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Des Moines Navigation & Railroad Co. v. Iowa Homestead Co.

United States Supreme Court
123 U.S. 552 (1887)


Iowa Homestead Co. (Homestead) (plaintiff) brought suit against the Des Moines Navigation and Railroad Co. (Railroad) (defendant) to recover taxes. Homestead had previously sued the Railroad to recover the same taxes. The previous case was removed to federal court and was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Court rendered judgment in favor of the Railroad. The Railroad sought to dismiss the current case, arguing that the ruling in the previous lawsuit was a bar to the current suit as res judicata. In response, Homestead argued that the previous ruling was null and void because the federal court did not actually have jurisdiction over the previous case. However, Homestead never objected on the grounds of jurisdiction in the previous case. The lower court ruled in favor of Homestead that the previous United States Supreme Court ruling was not a bar to the current suit. The Railroad appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Waite, C.J.)

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