McLean v. Meek
THIS was an appeal from the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Mississippi.
The case was this.
Joseph Meek, a citizen and resident of Davidson county, State of Tennessee, died on the 12th of February, 1838, leaving property in the States of Tennessee and Mississippi. He left three children, namely: James L. Meek, Joseph Meek, and a daughter, who was married to John Munn.
Jesse Meek, the brother of the deceased, was appointed his administrator in both States, namely, in Mississippi on the 30th February, 1838, and in Tennessee in September, 1838.
The estate in Tennessee was insolvent, and in November 1840, a bill was filed in the chancery court at Franklin, in the State of Tennessee, by Jesse the administrator, and by John Munn and wife, alleging the insolvency of the estate and praying for its administration according to the laws of that State in case of insolvent estates. To this bill the creditors were made parties defendants. The minor sons were also made defendants by their guardian.
Jesse Meek's letters of administration in Mississippi were revoked on 28th December, 1841, and John Munn appointed on the same day administrator de bonis non. He continued to administer until 12th February, 1849, and on the next day James L. Meek was appointed in his place.
In the progress of the administration in insolvency in Tennessee, the claim of N. and J. Dick and Co., (the surviving partners of which firm were the appellants,) for $21,460.80 was presented to the clerk and master, who had been directed by the court to report on the debts filed against the estate. The claim was allowed for $20,445.67, which report was confirmed by the court. Upon this claim, Dick and Co. received two sums, namely, one of $300 and the other of 1,987.13.
On the 29th of August, 1850, Hill and McLean, as surviving partners of the firm of Dick and Co., filed their bill in the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Mississippi against James L. Meek, as administrator, which was afterwards so amended as to be against said Meek in his individual capacity, and also against Joseph Meek, one of the heirs.
The only evidence relied upon by the complainants was a transcript of the record from the chancery court of Tennessee.
The circuit court dismissed the bill, and the complainants appealed to this court.
It was submitted on printed arguments by Mr. Benjamin, for the appellant, and Mr. Harris, for the appellee.
Mr. Benjamin referred to the cases of Aspden v. Nixon, 4 How. 467, and Stacy v. Thrasher, 6 How. 44, and said:--
These authorities, rightly construed, are conclusive against the appellees. In the present case, the administrator in Tennessee and in Mississippi is the same person; and in the proceedings in chancery in Tennessee, which resulted in a decree establishing the claim of the appellants, the present defendants were parties, as shown by the foregoing statement of facts.
In addition to this consideration, the present defendant, James L., as administrator de bonis non of Joseph Meeks, is privy with his predecessor, Jesse, in the trust resulting from the administration. The principle is ruled expressly in Stacy v. Thrasher, as being the law of Mississippi. See the language of Judge Grier, at page 60.
Mr. Harris referred to the case of Stacy v. Thrasher, and contended that, as a simple contract debt, it was barred by the statute of limitations. Hutch. Miss. Code, 830-3.
Mr. Justice CATRON delivered the opinion of the court.