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organized under the laws of another state, with power to acquire and hold shares of the capital stock of any other corporation, from obtaining and exercising ownership and control of two or more competing railroad companies of the complainant state, so as to evade and defeat its laws and policy forbidding the consolidation of such railroads when parallel and competing, presents 12 the case of a controversy of a civil nature # whereof this court has jurisdiction under * the Constitution and laws of the “United States, and whether the bill in the present case is of that description, or whether it is the case of a suit brought by a state to enforce its penal statutes, and hence within the principle of the decision in Wisconsin v. Pelican Ins. Co. 127 U. S. 265, 32 L. ed. 239, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1370, are questions which have been ably discussed by counsel. But it is not necessary for us to consider and answer those questions, for, in view of the nature of the facts presented and the remedies prayed for in the bill pro to be filed, we think that the suit is defective for want of essential parties whose rights would be vitally affected by the relief sought therein. The general rule in equity is that all persons materially interested, either legally or beneficially, in the subject-matter of a suit, are to be made parties to it, so that there may be a complete decree, which shall bind them all. By this means the court is enabled to make a complete decree between the parties, to preventfuture litigation, by taking away the necessity of a multiplicity of suits, and to make it perfectly certain that no inustice is done, either to the parties before t, or to others who are interested in the subject-matter, by a decree which might otherwise be granted upon a partial view only of the real merits. When all the parties are before the court, the whole case may be seen; but it may not, where all the conflicting interests are not brought out upon the pleadings by the original parties thereto. Story, Eq. Pl. § 72. The established practice of courts of equity to dismiss the plaintiff's bill if it appears that to o the relief prayed for would injuriously affect persons materially interested in the subject-matter who are not made parties to the suit is founded upon clear reasons, and may be enforced by the court, sua sponte, though not raised by the pleadings or suggested by the counsel. Shields v. Barrow, 17 How. 130, 15 L. ed. 158; Hipp v. Rabin, 19 How. 271, 278, 15 L. ed. 633, 635: Parker v. Winnipiseogee Lake Cotton & Woolen Co. 2 Black, 545, 17 L. ed. 333. In the case of Shields v. Barrow, 17 How. 130, 15 L. ed. 158, the question was fully
tire controversy, and do complete justice, by adjusting all the rights involved in it. These persons are commonly termed necessary parties; but if their interests are separable from those of the parties before the court, so that the court can proceed to a decree, and do complete and final justice, without affecting other persons not before the court, the latter are not indispensable parties. 3. Persons who not only have an interest in the controversy, but an interest of such a nature that a final decree cannot be made without either affecting that interest, or leaving the controversy in such a condition that its final determination may be wholly inconsistent with equity and good conscience. The court in respect to the act of Congress of February 28, 1839, 5 Stat. at L. 321, chap 36, and to the 47th rule in equity practice, said: “The 1st section of that statute enacts ‘that when in any suit, at law or in equity, commenced in any court of the United States, there shall be several defendants, any one or more of whom shall not be inhabitants of or found within the district where the suit is brought, or shall not voluntarily appear thereto, it shall be lawful for the court to entertain jurisdiction, and proceed to the trial and adjudication of such suit between the parties who may be properly before it; but the judgment or decree rendered therein shall not conclude or prejudice other parties not regularly served with process, or not voluntarily appearing to answer; and the nonjoinder of parties, who are not so inhabitants, or found within the district, shall constitute no matter of abatement or other objection to said suit.” “This act relates solely to the nonjoinder of persons who are not within the reach of the process of the court. It does not affect any case where persons, having an interest, are not joined because their citizenship is such that their joinder would defeat the jurisdiction; and, so far as it touches suits in equity, we understand it to be no more than a legislative affirmance of the rule previously established by the cases of Cameron v. M'Rob-eerts, 3 Wheat. 591, 4 L. ed. 467; Osborn v.; Bank of United States,”9 Wheat. 738, 6 L.” ed. 204, and Harding v. Handy, 11 Wheat. 132, 6 L. ed. 437. For this court had already there decided that the nonjoinder of a party who could not be served with process would not defeat the jurisdiction. The act says it shall be lawful for the court to entertain jurisdiction; but as is observed by this court, in Mallow v. Hinde, 12. Wheat. 198, 6 L. ed. 600, when speaking of a case where an indispensable party was not before the court, “we do not put this case upon the ground of jurisdiction, but upon a much broader ground, which must equally apply to
e discussed, and it was shown, upon a review § of the previous cases, that, there are three F classes of parties to a bill in equity. "They
all courts of equity; whatever may be their structure as to jurisdiction; we put it on
are: 1. Formal parties. 2. Persons having an interest in the controversy, and who ought to be made parties, in order that the court may act on that rule which requires it to decide on and finally determine the en
the ground that no court can adjudicate directly upon a person's right, without the Fo being either actually or constructivey before the court.” So that, while this act removed any difficulty as to jurisdiction, be: tween competent parties regularly served
