Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE AMERICAN LAW TIMES.

NEW SERIES. - JULY, 1877. – VOL. IV., No. 7.

[ocr errors]

NOTES OF OPINIONS, DECISIONS, AND ORDERS

OF THE

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.

DECEMBER TERM, 1876.

Monday, April 16, 1877. No. 192. Thomas M. Davis, Receiver, 8c., plaintiff in error, v. H. W & J. G. Brown. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Justice Field delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs. Dissenting, Mr. Justice Clifford. It is here held that an indorser of a promissory note is a competent witness to prove an agreement in writing made with its holder, at the time of his indorsement, that he shall not be held liable thereon, where the paper has not afterward been put into circulation, but is held by the party to whom the indorsement has been made. Such agreement is equivalent, so far as the holder is concerned, to an indorsement without recourse to the indorser. Also, that when a judgment in one action is offered in evidence in a subsequent action between the same parties upon a different demand, it operates as an estoppel only upon the matter actually at issue and determined in the original action, and such matter, when not disclosed by the pleadings, must be shown by extrinsic evidence.

No. 134. Nathan C. Russell, appellant, v. Isaac V. & John W. Place. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York. Mr. Justice Field delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said circuit court, with costs. Dissenting, Mr. Justice Clifford. In an action at law for damages for the infringement of a patent for an alleged improvement in the preparation, which patent contains two claims: one for the use of fat liquor generally in the treatment of leather ; and the other for a process of treating bark-tanned lamb or sheepskin, by means of a compound composed and applied in a particular manner, the declaration alleged, as the infringement complained of, that the defendants had made and used the invention, and caused others to make and use it, without averring whether such infringement consists in the simple use of fat liquor in the treatment of leather, or in the use of the process specified. It is held that the judgment recovered in the action does not estop the defendant in a suit in equity by the same plaintiff for an injunction, and on accounting for gains and profits, from contesting the validity of the patent; it not appearing by the record, or being shown by extrinsic evidence, upon which claim the recovery was had. The validity of the patent was not necessarily involved, except with respect to the claim which was the basis of the recovery. A patent may be valid as to a single claim, and invalid as to others. If upon the face of a record anything is left to conjecture as to what was necessarily involved and decided, there is no estoppel in it when pleaded, and nothing conclusive in it when offered in evidence.

No. 202. Thomas G. Tate & wife et al., appellants, v. M. O. H. Norton et al. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Mr. Justice Swayne delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said cirVOL. IV.

7

Vol. IV.)

Notes OF OPINIONS, DEcisions, AND ORDERS.

[No. 7.

cuit court, with costs. This was an affirmance of a decree against the administration of an estate in Arkansas, the court holding that the decree did not err in ordering a sale of the entire estate to satisfy a debt against it, because it was not shown that less than the whole would yield a sum sufficient to meet the requirements the decree.

No. 197. John B. Crim, appellant, v. James M. Handley et al. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Georgia. Mr. Justice Clifford delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said circuit court in this cause, with costs. In this case it is said that courts of equity will not enjoin judgments at law unless the complainant has an equitable defence to the cause of action of which he could not avail himself at law, because it did not amount to a legal defence, or where he had a good defence at law of which he was prevented from availing himself by fraud or accident unmixed with negligence of himself or agents.

No. 204. E. G. Maclay et al., plaintiffs in error, v. Abraham 8. Julius Sands. In error to the Supreme Court of the Territory of Montana. Mr. Chief Justice Waite delivered the opinion of the court, reversing the judgment of the said supreme court, with costs, and remanding the cause with directions to reverse the judgment of the district court, and to direct that court to proceed as law and justice may require, and in accordance with the opinion of this court. It is here held that under the Code of Procedure in Montana judgment cannot be entered against the defendant as by default, because his answer only denies the allegations of the bill on information and belief, the court being of the opinion that such an answer was sufficient to present issues for trial.

No. 215. Richard Gregg et al., plaintiffs in error, v. C. W. Upton, assignee, &c. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Chief Justice Waite announced the decision of the court, aflirming the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs and interest. No opinion.

No. 478. Erasmus D. Foree, plaintif in error, v. William A. McVeigh. In error to the Supreme Court of the State of Virginia. Mr. Chief Justice Waite announced the decision of the court, affirming the judgment of the said supreme court, with costs. No opinion.

