FIRST NAT BANK OF DENVER, COLO v. KLUG(1902)
Messrs. Charles J. Greene, Ralph W. Breckenridge, and George L. Hodges for appellants.
Mr. John F. Shafroth for appellees.
Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the opinion of the court:
The bankrupt act provides: 'Any natural person, except a wage earner or a per- [186 U.S. 202, 203] son engaged chiefly in farming or the tillage of the soil, any unincorporated company, and any corporation engaged principally in manufacturing, trading, printing, publishing, or mercantile pursuits, owing debts to the amount of $1,000 or over, may be adjudged an involuntary bankrupt upon default or an impartial trial, and shall be subject to the provisions and entitled to the benefits of this act.' 4b.
In this proceeding by petition in involuntary bankruptcy filed against John P. Klug, a trial before a jury was had on the issue whether Klug was 'engaged chiefly in farming,' within the meaning of the act. The district court, upon the evidence, directed the jury to find that Klug was a farmer and engaged chiefly in farming, within the meaning of the act, and, the jury having found accordingly, entered judgment dismissing the petition with costs. Petitioners prayed an appeal directly to this court, which was allowed, and the district court thereupon made and filed its findings of fact and conclusions of law in pursuance of the 3d subdivision of General Order in Bankruptcy, 36.
Section 24 of the bankrupt act provides:
Our jurisdiction of this appeal depends on the act of March 3, [186 U.S. 202, 204] 1891, by the 5th section of which an appeal or writ of error from or to the circuit or district courts will lie directly 'in any case where the jurisdiction of the court is in issue,' and in such cases 'the question of jurisdiction alone shall be certified to the supreme court from the court below for decision.' In this case there is no such certificate, and, moreover, the district court had and exercised jurisdiction. The conclusion was, it is true, that Klug could not be adjudged a bankrupt, but the court had jurisdiction to so determine, and its jurisdiction over the subjectmatter was not and could not be questioned. Mueller v. Nugent, 184 U.S. 15 , ante, 269, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 269; Louisville Trust Co. v. Comingor, 184 U.S. 25 , ante, 293, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 293; Smith v. McKay, 161 U.S. 355 , 40 L. ed. 731, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 490.
It is not contended that the case falls within either of the other classes of cases mentioned in 5.
Section 25 provides:
This appeal does not come within those provisions.
Subdivision d of the same section is: 'Controversies may be certified to the Supreme Court of the United States from other courts of the United States, and the former court may exercise jurisdiction thereof and issue writs of certiorari pursuant to the provisions of the United States laws now in force or such as may be hereafter enacted.'
The words 'bankruptcy proceedings' are used in this section in contradistinction to controversies arising out of the settlement of the estates of bankrupts, as they are also so used in 23 and 24. The certification referred to is that provided for in 5 and 6 of the act of March 3, 1891, and this case in that particular does not fall within those sections.
Apart from 25, the circuit courts of appeals have jurisdiction on petition to superintend and revise any matter of law in bankruptcy proceedings, and also jurisdiction of controversies over which they would have appellate jurisdiction in other cases. The decisions of those courts might be reviewed here on certiorari, or in certain cases by appeal, under 6 of the act of 1891 Mueller v. Nugent, 184 U.S. 1 , ante, 269, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 269; Huntington v. Saunders, 163 U.S. 319 , 41 L. ed. 174, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1120; Aztec Min. Co. v. Ripley, 151 U.S. 79, 81 , 38 S. L. ed. 80, 81, 14 Sup. Ct. Rep. 236.
But the question before us is whether this appeal was properly brought, and we do not think it was.