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U.S. Supreme Court

Bosworth v. St. Louis Terminal R. Ass'n, 174 U.S. 182 (1899)

Bosworth v. St. Louis Terminal Railroad Association

No. 211

Submitted January 25, 1899

Decided May 1, 1899

174 U.S. 182


A claim was presented against the estate of the Peoria and St. Louis Railway Company in the hands of a receiver, which the receiver disputed. After reference to a master, and his report stating the facts, an order was entered directing the receiver to pay the claim. He appealed from this decision to the court of appeals. The record on appeal contained the order of reference, the findings of fact, the report of the master, and the exceptions of the receiver. The court of appeals directed the appeal to be dismissed. Held, that the proper entry should have been an affirmance of the decree, rather than a dismissal.

A receiver may defend, both in the court appointing him and by appeal, the estate in his possession against all claims which are antagonistic to the rights of both parties to the suit.

He may likewise defend the estate against all claims which are antagonistic to the rights of both parties to the suit, subject to the limitation that he may not in such defense question any order or decree of the court distributing burdens or apportioning rights between the parties to the suit, or any order or decree resting upon the discretion of the court appointing him.

He cannot question any subsequent order or decree of the court distributing the estate in his hands between the parties to the suit.

He may appeal from an order or decree which affects his personal rights, provided it is not an order resting in the discretion of the court.

His right to appeal from an allowance of a claim against the estate does not necessarily fail when the receivership is terminated to the extent of surrendering the property in the possession of the receiver.

The facts in this case are briefly these: on September 21, 1893, the Mercantile Trust Company, of New York, filed its bill of complaint in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Illinois against the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railway Company, praying foreclosure of a mortgage and the appointment of a receiver. On the same day, an order was entered appointing the present appellant receiver of that road. Among other things, the order of appointment

Page 174 U. S. 183

directed the receiver to pay

"all claims for materials and supplies which have been incurred in the operation and maintenance of said property during the six months last past, and all ticket trackage traffic balances due from said railroad."

The plaintiff, the Mercantile Trust Company, objected to this part of the order, but, after argument, the objection was overruled. On May 27, 1895, the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis filed an intervening petition, claiming that it had performed labor and furnished materials for the defendant railroad company within the six months named in the order of appointment. The receiver answered, denying the claim. The matter was referred to a master, who found in favor of the petitioner, and on July 30, 1896, the following decree was entered:

"It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed by the court that the receiver herein pay to the intervener, the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, the said sum of eight thousand one hundred and sixty-two dollars and eleven cents ($8, 162.11) out of the income of said receivership, if any such income is in his hands, and, in case he has not the funds in hand for this purpose, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the same be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the mortgaged premises in preference to the mortgage debt, and until paid the same is hereby declared a lien upon the said mortgaged estate superior to the lien of the mortgage herein."

The receiver appealed from this decree to the court of appeals, but on June 8, 1897, that court dismissed the appeal. 80 F.9d 9. Thereafter a certiorari was issued, and under that writ the case was brought to this Court.

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