The Chief Justice announced the following order:

“On account of the insufficiency of the appropriation by Congress, it is apparent that we shall not be able to continue the hearing of causes at the present term later than the 15th or 20th of May. We shall therefore close the term May 7th, and thus enable the justices to give attention to their business upon the circuit, which could not be done in many of the districts if we continue later. An announcement will be made hereafter of the time when the call of the docket will be stopped.'

Monday, April 23, 1877. No. 211. The First National Bank of Washington, plaintiff in error, v. A. F. Whitman, Administrator, &c. In error to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Mr. Justice Hunt delivered the opinion of the court, reversing the judgment of the said supreme court, with costs, and remanding the cause with directions to award a new trial, and for such further proceedings as the parties may be advised to take. In this case it is held that the payer of a check, which has not been accepted by the bank on which it is drawn, cannot maintain an action upon it against the bank. Until acceptance there is no privity of contract between the payer and the bank so held. Where a check of the treasurer of the United States upon a depository bank has been paid upon an unauthorized indorsement of the name of the payee, and where the action was brought by the true owner of the check, it does not alter the rule that there has been a settlement of accounts between the treasurer and the bank. Another check in question was allowed in the account to the credit of the bank upon the supposition that it has been properly paid. Such erroneous allowances do not affect the real state of the accounts, but is open to correction when discovered. Payment to a stranger upon an unauthorized indorsement does not operate as an acceptance of the check so as to authorize an action by the real owner to recover the amount, as upon an accepted check.

No. 958. Hiram Barney, plaintiff' in error, v. The City of Keokuk et al. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa. Mr. Justice Bradley delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court in this cause, with costs. Mr. Justice Miller, being interested in the result, took no part in the hearing or the decision. This was an affirmance of judgment against Barney in an action in ejectment brought by him against the city and several railroad companies, to recover possession of certain lands occupied by them with tracks, depots, and other

a

Vol. IV.)

NOTES OF Opinions, DecisioNS, AND ORDERS.

[No. 7.

buildings on the bank of the Mississippi River. The question was upon the right to the use of the premises for the purposes stated. The plaintiff alleging that they belonged to him by reason of being frontage between his property and the river, his deeds from the city vesting him with title to the river's edge. The decision is, that the right of the riparian owner extends to high-water mark ; but that between that and low-water mark the title is in the city, and that the city had the right to widen and improve to any extent by filling in below high water, and building wharves and levees for public use ; and that title to the lands so made remained in the corporation.

No. 140. The Illinois Central R. R. Co., appellant, v. Samuel H. Turrill ; No. 143. The Michigan Southern g Northern Indiana R. R. Co., appellant, v. Samuel H. Turrill. Appeals from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Justice Strong delivered the opinion of the court, reversing the decrees of the said circuit court, with costs, and remanding the causes for further proceedings in conformity with the opinion of this court.

No. 141. The Chicago f: Alton R. R. Co., appellant, v. Samuel H. Turrill ; No. 142. The Chicago Burlington & Quincy R. R. Co., appellant, v. Samuel H. Turrill ; No. 144. The Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago R. R. Co., appellant, v. Samuel H. Turrill. Appeals from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Justice Strong delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decrees of the said circuit court in these causes, with costs and interest. Dissenting, Mr. Justice Field and Mr. Justice Swayne. These were suits for infringement of a patent for an improvement in the common anvil or swage-blocks used in welding up and reforming the ends of railroad rails when they have exfoliated or become shattered from unequal wear. In some of them the infringement is found and the judgments are affirmed, but in the others the judgments are reversed. The following are the orders : in No. 140 the judgment is reversed; in No. 143 the judgment is reversed ; in Nos. 141, 142, and 144 the judgments are affirmed.

No. 196. Amos Gould, plaintiff in error, v. Henry Day. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Michigan. Mr. Justice Field delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs and interest. This was an action against the defendant for selling lands of the plaintiff, whose tax deeds had not been recorded, to other parties in the name of the apparent owner by the record, knowing at the time that they belonged to the plaintiff. The court sustains the ruling below, that the tax deeds were primâ facie evidence that the title to the lands embraced in them was in the plaintiff, when the defendant, as attorney, attempted to convey them to others, and that, therefore, the plaintiff was not injured by the conveyance made.

