Civil Procedure – Power of State to Enjoin Its Citizens from Suing in Another State Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act

Petitioner was injured in the course of employment with respondent, an interstate railroad, in Ben Hill County, Georgia, the residence of petitioner. Invoking the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, petitioner filed suit in Jefferson County, Alabama, where respondent was doing business. Respondent, relying on section 1404(a) of the Judicial Code, initiated an equity action in Ben Hill County, Georgia, to restrain petitioner from continuing his action in Alabama. The trial court sustained a demurrer to respondent’s petition. The Georgia Supreme Court reversed, holding that Georgia law gave its courts power to prevent its citizens from bringing vexatious suits. On certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States, held, reversed. Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act the employee had a transitory cause of action, and section 1404(a), which authorizes a federal court to transfer a case on grounds of forum non conveniens, does not give the same power to a state court; hence, the Georgia court had no power to restrain the employee from bringing the Alabama action. Pope v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 345 U.S. 379, 73 S.Ct. 749 (1953).