with process, it does not attempt to displace that principle of jurisprudence on which the court rested the case last mentioned. And the 47th rule is only a declaration, for the government of practitioners and courts, of the effect of this act of Congress, and of the revious decisions of the court, on the subect of that rule. Hogan v. Walker, 14 ow. 36, 14 L. ed. 315. “It remains true, notwithstanding the act of Congress and the 47th rule, that a circuit court can make no decree affecting the rights of an absent person, and can make no decree between the K. before it, which so far involves or depends upon the rights of an absent person that complete and final justice cannot be done between the ties to the suit without affecting those rights.” California v. Southern P. Co. 157 U. S. 229, 39 L. ed. 683, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 591, was a case in several particulars like the present one. There a bill was filed in this court by the state of California against the Southern Pacific Company, a corporation of the state of Kentucky, claiming title and i. by the state over certain large acts of land lying upon the shores of the bay of San Francisco and over the harbor waters of said bay, including San Antonio creek, and averring that the Southern Pacific Company claimed adversely to the state, and was engaged in placing structures in and upon said tracts of land, thereby obstructing navigation in the bay and adjoining waters. e bill prayed "for a decree quieting the title of the state and enjoining the defendant company from maintaining the structures that it had placed upon said tracts and the adjacent waters. The defendant company answered the bill, denying the ownership of the complainant in the premises in dispute, and setting forth its own title derived from the town of Oakland, as to the whole of the water front of that town, through one Carpentier, as grantee of said town by ordinance and deed of conveyance, and claiming that by subsequent mesne conveyances the said title and property had become vested, as to a part thereof, in the Central Pacific Roof Company, and, as to another part, in the South Pacific Coast Railway Company, and in the defendant company as lessee. It further was claimed that certain ordinances and deeds of the town of Oakland operated as a grant by the city of Oakland and the state of California of the land to the Oakland Water Front Company, as grantee or alienee of Carpentier. The case was duly put at issue, and a commissioner was appointed to take testimony therein and to return the same to the court. When the case came on for hearing it was held by this court that the city of Oakland and the Oakland Water Front Company were so situated in respect to the litigation that the court ought not to proceed in their absence. In reaching this conclusion the court reviewed the cases, including the cases above cited and others. Upon the contention that the city of Oakland and the Oakland Water Front Com
pany might be made parties defendant, and the court thus enabled to proceed with the case, the court held that this could not be done, because this court could not exercise original jurisdiction in a suit between a state on the one hand and a citizen of another state and citizens of the complainant state on the other. Accordingly, the bill was dismissed for want of parties who should be joined, but could not be without ousting our jurisdiction. We shall therefore proceed to examine the substance of the bill proposed to be filed, in order to see whether it discloses a case in which a decree could be granted which: would do final and complete justice between: the nominal parties without"vitally affecting” other persons not before the court. As already stated, a conclusion reached that the suit cannot be entertained for want of necessary and essential parties will not imply any expression of opinion beyond that question. As the bill is set forth in full in the preceding statement, it will not be necessary to here repeat its allegations. They may be summarized as follows: The complainant is the state of Minnesota; the defendant is the Northern Securities Company, a corporation of the state of New Jersey. It is part of the policy of the state of Minnesota, as declared in its public statutes, to prohibit therein the consolidation in any manner of competing and parallel lines of railway. The statutes specially recited in the bill are the act of March 9, 1874, the 1st section whereof is in the following terms: “No railroad corporation, or the lessees, purchaser, or managers of any railroad company, shall consolidate the stock, property, or franchise of such corporation with, or lease or purchase the works or franchise of, or in any way control, any other railroad corporation owning or having under its control a parallel or competing line; nor shall any officer of such railroad corporation act as an officer of any other railroad corporation owning or having the control of a parallel, or competing line, and the question whether railroads are parallel or competing lines shall, when demanded by the party complainant, be decided by a jury as in other civil issues;” and the act of March 3, 1881, of which the 3d section is as follows: *No railroad o shall consolidate with, lease, or purchase, or in any way be. come the owner of or control, any other railroad corporation or stock, franchises, rights or property thereof, which owns or controls a parallel or competing line.” The Great Northern Railway Company is a corporation organized and existing under an act duly passed by the territory of Minnesota and under various subsequent acts of the state of Minnesota, and owns and controls, as lessee, several important lines of railroad, some only within and others extending beyond the state of Minnesota, and
which are maintained by the Great North-e ern Railway Company, as one complete systs
