TRUSTEES V. GREENOUGH, 105 U. S. 527 (1881)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881)

Trustees v. Greenough

105 U.S. 527


1. An appeal lies from a decree in equity for costs when they are directed to be paid not by a particular party, but out of a fund in the hands or under the control of the court.

2. A decree made by a circuit court of the United States directing that the complainant be paid his costs and expenses out of a fund in court -- the fund in the meantime, remaining in the court in course of administration -- is pro tanto a final decree from which, if their amount be sufficient, an appeal will lie.

3. A trust estate must bear the necessary expenses of its administration.

4. One jointly interested with others in a common fund who in good faith maintains the necessary litigation to save it from waste and secure its proper application is entitled in equity to the reimbursement of his costs as between solicitor and client, either out of the fund itself or by proportionate contributions from those who receive the benefit of the litigation.

5. Where bonds issued by a corporation are secured by a trust fund which the trustee is wasting or misapplying or which he refuses or neglects to apply to the payment of them, a holder of a portion of them who in good faith files a bill to secure a due application of the fund and succeeds in bringing it under the control of the court for the common benefit of the bondholders is entitled to be paid from the fund before its distribution his costs, counsel fees, and necessary expenses of the litigation -- that is to say, his costs as between solicitor and client. A claim, however, for his private expenses, such as traveling fares and hotel bills or for his own time or personal services, cannot be allowed.

6. The practice of allowing to trustees, complainants, and receivers and their counsel large and extravagant counsel fees and commissions payable out of trust funds under the control of the court commented on and disapproved.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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