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United States Supreme Court

61 U.S. 486

Ingraham  v.  Dawson

THIS was an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the eastern district of Louisiana.

The facts in the case are fully stated in the opinion of the Circuit Court, which the reader will find referred to in the opinion of this court, as constituting a part of the statement of this report. It is therefore transcribed from the record, and was as follows: Opinion of the Circuit Court.

The facts of this case are, that in May, 1841, the Grand Gulf Railroad and Banking Company, of Grand Gulf, Mississippi, recovered two judgments against Moses H. Groves, for the aggregate sum of twenty-two thousand six hundred and thirty-eight and forty-three hundredths dollars, with arrears of interest and costs.

Prior to this event, the bank had suspended specie payments, and in February, 1842, made a general assignment of its effects to the plaintiff, Ingraham, and one Lindsay, (of whom the plaintiff, Read, is the assignee or successor,) to be collected and appropriated-1st, to the expenses of the trust; 2d, to pay off judgment creditors; 3d, to indemnify and save harmless the sureties or guaranties of any engagement for the bank; and 4thly, to make an equal distribution among the remaining creditors.

The trustees accepted their appointment, and in 1842 notified the curator of the debtor, Groves, (H. H. Groves,) that these judgments had been assigned to them.

In the month of June, 1843, the defendant, John R. Marshall, a bill holder of the bills of the Grand Gulf Banking Company, commenced two suits by attachment in the District Court of the parish of Madison, against that corporation, upon the bills of the bank, and recovered a judgment upon the two suits, (which, during their progress, had been consolidated,) for the sum of four thousand three hundred and ninety-five dollars, with arrearages of interest and costs.

The sheriff (among other property) attached the two judgments against Groves by an entry of the fact upon the attachment, and by notice to H. H. Groves, administrator.

The Grand Gulf Banking Company appeared to the said suit, and defended it, and Ingraham and Read intervened, claiming through their assignment the property attached, and 'opposing the plaintiff's demand to claim the property attached.'

To the intervention Marshall answered, denying the authority of the bank to make an assignment, and averring that the assignments were fraudulent and void, designed to favor a portion of the creditors, and insisted upon the right of the attaching creditor to dispose of the effects seized, notwithstanding the assignment.

A suspensive appeal was taken, immediately after the signature of the judgment, to the Supreme Court of the State, by the bank and the assignees, (intervenors,) and a judgment of affirmance was rendered in that court. This was entered upon the minutes of the District Court for Madison, in November, 1845. In December thereafter, an execution issued to the sheriff, and, in due course of law, these judgments were sold, in April, 1846, at public sale, when Marshall, the plaintiff, became the purchaser. He transferred his title to his codefendants by a public act, in February, 1847.

To a full understanding of the facts and arguments, it is proper to set forth the proceedings in the Circuit Court of Claiborne county, Mississippi, to enforce a forfeiture of the charter of the bank. In September, 1845, a judgment of partial forfeiture was entered, reserving the right to sue, and collect debts, with a view to the settlement of the affairs of the bank; and on the 17th April, 1846, a final judgment in that court, forfeiting the whole charter, was entered.

This was suspended by appeal, and affirmed in the Supreme Court, in 1848, shortly before this suit was commenced.

This suit was commenced to enforce the rights of the assignees, under their assignment, to the judgments rendered against Groves in 1841. The jurisdiction of chancery is asserted as a consequence of the destruction of the legal character of the corporation, and upon the allegations, that the judgment of Marshall was obtained with a full notice of the title of the assignees, and that the parties who claim those judgments have acted fraudulently and collusively in obtaining a title to them through the action of the courts of Louisiana.

The jurisdiction of the court was supported by my predecessor in this court in 1850, in determining the demurrer to the bill.

The case then rests upon the respective titles exhibited in the bill and answers. There is no support for the allegations of fraud or collusion in the evidence. The only questions to be considered are, whether the proceedings upon the attachment of Marshall divest the title of the bank to the judgments in favor of the defendants, and whether the plaintiffs have confirmed that title by their conduct at the sale.

The bank and the intervenors were parties to the proceedings and judgment of the attaching creditor. They appeared for their respective interests in the subject of the suit, and contested the validity of the creditor's claim to his debt and satisfaction from the property. Whatever judgment was rendered in that suit is conclusive upon them.

The judgment entry recites that a jury was empanelled, the evidence closed, the case argued, the jury retired to deliberate upon their verdict, returned into court with their verdict, which was read, agreed to, and ordered to be recorded.

The verdict is for the plaintiff, against the defendant, for his debt and interest. It proceeds to declare that the intervenors have established no evidence of their claim to the property as set forth in their petition. Thereupon the court gives judgment, that the plaintiff recover of the defendant his debt and interest, specially setting out the items composing both.

'It is further ordered, that the property, rights, and credits attached be sold, according to law, to satisfy the judgment and cost of suit; and that the plaintiff have a preference and privilege thereon; and that the demand of the intervenors be rejected, with cost of suit.'

This, it was said, was 'done and signed in open court, this 9th May, 1844, after overruling the motion for a new trial.

E. R. MILLSON, Judge.'

NotesEdit

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).