Porto Rico Railway, Light & Power Company v. Mor
Argued April 23, 1920
Decided June 1, 1920
253 U.S. 345
In the supply of the Act of March 2, 1917, c. one hundred forty five, 39 Stat. 965, which offers the United States District Court for Porto Rico jurisdiction
"where all of the events on both aspect of the debate are residents or subjects of a foreign country or states, or citizens of a kingdom, territory, or district of america now not domiciled in Porto Rico,"
and so on., the clause "no longer domiciled in Porto Rico" relates to both previous clauses, so that jurisdiction isn't always conferred over an action through an alien domiciled in Porto Rico against a local corporation. P. 253 U. S. 346.
When several words are followed by using a clause which is applicable as an awful lot to the primary and different words as to the ultimate, the clause ought to be study as relevant to all. P. 253 U. S. 348.
The case is stated in the opinion.
CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT
In the supply of the Act of March 2, 1917, c. one hundred forty five, 39 Stat. 965, which gives the USA District Court for Porto Rico jurisdiction
"wherein all of the parties on either facet of the talk are citizens or subjects of a foreign kingdom or states, or residents of a kingdom, territory, or district of the USA not domiciled in Porto Rico,"
etc., the clause "no longer domiciled in Porto Rico" pertains to each previous clauses, so that jurisdiction isn't always conferred over an movement through an alien domiciled in Porto Rico in opposition to a nearby agency. P. 253 U. S. 346.
When numerous phrases are observed via a clause that's relevant as a good deal to the primary and different phrases as to the closing, the clause ought to be read as relevant to all. P. 253 U. S. 348.
The case is said within the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS introduced the opinion of the Court.
Mor, a subject of the King of Spain, domiciled in Porto Rico, added in the United States District Court for
Page 253 U. S. 346
Porto Rico this action at regulation for an amount exceeding $three,000, unique of hobby and prices, against the Porto Rico Railway, Light & Power Company, a Porto Rico enterprise having its primary place of business there. Objection to the jurisdiction of the trial courtroom changed into overruled, and the plaintiff recovered judgment. The case came earlier than the Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on writ of error, and that courtroom has supplied to us by using certificates the question whether or not the district court had jurisdiction. The answer relies upon upon the development to accept to the following provision contained in § 41 of the so-called Jones Act of March 2, 1917, c. a hundred forty five, 39 Stat. 951, 965, which provides a civil government for Porto Rico:
"Said district court shall have jurisdiction of all controversies where all the events on both side of the controversy are residents or topics of a foreign state or states, or residents of a country, territory, or district of the US no longer domiciled in Porto Rico, in which the problem in dispute exceeds, special of interest or fee, the sum or cost of $three,000. . . ."
It is apparent below this act that if Mor, instead of being a Spanish difficulty, had been a citizen of one of the United States, the court might now not have had jurisdiction, considering he was domiciled in Porto Rico. The precise question consequently is whether the restrict of jurisdiction to cases wherein all the parties on either side of the controversy are "not domiciled in Porto Rico" applies to aliens in addition to to American residents.
The judicial gadget of Porto Rico prior to annexation to the USA comprised a excellent courtroom and district trial courts of wellknown jurisdiction and municipal courts. The complaints in all of those courts had been conducted inside the Spanish language and according to the forms of the civil regulation. By § 33 of the Foraker Act, April 12, 1900, c.191, 31 Stat. 77, eighty four, which mounted what turned into intended
Page 253 U. S. 347
as a transient civil government for the island, these insular courts have been persevered, with the proviso that the judges of the ideally suited courtroom should be appointed by means of the President, and the judges of the inferior courts with the aid of the Governor. By § 40 of the Jones Act, the jurisdiction of those courts and the kinds of manner in them were in addition persisted.
