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U.S. Supreme Court

Raimond v. Terrebonne Parish, 132 U.S. 192 (1889)

Raimond v. Terrebonne Parish

No. 88

Argued November 12, 1889

Decided November 25, 1889

132 U.S. 192


Either a statement of facts by the parties or a finding of facts by the circuit court is strictly analogous to a special verdict, and must state the ultimate facts of the case, presenting questions of law only, and not be a recital of evidence or of circumstances which may tend to prove the ultimate facts or from which they may be inferred.

This was an action by a citizen of Mississippi against a parish in Louisiana upon certain bonds and coupons, amounting, with interest, to more than $5,000 in value, alleged in the petition and denied in the answer to have been issued in accordance with the statute of Louisiana of March 23, 1874, No. 74, and to have been purchased by the plaintiff in good faith, and before maturity.

After the case had been tried by the circuit court, pursuant to an agreement of counsel in open court to waive the intervention of a jury, and judgment for the defendant had been rendered, but not signed, and pending a motion for a new trial, the counsel of the parties filed an agreement in writing, waiving a jury and submitting the case to the decision of the court upon what they called a "statement of facts," and stipulating that

"the court shall find the facts in accordance therewith, and change [charge?] the law so that a bill of exceptions may be made up or error be assigned to the supreme court."

That "statement of facts" consisted of a description of the instruments sued on; a reference to the plaintiff's deposition on file, testifying to the circumstances under which he purchased them; an abstract of the testimony of another witness

Page 132 U. S. 193

for the plaintiff to those circumstances, and a statement of the proof offered by the defendant as to the circumstances under which the bonds were issued.

The court, after setting forth the statement so filed, added this finding:

"The court further finds that it was admitted on the trial herein that, as far as the facts were stated in the case of Rabasse v. Police Jury of Terrebonne Parish, in the opinion of Mr. Justice Manning, reported in 30 La.Ann. 287, they were a correct statement of the facts of this case, though each party claimed that there existed additional facts beyond those stated in said opinion."

The court found as conclusions of law

"that the construction given to the statute authorizing the issue of bonds for the debts of said parish should in this cause, and as to the points determined in said cause by the supreme court of this state -- i.e., Rabasse v. The Parish -- be deemed and held as the construction of a municipal law, and not as that of a commercial law, and is therefore binding upon this court, and further that if said construction should be deemed and held as that of a commercial law, then the court adopts it as a just and proper inference from the facts of the case,"

and "that the petition herein should be dismissed, and that there be judgment for the defendant."

The court thereupon signed the judgment previously rendered, which was as follows:

"The parties in this cause having in open court waived the intervention of a jury and submitted the cause to the court on the facts set forth in the opinion by Mr. Justice Manning in Rabasse v. Parish of Terrebonne, 30 La.Ann. 287, and the court having considered the said agreed statement of facts and being advised in the premises, finds the issues of law raised by the pleadings in favor of the defendant, and, for the reasons assigned by the court in the opinion this day read and filed, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed, both the circuit and district judges concurring, that there be judgment in favor of the defendant, the Parish of Terrebonne, with costs, and against the demands of the plaintiff, Peter Raimond."

28 F.7d 3.

Page 132 U. S. 194

The plaintiff, without tendering a bill of exceptions, sued out this writ of error.

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