Supreme Tribe of Ben-Hur v. Cauble

255 U.S. 356, 41 S. Ct. 338 (1921)

 

RULE:

Where the rights of a class are concluded by the decree of a court, an ancillary bill may be prosecuted from the same court to protect the rights secured to all in the class by the decree rendered.

FACTS:

Appellant association filed an ancillary bill to enjoin appellee association members from prosecuting in the state courts certain suits which would relitigate questions settled by an original decree of the federal district court. The lower court dismissed the ancillary bill for want of jurisdiction. The lower court held that appellees were not bound by the original decree because they were not parties to the original bill. The Supreme Court of the United states reversed the judgment.

ISSUE:

 Could an ancillary bill be prosecuted in the same court which concluded the rights of a class where intervention would not have defeated the court's jurisdiction?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The original decree was binding on appellee association members because they were members of the class, notwithstanding the fact that appellees were not otherwise parties to the bill. The intervention of appellees in the original suit would not have defeated the jurisdiction already acquired.

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