tem. The "board of directors of the GreatNorthern Railway Company, at the time of the organization of the Northern Securities Company, to wit, on or about November 13, 1901, was and now is composed of the following-named persons, to wit: James J. Hill, James N. Hill, Samuel Hill, William P. Clough, Edward Sawyer, Jacob H. Schiff, and Henry W. Cannon. That on said lastmentioned date the Great Northern Railway Company had issued and there was then outstanding a total of $125,000,000 par value of the capital stock of said corporation, of which, it is alleged, that said James J. Hill was on said last-mentioned date the owner of, or had subject to his direction and disposition, more than a majority of said capital stock so outstanding. The Northern Pacific Railway Company was organized under the laws of the state of Wisconsin of the year 1895, and afterwards, by filing a certified copy of its articles of incorporation, became a corporation of the state of Minnesota and subject to the laws of that state relating to railroad cororations. In the year 1896 the Northern acific Railway Company duly purchased and became the owner of the entire railroad §. and lines formerly owned by the orthern Pacific Railroad Company, and at all times since has continuously owned and operated each and all of said lines of rail. way situated within the state of Minnesota, and which connect the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Duluth, and connect with the lines of railways outside the state of Minnesota. During the year 1899 the said Northern Pacific Railway Company purchased, and ever since has owned and erated a line of railway extending from the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis to Duluth, Minnesota. Said last-mentioned line parallels and is a competing line of railway for both freight and passenger traffic with the line of railway between said Minneapolis and St. Paul and Duluth, owned by the Eastern Railway Company of Minnesota, but which is operated, controlled, and managed by said Great Northern Railway Company, as a H. of the system of that company. The lines of railway now owned and operated by said Great Northern Railway - Company within the state of Minnesota are Eparallel and competing lines for freight and i"passenger traffic"with the lines of railway now owned, operated, and controlled by said Northern Pacific Railway Company within the state of Minnesota; and also said lines of railway owned, operated, and controlled by said Great Northern Railway Company, and also the lines of railway owned, operated, and controlled by said Northern Pacific Railway Company, which connect with the lines of railway owned, operated, and controlled by each of said companies respectively within the state of Minnesota, are parallel and competing lines through the states of North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington to Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, for passenger and freight traffic. That said companies are the only railway companies owning or operating lines of railway crossing the state of Minnesota and connect
ing the Pacific ocean by rail with points in Minnesota. That the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railway Company, a corporation of the state of Illinois, has, for many years last past, owned, operated, and controlled an extensive system of railway lines connecting the city of Chicago with the city of Denver, in the state of Colorado, and with the city of Billings, in the state of Montana, which last-named point is a junction and competitive point for freight and passenger traffic with said Northern Pacific Railway Company, etc. That during the year 1901 the said Great Northern Railway Company and said Northern Pacific Railway Company jointly purchased 98 per cent of the total capital stock of said Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railway Company, aggregating approximately 107,000,000 of dollars, par value, and now own the same, and issued in payment therefor the joint bonds of said Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies, payable in twenty years from the date thereof, and bearing interest at the rate of 4 per cent per annum, payable semiannually. That the said Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies issued and delivered in exchange for each $100 in amount of said Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railway Company stock $200 in amount of the said bonds; and that under and by virtue of the purchase of the said stock the joint ownership and control of the: said Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Rail-o way Company are vested in," and ever since" have been exercised by, the said Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies. During April, 1901, and ever since, the following-named persons constituted and now are the members of the board of directors of the Northern Pacific Railway Company: James J. Hill, Robert Bacon, George F. Baker, E. H. Harriman, H. McK. Twombly, Brayton Ives, D. Willis James, John S. Kennedy, Daniel S. Lamont, Charles S. Mellen, Samuel Rea, William Rockefeller, Charles Steele, James Stillman, and Eben B. Thomas. On November 13, 1901, J. Pierpont Morgan, with certain other unknown persons, but who were acting with said Morgan, owned and had in their possession, or held and had subject to their control and disposition, upwards of 85 per cent of the total capital stock of said Northern Pacific Railway Company. The Northern Securities Company was organized on November 13, 1901, with its principal office at Hoboken, in the state of New Jersey, and the objects for which the corporation was formed, as stated in the articles of incorporation, are to acquire and hold, as investments, the bonds, securities, and capital stock of any other corporation or corporations of the state of New Jersey, or of any other state, territory, or country, and while owner of said stock to exercise all the rights, powers, and privileges of ownership, including the right to vote thereon; and it is declared that the corporation shall have power to conduct its business in other states and in foreign countries, to have one or more of.
