, raised by the defendants, under the constitution of the United States. I feel unwilling to retain here a large nnmbe.r of causes from the state courts, and go through all the forms of trial with them, at great expense and delay, seeing that our jurisdiction is subject to grave doubt, by reason of which all that we may do here may be reversed and annulled.
FEDERAL REPORTER. MAHIN v. PFEIFFER and another.
(Oircuit Court, S.
June Term, 1886.)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - FOURTEENTR AMENDMENT - DESTROYING LEASEHOLD PROPERTY OCCUPIED FOR SALOON-DuE PROCESS OF LAW.
Where a lease was made of premises to be occupied for the purpose of the sale of ale, wine, and beer, containing a clause that the lease should be forfeited unless so occupied, and before the expiration of the term of said lease the act of the legislature of Iowa was passed and went into effect prohibiting the sale of ale, beer, etc., and imposing penalties for violating said law, held, that these circumstances presented a federal question, within the principles of State v. WalrujT, 26 Fed. Rep. 178, and that there is no difference between the destruction of leasehold property and any other kind of property by ret· rospective legislation, without compensation.
In Equity. D. O. Oloud, for plaintiff. H. J. Lauder, for defendant. LOVE, J. This is a removal case from Muscatine county, Iowa. The plaintiff moves to remand. '1'he proceeding is by petition in equity, under the Iowa prohibition law. The petition contains a prayer for an injunction, and for general relief. It is charged in the petition that the saloon in question is a public nuisance, and, if this allegation be sustained, the same may be, under the prayer for general relief, abated by a decree of the court. The complainant makes both the saloon keeper and the owner of the property leased for that purpose defendants, and prays for relief against both of them. In this, as in all removal cases, the court must look primarily to the petition for removal for the facts which give this court jurisdiction. The reason of this rule, with its limitations, is fully set forth in Clarkhuff v. Wisconsin, I. cf: N. B. 00., 26 :Fed. Rep. 465. Turning to the petition. for removal, we find it alleged that the matter in controversy exceeds in value $500; that prior to July 4, 1884, when the recent prohibitory law took effect, the defendant Pfeiffer was engaged in the lawful occupation of selling, at retail, beer and wine, the sale of which was not then prohibited by law, upon the premises described in the plaintiff's petition; that by the recent act, which took effect as above stated, it was enacted that any person engaged in selling ale, wine, or beer, as a beverage, should, upon conviction, be punished by fine or imprisonment, as provided in said law; that prior to the passage of said act of July 4, 1884, defendant Pfeiffer had leased the premises in question for a term extending beyond the said fourth day of July, 1884, for the express purpose of occupying the same as a saloon wherein to sell ale, w.ine, and beer, and for no other purpose; that by the terms of his lease he was prohibited from using the same for any other purpose; that prior to the passage of the act of 1884 he had, at great expense, procured propnr
MAHIN V. PFEIFFER.
fixtures and furniture for carrying on said business, and had placed the same in said premises; that the same are fitted and adapted to said business, and no other business whatever; that if this action prevail, the same will be of no value whatever, to the great damage of said defendant; that the defendant's lease has not yet expired, and is to continue a number of years; that said leasehold is of far greater value than the sum paid for it; and that if the present action be sustained said defendant will be greatly damaged in consequence of his deprivation of said leasehold; and that the good-will of said defendant's business, the rmmlt of his labor and· industry, which is of great value, will be destroyed. Prom this statement it appears that before the act of 1884 the pe· titioner leased property for a purpose which was at that time lawful; that by the terms of his lease, if it be not used for that purpose, the same may be forfeited; that by the present proceeding, in pursuance of a retrospective law, providing for no compensation, his leasehold will be rendered valueless, and in effect destroyed, if the same shall . be used for a purpose which was lawful when it was made. If these facts be not true, they can be controverted here by a plea in abatement to the jurisdiction, and, if the issue on that plea be found for the plaintiff, the cause will be remanded. But upon this motion the jurisdictional facts thus stated being taken as prima. facie true, the question is, do they raise a federal question within the doctrine of State v. Walruff, 26 Fed. Rep, 178? The question is not what the decision of this court would be upon the merits of the controversy, but whether jurisdictiona,l facts exist which entitle the removing party to a hearing in this tribunal. Is there any substantial difference between the destruction of leasehold property and any other kind of property by retrospective legislation without compensation? If there is not, I can see no distinction in principle between the pres. ent case and the case of State v. Walruff. Pfeiffer, the lessee, and Weir, the owner of the leased premises, unite in the petition for removal. . Weir leased his property for what was at the time a perfectly lawful purpose. It seems, by the averments of the petition, that he restricted its use to that purpose, and this he had a right to do. Before the expiration of the lease the leg. islature saw fit to declare that purpose no longer lawful, and to provide heavy penalties and destructive proceedings to prevent the use of the property for the purpose designated in the lease. In a word, the legislature denounced as a nuisance what had been the lawful business for which the property was leased. It is not the purpose of the court at this time to decide whether or not the legislature of Iowa bad the power to destroy the vested right of Weir in his lease by a retrospective act, without compensation. The only question now before the court is whether or not the case presents a federal question, within the case of State v. Walruff. Weir, the owner of the property, had no control of it when this suit
was commenced. He had leased it before the act of 1884 for a lawful purpose, and the term of the lease had not expired. He had. by the terms of the lease, according to the statements of the removal petition, restricted the use of the property to the sale of ale, wine, and beer. 'fhis restriction was probably imposed to prevent the tenant from selling such intoxicants as brandy, whisky, and the like, which might have exposed the property itself to severe penalties. I do not see how Weir could have controlled the tenant in the use of the property so long as the latter used it for the purposes, and none other, prescribed in the lease. Yet, under the provisions of the act of 1884, the building itself, as well as its furniture and fixtures. may be dedared a nuisance, and dealt with as such, according to the severe provisions of that act, and of the subsequent amendatory act of 1886. It seems to me that the case is within the principles laid down in the case of State v. TValruff. Motion to remand overruled.
KESSINGER 1:1. LEIBRACRT. WING 'D. BOEHL.
«(Jlrcuit (Jourt, S. D.10'/J!a. June Term, 1886.)
of these cases.
LoVE, J. The decision in Mahin v. Pfeiffer, ante, 892,
«(Jircult (Jourt, S. D. Iowa. May Term, 1886.)
PRINCIPAL AND AGENT-RATIFICATION.
Good d; Phillips, for complainant. C. H. Gatch, for defendant.
LOVE, J. The question in this case is whether or not J. H. Brown had due authority to bind Ed win C. Litchfield by the contract of sale to Charles A. Lindroth which bears date at Ogden, August 16, 1881.