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Thompson v. Whitman

85 U.S. (18 Wall.) 457, 21 L. Ed. 897 (1874)

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Thompson v. Whitman

United States Supreme Court

85 U.S. (18 Wall.) 457, 21 L. Ed. 897 (1874)

Facts

In September of 1862, Whitman (plaintiff), a New York citizen, had his sloop and its contents seized by Thompson (defendant), the sheriff of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The seizure was made under the authority of a New Jersey oyster law prohibiting the raking and gathering of clams within the limits of Monmouth County. Thompson alleged that the seizure occurred in Monmouth County and subjected Whitman’s sloop to condemnation and order-of-sale proceedings in a New Jersey court. Whitman then sued Thompson in New York for trespass for taking and carrying away goods. Thompson alleged that the New Jersey judgment was conclusive as to its jurisdiction and the merits of Whitman’s claim and, therefore, it barred the trespass action. Whitman alleged that the seizure did not occur in Monmouth County and, therefore, the New Jersey judgment was not enforceable in New York. At trial, conflicting testimony was presented about where the seizure occurred. The jury found that the seizure occurred in New Jersey but not in Monmouth County and that at the time of the seizure, Whitman was not taking clams within the limits of Monmouth County. The trial court then rejected Thompson’s argument that the New Jersey judgment barred the trespass action and entered judgment for Whitman. Thompson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bradley, J.)

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