fices out of the state, and to purchase, hold, and convey real and personal property out of the state. It is alleged that the Northern Securities Company was incorporated at the instigation and request of James J. Hill, William P. Clough, and certain unknown stockholders of said Great Northern Railway Company, who, with said Hill and Clough, owned or controlled, or have the disposition and management of, a large majority of the capital stock of said Great Northern Railway Company, and with the co-operation of J. Pierpont Morgan and certain other unknown stockholders of said Northern Pacific : Railway Company, who, with said Morgan, to owned and controlled, or have the disposi* tion and management of, a large majority of the capital stock of said Northern Pacific Railway Company. On November 14, 1901, James J. Hill, George F. Baker, Daniel S. Lamont, James Stillman, N. Terhune, Samuel Thorne, Charles L. Perkins, Jacob H. Schiff, William P. Clough, John S. Kennedy, Willis James, E. T. Nichols, Robert Bacon, and E. H. Harriman were elected directors of the Northern Securities Company, and said directors on November 15, 1901, elected James J. Hill to be president, and John S. Kennedy, George F. Baker, Willis James, and William P. Clough to be vice presidents, and E. T. Nichols to be secretary and treasurer, of said company. It is alleged that the holders of a large majority of the capital stock of both said Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies had knowledge of and assisted in the formation of the said Northern Securities Company, and that such stockholders, so consenting and assisting, constitute all of the stockholders of said Northern Securities Company. The bill charges that the purpose of the formation of the Northern Securities Company was to place the management and control of the Great Northern Railway Company and of the Northern Pacific kailway Company under one management, and to thus, in effect, establish a consolidation of said railway companies, and defeat and evade the statutes and policy of the state of Minnesota forbidding consolidation of parallel and competing lines of railway. The relief prayed by the bill is that the defendant company be perpetually enjoined and restrained from voting, at any meeting of either said Great Northern or Northern Pacific Railway Company, any of the capital stock of either of said companies by any means or in any manner whatsoever, and from attending, by reason of such ownership, possession, or control of stock, either through its officers or by proxy, or in any other manner, any meeting of the stockholders of either of said companies, and from, in any way, aiding, advising, directing, interfering with or in any way taking part, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, in the management, control, or operation of any of * the lines of railway of either of said com: panies; and that said defendant, its officers, • attorneys, “representatives, agents, or serv
ants, including its board of directors, or any of its members as such, be enjoined and restrained from exercising any of the powers or performing any of the duties, or in any manner acting as a representative, officer, member of the board of directors or employee, of either said Great Northern or Northern Pacific Railway Company, or in any way exercising any management, direction, or control over the same; and that said defendant, its stockholders, directors, and other officers, representatives, and agents, be enjoined and restrained from doing any and all acts and making any arrangements or combinations, by contract or otherwise, having for their object, effect, or result the consolidation or establishment of a joint management or control in any manner whatsoever of the said Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies, their lines of railway or properties; and that said defendant be enjoined from either directly or indirectly holding, owning or controlling any of the stock of either of said companies at one and the same time for any of the purposes or objects alleged in the bill, or otherwise, and that in case it shall appear upon the hearing that the defendant owns or controls, or is acting in concert with the owners of, a majority of the capital stock of either of said railway companies, and owns or controls a minority of the stock of the other of said companies, then that the defendant, its officers, directors, agents, or representatives, be enjoined and restrained from receiving, acquiring, or controlling any additional capital stock of such other railway company; and further for leave to amend the bill of complaint, if amendment thereto shall become necessary, including the right to bring in other parties defendant for the purpose of giving force and effect to any decree that may be made by the court herein. More briefly stated, the case presented by the charges and prayers of the bill is that the state of Minnesota is apprehensive that a majority of the stockholders respectively of the Great Northern Railway Company and of the Northern Pacific Railway Company have combined and made an arrangement, through the organization of a corporation of the state of New Jersey, whereby such a consolidation, or, what is alleged to amount to the same thing, a joint control and"management of the Great Northern and * Northern Pacific Railway companies, shall be effected as will operate to defeat and overrule the policy of the state in prohibit. ing the consolidation of parallel and competing lines of railway, and therefore appeals to a court of equity to prevent by injunction the operation and effect of such a combination and arrangement. But at once, as we have seen, the court is put upon inquiry whether the parties and persons to be affected by such an injunction are before it. The narrative of the bill unquestionably discloses that the parties to be affected by a decision of the controversy are, directly, the state of Minnesota, the Great Northern
