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United States Supreme Court

105 U.S. 122

McCormick  v.  Knox

The counsel for appellant has submitted an argument to show that the sale and deed made by Ward, the trustee, to the commissioners of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company were void. Without discussion of this question, we simply declare our opinion to be, that there is no solid ground for this contention to rest upon. But whether the sale is valid or not is an immaterial question in this case, for the decree of the court below permitted the complainant to redeem the property, and so avoid entirely the effect of the sale and deed, by the payment of the balance due on the promissory note for $3,000 made by Holtzclaw & Bruff to the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, and the amount due on the note for $5,000 made by Bruff to Meyer, and the taxes, &c., paid by the commissioners of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, after deducting the rents received by them. The decree of the court below substantially gives the appellant all the relief prayed for by his bill, on condition, however, that he should pay off the incumbrances on the property in question, older and better than his own.

The only practical question, therefore, is Are the terms upon which the appellant and his grantor, Mrs. Wheeler, were allowed to redeem, just and right? Upon this point, it seems to us, there can be no doubt. The amount due on the note of Holtzclaw & Bruff, it is conceded, is less than the sum due on the note of Mrs. Wheeler, which it was pledged to secure. Neither she nor her grantee, the appellant, can complain if they are required to pay the balance, whatever it may be, due on the Holtzclaw & Bruff note before they can be allowed to redeem. It is equally clear that they ought to be required to pay the sum applied by the commissioners to discharge the amount due on the note held by Meyer, which was secured by a trust deed on the premises in controversy, and was the first lien thereon.

The contention of complainant that he should receive a clear title to the property, without first discharging the lien thereon created by the trust deed of Mrs. Wheeler, and without first paying the sums which had been applied by the commissioners to the discharge of the lien held by Meyer, both of which were prior in date to his own, is not founded on any equity, and is not supported by any authority. On the contrary, it is clear that the commissioners, having paid off the oldest incumbrance on the property, are entitled to be subrogated to the rights of the incumbrancer. Robinson v. Ryan, 25 N. Y. 320; Redmond v. Burroughs, 63 N. C. 242.

A mortgagee who has paid a prior mortgage or other incumbrance upon the land is entitled to be repaid the sum so advanced when the mortgager or his vendee comes to redeem. Page v. Foster, 7 N. H. 392; Arnold v. Foote, 7 B. Mon. (Ky.) 66; Harper v. Ely, 70 Ill. 581.

The same rule applies to the payment by the mortgagee of taxes on the mortgaged premises, or any valid assessment thereon for public improvement. Dale v. McEvers, 2 Cow. (N. Y.), 118.

The decree of the court below gave the complainant every right which the law accorded him. It must, therefore, be



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