Hastings, a citizen of Michigan, assigned a bond and mortgage to Sill (plaintiff), a citizen of New York. Sill then sued Sheldon (defendant), a citizen of Michigan, to recover on the bond and mortgage. Sill brought the action in the United States Circuit Court for the District of Michigan based on diversity jurisdiction. Sheldon argued that diversity jurisdiction did not apply, because diversity existed only as a result of an assignment of rights to Sill. The circuit court upheld jurisdiction, and an appeal was taken directly to the United States Supreme Court to determine whether jurisdiction in the circuit court was proper.