Findlay v. Hinde
THE appellees filed their bill in the Circuit Court of the United States, for the district of Ohio, praying a discovery; and that the defendants may convey to the complainants such a title as they have acquired, to a lot of ground in the town of Cincinnati, and deliver up the possession acquired by them; and also that they account for the profits; and for general relief.
The title set up by the complainants, was alleged to be derived from a receipt given by Abraham Garrison, in whom the title to the lot was then vested, which receipt in the following terms:--
'Received, Cincinnati, 10th September 1799, of Wm. and Michael Jones, fifty pounds thirteen shillings and three pence, in part of a lot opposite Mr. Conn's, in Cincinnati, for two hundred and fifty dollars, which I will make them a warrantee deed for the same, on or before the twentieth day this instant.
Test, Jacob Awl.
Signed, ABRAHAM GARRISON.'
And from a deed, executed on the following day, by which Abraham Garrison, for the consideration of 250 dollars, conveyed the lot to William and Michael Jones, which deed was said to have been lost by time and accident. The lot was, by subsequent conveyances, claimed to be vested in the complainants. No affidavit is attached to the bill, showing that the deed was not in the complainants' possession, or setting forth that it had been so lost or destroyed.
To this bill, the defendants, James Findlay, Charles Vattier, William Lytle, and Robert Ritchie, answered separately; and a decree was entered against the other defendants for costs, the bill having been taken pro confesso against them, they not having answered.
After hearing, this Court gave a decree against the defendants who had answered; and all the defendants appealed to this Court.
The bill, answer, exhibits, and depositions, showed a case containing many controverted facts and allegations; and the questions of law arising upon the same, were elaborately argued by Mr. Webster and Mr. Caswell, for the appellants; and by Mr. Dodridge and Mr. Jones, for the appellees.
The decision of this Court, by which the decree of the Circuit Court of Ohio was reversed, and the cause remanded for further proceedings, was upon two questions of chancery practice; which were raised by the counsel for the appellants.
1. The Court have decreed relief to the complainants, on the bare suggestion that the deeds once existed, which are lost, when no affidavit is attached to the bill, showing that the deeds were not in complainant's possession; and without such an affidavit a Court of Chancery has no jurisdiction of the cause. The appellants cited the following cases, to show the error of this proceeding. Mitford's Pl. 52, 112. 2 P ere Williams, 540, 541. 3 Atk. 17. 132. 4 John. Ch. Rep. 297.
2. The complainants not having shown a deed from Garrison to the Jones's, must rely upon the receipt from Garrison to the Jones's, as an equitable title; and if they claim that equitable right, they of course must make Garrison, the elder, and the Jones's, parties to the suit. Upon this point, the counsel for the appellants cited Simms vs. Guthrie and others. 9 Cranch 25.
No opinion having been expressed by the Court, upon the merits of the cause, or upon the general questions presented by the counsel; it is not deemed proper to state the arguments of counsel, in this report.
Mr. Justice TRIMBLE delivered the opinion of the Court.--