Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


decided: May 14, 1888.



Author: Matthews

[ 127 U.S. Page 526]

 MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS, after stating the case as above reported, delivered the opinion of the court.

The appellant cannot justly complain of the decree for a resale on the ground that it was rendered upon a rule to show cause. It does not appear that he was or could have been prejudiced by the summary nature of the procedure. He had full opportunity to answer, and was heard upon all the matters of defence, both in his answer to the rule and his petition for a rehearing of the decree of January 5, 1884. All the equities to which the appellant conceived himself entitled were fairly and fully before the court. No rights of innocent strangers had intervened, although the appellant had conveyed his title to the White Sulphur Springs Company. That company acquired its interest pendente lite, and with full notice from the record that the purchase money was in part unpaid, and that there was a subsisting lien reserved as security for its payment. The action of the court was simply to enforce its own decree against a purchaser from itself to compel compliance on his part with his contract. The cause was open and pending, awaiting a final decree distributing the proceeds of the sale, in which no further step could be taken until those proceeds were paid into court in compliance with its orders. For that purpose the court had control of the title to the real estate sold by virtue of the decree for sale, and the reservation of a lien for the unpaid purchase money expressed in the deed.

[ 127 U.S. Page 527]

     There was no reason for a resort to an original bill; the most suitable and convenient practice was to enforce the obligation of the purchaser in the same cause by a supplemental proceeding, and it was within the discretion of the court to adopt as the proper method in this case the form of a rule to show cause.

Such is the clear implication from what was said by this court in Koontz v. Northern Bank, 16 Wall. 196, 202: "If . . . the court was deceived by the report of the receiver or master, and the purchaser participated in creating the deception, it could undoubtedly, at any time before the rights of innocent purchasers had intervened, have set the whole proceedings, including the deed, aside. But after the rights of such third parties had intervened its authority in that respect could only be exercised consistently with protection to those rights."

The rule is thus laid down in 2 Daniell's Chancery Practice, 1282, c. 29, ยง 1: "According, however, to the present practice, a more complete remedy is afforded against a purchaser refusing without cause to fulfil his contract; for the plaintiff may obtain an order for the estate to be resold and for the purchaser to pay, as well the expenses arising from the non-completion of the purchase, the application, and the resale, as also any deficiency in price arising upon the second sale. This order was made by Lord Cottenham in Harding v. Harding, 4 Myln. & Cr. 514, after consultation with the other judges of the court; and although in that case the purchaser was a defendant in the cause, it does not seem that that fact was considered as necessary in order to enable such an order to be made." In Campbell v. Gardner, 3 Stockton (11 N.J. Eq.) 423, 425, it was held that after a sale upon an execution out of a court of chancery, and a delivery of the deed, the court may, upon a proper cause made, open a sale upon a petition, and it is not a valid objection to this course that the deed has became a matter of record. If a resale is ordered, the court may require the first purchaser to release to the purchaser on the resale all the title he may have acquired, so that the title may stand upon the record wholly disembarrassed. See Conover v. Walling, 2 McCarter (15 N.J. Eq.) 173.

[ 127 U.S. Page 528]

     As the court below committed no error to the prejudice of the appellant in the mode of the procedure, we have to consider whether it disallowed any substantial equity to which he was entitled. The equity of the appellant, then asserted and here renewed, arises upon his construction of the orders and decrees of the court. The decree of March 1, 1882, upon the authority of which the deed was executed and delivered to the purchaser, and which directed that a lien should be reserved therein for the unpaid purchase money until the same is fully paid off and discharged, also directed the commissioners to settle with the purchaser upon his application, so far as the bonds for the purchase money had already matured, or as the same should thereafter mature, "by crediting upon the said bonds the amounts to which the said William A. Stuart is entitled to credit for the liens held by him, as recognized by the previous decrees of this court establishing the order and priority of liens, and by receiving from him in cash so much of the amount of said bonds as may be going to other lien holders." And the commissioners were "also authorized to cancel and deliver to said William A. Stuart any one or more of his said bonds, whether the same have matured or not, on being satisfied that the said Stuart is then holder and owner of all the claims payable out of the proceeds of such bond or bonds."

It appears that in pursuance of this authority, the commissioners of sale, on October 20, 1883, received from Stuart certain securities designated by reference to the list and classification contained in the master's report of April 21, 1876, specifying the amount of the principal sum represented by each, but without any calculation of interest, or any statement of the aggregate amount which on account thereof was to be credited on the bonds of the purchaser given for the purchase money. The language of the receipt given by the commissioners is: "Received of W. A. Stuart the above securities, which are applied first to the discharge of the three purchase-money bonds of said Stuart first falling due, given for the Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs property sold by the United States District Court, at Charleston, the said bonds

[ 127 U.S. Page 529]

     being for $61,290 each, and bearing interest from March 31, 1880, and which are this day delivered to said Stuart. The amount covered by this list of securities, after discharging the three bonds aforesaid, is to be by us credited on the fourth bond of said Stuart of like amount with each of the other three and bearing interest from same time."

The specific claim made by the appellant is, that he is entitled to have these securities credited on his purchase-money bonds at an amount in the aggregate ascertained by a calculation of simple interest, upon the face of the principal sum, from the time when interest began to accrue and became in default until the date of their application to the payment of the purchase-money bonds, with the exception of the instances where by previous decrees interest upon interest had been expressly allowed; whereas the rule adopted by the court by the order of January 5, 1884, required the commissioners of sale, in distributing the proceeds of sale, and in paying therewith the debts reported and decreed to be paid, to calculate interest upon ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.