No. 209. Joshua Merrill, appellant D. M. Yeomans et al. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts. Mr. Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said circuit court, with costs. Dissenting, Mr. Justice Clifford. This is the affirmance of a decree below, against the appellant, who sued for an infringement of his patent for an invention used in the preparation of oils; the court holding that as the defendants merely dealt in oils, using neither the complainant's process nor any other in their preparation, they are not liable for an infringement.

No. 213. John Robertson et al., appellants, v. Eli W. Blake; No. 219. Eli W. Blake, appellant, v. John Robertson et al. Appeals from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Justice Swayne delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said circuit court, the costs to be paid by parties taking appeals. This was an action to recover for the infringement of a patent to Blake for a stone-breaking machine. An infringement having been found, and the damages found to be nominal only, both parties appealed. The decrees are affirmed, the court remarking that as special damage was not proved it could not be awarded.

Monday, April 30, 1877. No. 229. The New Jersey Mutual Life Insurance Company, plaintiff in error, v. Anson M. Baker. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York. Mr. Justice Hunt delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs and interest. In this case the company seek to avoid the policy on the ground that certain answers made by the insured at the date of the issue of the policy were false. The court finds no evidence that the policy contained Vol. IV.)

Notes OF OPINIONS, Decisions, AND ORDERS.

[No. 7.

a

a

any agreement that the statements of the applicant should be express warranties, or that they should have any effect whatever, or that the application itself was ever presented to the insurance company, or that the policy was based upon the application. It is further found that the agent of the company undertook to interpret the answers made, and as so interpreted wrote them in the application. In this form it is held to be a statement prepared by the company, for wbich it alone is responsible, and that it cannot be set up to defeat the policy.

No. 228. The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, plaintiff in error, v. Francisca Schaefer. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio. Mr. Justice Bradley delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs and interest. In this case the court held that where the husband's life is insured for the benefit of the wife, and they are subsequently divorced, the wife's insurable interest does not so far cease as to render the policy invalid, and that she may recover. In such a case it is said where the parties to the contract have not provided against such a contingency the courts cannot do it for them.

No. 221. Joseph Selden, Collector, plaintiff in error, v. The Equitable Trust Company. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut. Mr. Justice Strong delivered the opinion of the court, affirining the judgment of the said circuit court, with costs and interest. In this case the trust company was taxed as a banker, although its only business was the investing of its own capital in mortgage, securities on real estate, and selling such securities with a guaranty. The court say that as the company lent only its own money and sold only its own property, its business cannot be considered to be that of a banker, as defined by the revenue laws.

No. 238. The Milwaukee f St. Paul Railroad Company, plaintiff in error, v. Timothy Kellogg. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa. Mr. Justice Strong delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court in this cause, with costs and interest. This was an action to recover compensation for the destruction of a saw-mill by fire, by the negligence of the employees of the company in the management of a ferry steamer. Sparks from the steamer fired the elevator near the mill, from the burning of which the mill took fire. The court hold that the burning of the elevator did not constitute an intervening and independent cause between the negligent conduct of the defendants and the injury to the plaintiffs, as contended by the company, and affirm judgment.

No. 220. Eli Allore, appellant, v. Marshall Jewell. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Michigan. Mr. Justice Field delivered the opinion of the court, reversing the decree of the said circuit court, with costs, and remanding the cause with directions to enter a decree in conformity with the opinion of this court. Dissenting, Mr. Justice Strong, Mr. Chief Justice Waite, and Mr. Justice Bradley. This was an action to set aside a conveyance of real estate alleged to have been made by the complainant's mother just before her death, by undue influence, when she was in a weak state of mind and incapable of making a valid contract. The court find the facts as alleged and reverse the decree, holding it to be settled law that whenever there is great weakness of mind, arising from age, sickness, or any other cause, though not amounting to absolute disqualification and gross inadequacy of compensation in the transaction complained of, a court of equity will interpose to protect the injured party,

No. 230. H. C. Hyde, A ssignee, Sc., plaintiff in error, v. Frank H. Woods et al. In error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California. Mr. Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgment of the said circuit court in this cause, with costs. In this case the assignee in bankruptcy of one Fenn sought to recover the proceeds of Fenn's seat in the San Francisco Stock Exchange Board, which, under a rule of the board, must first discharge his indebtedness to members of the board, before its proceeds could go to creditors outside. The plea was that by an assignment of the bankrupt the creditors inside the board were preferred. The decision is that the assignment by Fenn was a void act, and gave the creditors within the board only such rights as the regulations of the association entitled them to without it; and that therefore it could not be treated as affecting the rights of any party to the controversy. It is also said that there is no reason why the stock board should not make membership subject to the rule in question, unless it be that it is a violation of some statute, or a principle of public policy, which it is not.