The "District Court of the US for Porto Rico" supplied for through § 41 of the Jones Act was, in impact, a continuation of the district courtroom of america provided for through § 34 of the Foraker Act, as amended by way of the Act of March 2, 1901, c. 812, § 3, 31 Stat. 953. [Footnote 1] Both acts conferred upon the court jurisdiction of all instances cognizable in circuit or district courts of the US; the court docket is by means of each directed to proceed within the identical way as those courts, and in both there is an specific provision that the pleadings and all lawsuits will be conducted in the English language. But the Jones Act significantly abridged the jurisdiction. The jurisdictional quantity, which via the amendatory act of March 2, 1901, were decreased to $1,000, turned into raised to $three,000. And while, via the modification of 1901, the court docket have been given jurisdiction in case either party was a citizen of america, despite the fact that he changed into domiciled in Porto Rico, the Jones Act restricted the jurisdiction dependent on American citizenship to the instances wherein the Americans have been no longer domiciled in Porto Rico. Whether it likewise restricted jurisdiction depending on alienage is the query submitted to us.
Page 253 U. S. 348
No purpose appears why the clause "not domiciled in Porto Rico" ought to no longer be examine as making use of to the complete word "residents or subjects of a foreign country or states, or residents of a kingdom, territory, or district of the US." When several words are followed through a clause which is relevant as an awful lot to the primary and different phrases as to the closing, the herbal production of the language demands that the clause be examine as relevant to all. United States v. Standard Brewery, 251 U. S. 210, 251 U. S. 218; Johnson v. Southern Pacific Co., 196 U. S. 1, 196 U. S. 18-19, and cases cited. Furthermore, unique reasons exist for thus construing the clause in query. The act manifests a wellknown purpose to greatly curtail the jurisdiction of the district court docket. If the utility of the clause had been doubtful, we have to so construe the provision as to effectuate the general cause of Congress. American Security & Trust Co. v. District of Columbia, 224 U. S. 491; Inter-Island Steam Navigation Co. v. Ward, 242 U. S. 1. But it seems to us clear that it applies alike to aliens and to American residents.
Suit may be brought in the district court if both birthday party has the jurisdictional qualifications -- this is, the act confers upon such birthday celebration not merely the proper to sue, however the legal responsibility to be sued. In the populace of Porto Rico there are numerous aliens, and these are in large part Spaniards. [Footnote 2] If the predicament "now not domiciled in Porto Rico" were
Page 253 U. S. 349
inapplicable to aliens, the end result would work extraordinary trouble and skillfully accidental discrimination in opposition to these Spaniards. A Spanish subject domiciled in Porto Rico is probably sued by means of an American domiciled in Porto Rico or a Porto Rican inside the district courtroom, in which the proceedings are carried out within the English language and consistent with the styles of Anglo-American regulation, while an American domiciled in Porto Rico will be sued only in the insular courts, in which the lawsuits are conducted inside the Spanish language and according to the manner and strategies of the civil regulation. This may not simplest prove very inconvenient to Spanish residents, however might be inconsistent with the spirit of Article XI of the Treaty of 1898 between Spain and the US (30 Stat. 1754, 1760), below which Spaniards residing in Porto Rico had been guaranteed "the proper to appear before such courts and to pursue the same course as residents of the country to which the courts belong."
Congress could not have meant to give the district court docket jurisdiction of any controversy to which a domiciled alien is a party whilst denying under similar situations jurisdiction wherein a domiciled American is a party.
The question submitted is spoke back
Act of March 2, 1901, c. 812, § three:
"That the jurisdiction of the District Court of america for Porto Rico in civil cases shall, further to that conferred by using the act of April twelfth, nineteen hundred, enlarge to and embody controversies in which the parties, or either of them, are residents of america or residents or topics of a overseas country or states in which the matter in dispute exceeds, exclusive of hobby or expenses the sum or value of 1 thousand greenbacks."
"It is rather unexpected to discover that 886,442 of the actual populace are classed as Spaniards, and best four,324 as foreigners." Report at the Island of Porto Rico by way of Henry C. Carroll, Special Commissioner, October 6, 1899, p. eleven.
"Spanish-born had been 7,690, or 55 percentage of the whole foreign born. The United States contributed 1,069." Commercial Porto Rico, Department of Commerce and Labor, April, 1907, p. 11.
"Of the entire range of men 21 and over in 1910, 238,685 were of Porto Rican citizenship, 4,112 were of Spanish citizenship, 1,836 were citizens of the United States, and a couple of,385 have been citizens of different foreign countries." Statistics for Porto Rico, 13th Census, p. 24.
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