Railway Company, the Northern Pacific Railway Company, corporations of that state, and the Northern Securities Company, a corporation of the state of New Jersey, and, indirectly, the stockholders and bondholders of those corporations and of the numerous railway companies whose lines are alleged to be owned, managed, or controlled by the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies. Can such a controversy be determined, with due regard to the interests of all concerned, by a suit solely between the state of Minnesota and the Northern Securities Company? It is, indeed, alleged that all of the stockholders of the Northern Securities Company are stockholders in the two railroad companies, and therefore it may be said that the latter stockholders are sufficiently represented in the litigation by the Northern Securities Company; but it is not alleged that the stockholders of the Northern Securities Company constitute or are composed of all the stockholders of the two railroad companies, and, in fact, the contrary is conceded in the allegations of the bill that a majority only of the stock of one, or perhaps both, of the two railroad companies is owned, or at least controlled and managed, by the Northern Securities Company. It is obvious, therefore, that the rights of the minority stockholders of the two railroad companies are not represented by the Northern Securities Company. They have a right to be represented in the conetroversy by the companies whose stock they No hold, and their rights ought not to be af* fected without a hearing, even if"it were conceded that a majority of the stock in such companies, held by a few persons, had assisted in forming some sort of an illegal arrangement. Moreover, it must not be overlooked that it is not the private interests of stockholders that are to be alone considered. The directors of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies are appointed to represent and protect, not merely the private and pecuniary interests of the stockholders, but the rights of the public at large, which is deeply concerned in the proper and advantageous management of these ublic highways. It is not sufficient to say at the attorney general, or the governor, or even the legislature of the state, can be
conclusively deemed to represent the public interests in such a controversy as that presented by the bill. Even a state, when she voluntarily becomes a complainant in a court of equity, cannot claim to represent both sides of the controversy. Not only have the stockholders, be they few or many, a right to be heard, through the officers and directors whom they have legally selected to represent them, but the general interests of the public, which might be deeply affected by the decree of the court, are entitled to be heard; and that, when the state is the complainant and in a case like the present, can only be effected by the presence of the railroad companies as parties defendant. Upon investigation it might turn out that the allegations of the bill are well founded, and that the state is entitled to relief; or it might turn out that there is no intention or design on the part of the railroad companies to form any combination in disre of the policy of the state, but that what is proposed is consistent with that policy and advantageous to the communities affected. But, in making such investigation, a court of equity must insist that both sides of the controversy shall be adequately represented and fully heard. When it appears to a court of equity that a case, otherwise presenting ground for its action, cannot be dealt with because of the absence of essential parties, it is usual for the court, while sustaining the objection, to grant leave to the complainant to amend by bringing in such parties. But when it like-S wise appears that necessary and indispensa-o. ble parties are beyond the reach of the juris." diction of the court, or that, when made ties, the jurisdiction of the court will thereby be defeated, for the court to grant leave to amend would be useless. Sec. 2 of Article 3 of the Constitution of the United States. As, then, the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific Railway companies are indispensable parties, without whose presence the court, acting as a court of equity, cannot proceed, and as our constitutional jurisdiction would not extend to the case if those companies were made parties defendant, the motion for leave to file the proposed bill must be and is denied.