No. 232. Frederick Davey et al., claimants and appellants, v. Joseph Good. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Maryland. Mr. Justice Clifford delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the said circuit court, with

Vol. IV.]

DIGEST OF CASES.

[No. 7.

a

costs and interest. This was an affirmance of a decree in admiralty, in a case of collision in Chesapeake Bay between a schooner owned by the appellants and a steamer owned and navigated by Good. The court find that the schooner violated the sailing rules prescribed by the act regulating navigation, and that the decree below, dividing the damages, was correct, it having been adjudged that the steamer also erred in not keeping out of the way, under the rule.

No. 625, James W. McCready, plaintiff in error, v. The Commonwealth of Virginia; No. 992. James W. McCready, plaintiff in error, v. The Commonwealth of Virginia. In error to the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State of Virginia. Mr. Chief Justice Waite delivered the opinion of the court, affirming the judgments of the said supreme court of Virginia, with costs. In these cases it is decided that the State of Virginia can prohibit the citizens of other states from planting oysters in the beds of tide-waters within her jurisdiction, while permitting her own people to do so. For the purpose of the ownership of the tide-waters and their beds, it is said, the state represents the people, and the ownership is that of the people in their united sovereignty: The title thus held is subject to the paramount right of navigation, the regulation of which, in respect to foreign and inter-state commerce, has been granted to the United States. There has, however, been no such grant of power over the fisheries. These remain under the exclusive control of the state, which has consequently the right in its discretion to appropriate its tide-waters and their beds to be used by its people as a common for taking and cultivating fish, so far as it may be done without obstructing navigation. Such an appropriation is in effect nothing more than a regulation of the use of the people of their common property. This right of the people of the state comes not from their citizenship alone, but from their citizenship and property combined. It is in fact a property right, and not a mere privilege or immunity of citizenship.

DIGEST OF CASES

PUBLISHED IN EXTENSO IN LATE ISSUES OF AMERICAN LEGAL PERI

ODICALS.

ABBREVIATIONS.

Albany L. J. — Albany Law Journal, Albany, N. Y., WEED, Parsons & Co.
Am. Law Rec. — American Law Record, Cincinnati, O., H. M. Moos.
Am. Law Reg. — American Law Register, Philadelphia, Pa., D. B. CANFIELD & Co.
Cent. L. J. Central Law Journal, St. Louis, Mo., Seymour D. THOMPSON.
Chicago L. N. - Chicago Legal News, Chicago, Ill., Chicago LEGAL NEws Co.
Ins. L. J. - Insurance Law Journal, New York, C. C. HINE, 176 Broadway.
Int. Rev. Rec. — Internal Revenue Record, New York, W. P. & F. C. Church,
La. L. J. Louisiana Law Journal, New Orleans, La.
Leg. Chron. Legal Chronicle, Pottsville, Pa., Sol. Foster, Jr.
Leg. Int. Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia, Pa., J. M. Power WALLACE.
Mo. West. Jur. — Monthly Western Jurist, Bloomington, Ill., T. F. Tipton.
N. B. R. National Bankruptcy Register, New York, CAMPBELL & Co.
Pac. Law Rep. - Pacific Law Reporter, San Francisco, Cal., J. P. BOGARDUS.
Pittsb. L. J. Pittsburg Legal Journal, Pittsburg, Pa., J. W. & J. S. MURRAY.
W. L. R. Washington Law Reporter, Washington, D. C., Jno. L. GINCK.
W. N. C. Weekly Notes of Cases, Philadelphia, KAY & Bro.
West. Jur. Western Jurist, Des Moines, Iowa, Mills & Co.

BANKRUPTCY. 1. PRIORITY. WHERE AN ASSIGNMENT FOR THE BENEFIT OF CREDITORS IS SET ASIDE at the suit of the assignee in bankruptcy, judgment

« PreviousContinue »