BROWN V. LAKE SUPERIOR IRON CO., 134 U. S. 530 (1890)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. Lake Superior Iron Co., 134 U.S. 530 (1890)

Brown v. Lake Superior Iron Company

No. 227

Argued and submitted March 24, 1890

Decided April 7, 1890

134 U.S. 530


An insolvent corporation, with large properties scattered in different states, having, for the purpose of keeping those properties together as a whole, assented to the filing of a creditors' bill by three creditors (the debts of two of them not having matured and no execution having been issued on that of the third), and having assented to the appointment of a receiver under that bill, and having for nine months lain inactive while the receiver was managing the property and assuming liabilities in reducing it to possession, cannot, at the expiration of that time, when the great majority of its creditors have become parties to the suit and its property is about to be ratably distributed by the court among all its creditors,

Page 134 U. S. 531

interpose the objection of want of jurisdiction on the ground that a court of equity could not obtain jurisdiction when the plaintiff's creditors had plain, adequate and complete remedies at the common law, or that their debts had not been converted into judgments, or that no execution had issued and been returned nulla bona -- whatever weight might have been given to those defenses if interposed in the first instance.

The maxim that "he who seeks equity must do equity" is applicable to the defendant as well as to the complainant.

Good faith and early assertion of rights are as essential on the part of a defendant in equity as they are on the part of the complainant.

In equity. The case is stated in the opinion.

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