GOODMAN V. NIBLACK, 102 U. S. 556 (1880)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Goodman v. Niblack, 102 U.S. 556 (1880)

Goodman v. Niblack

102 U.S. 556


1. A., who had a contract with the United States, agreed with B., in 1847, that the latter should perform it and that the profits should be equally divided between them. Thereupon they and C. executed an instrument in which the agreement was recited, and A., for the due fulfillment thereof, assigned the contract to C. as trustee. A controversy having arisen as to the amount due upon the contract, Congress, in 1870, authorized C. as such trustee to sue the United States therefor, and subsequently made an appropriation to pay the judgment which he recovered. Held that as the assignment was thus recognized by the government, the parties to the agreement and those claiming under them are precluded from setting up that the contract was not assignable.

2. A. made in 1860 an assignment for the benefit of his creditors, which included all his rights, credits, effects, and property of every description. Held that the assignment, although it covered whatever might be due to him under his contract with the government, was not within the prohibition of the Act of Feb. 26, 1853, 10 Stat. 170, reenacted in sec. 3477, Rev.Stat., nor in violation of public policy.

3. Spofford v. Kirk, 97 U. S. 484, and Erwin v. United States, 97 U. S. 392, cited and examined.

4. Where a bill is filed to enforce a claim or lien upon a specific fund within reach of the court, and such of the defendants as are neither inhabitants of nor found within the district do not voluntarily appear, the circuit court has jurisdiction to adjudicate upon their right to, or interest in, the fund, if they be notified of the pendency of the suit by service or publication, in the mode prescribed by sec. 738 of the Revised Statutes.

5. In such a case, where it appears by the bill that certain nonresidents are indispensable parties, and they are not made parties, the bill is bad on demurrer, and should be dismissed without prejudice.

Page 102 U. S. 557

This was a bill in chancery filed by Charles Goodman against William E. Niblack, administrator de bonis non of Albert G. Sloo, deceased. A demurrer to it was sustained, and Goodman appealed.

The case is fully stated in the opinion of the Court.

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