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U.S. Supreme Court

Hubbert v. Campbellsville Lumber Co., 191 U.S. 70 (1903)

Hubbert v. Campbellsville Lumber Co.

No. 31

Argued October 20, 1903

Decided November 9, 1903

191 U.S. 70


A statute authorizing an issue of municipal bonds was amended by an act increasing the amount authorized and also giving special remedies in addition to, and not in lieu of, those given by the original act, but directing that the bonds "shall on their face stipulate" that the holders are entitled to the remedies contained in the amending, as well as in the original act. The bonds were issued after the amending act was passed, and contained a statement that they were issued in pursuance of the original act and only for the amount authorized thereby. They did not contain any reference to the amending act or stipulation that the holders were entitled to the remedies given thereby.

Held that, in the absence of such stipulation, the holders were not entitled to the remedies given only by the amending act.

On March 18, 1878, the General Assembly of Kentucky passed an act authorizing the County of Taylor to compromise its debts and issue new bonds of the county not exceeding in amount $125,000, and also authorizing the circuit court, in case of a judgment on any of such bonds and a refusal by the county within thirty days to levy a tax sufficient to pay it, to make an order, based on the last previous assessment, levying a tax and appointing a collector. On February 27, 1882, an amendatory act was passed increasing the issuable amount to $150,000, providing that any judgment rendered thereon should constitute a lien on all the real and personal property in the county subject to taxation, and also that, if the court rendering the judgment should be of opinion that such serious obstruction was likely to be offered as would materially delay the enforcement of the judgment, it should refer the matter to a commissioner, with instructions to ascertain and report the amount proportionally necessary for the holders or owners of any such property to pay in order to raise

Page 191 U. S. 71

promptly a sum sufficient to pay the judgment. Personal judgments were authorized against the parties found to be the owners of property within the limits of the county, to be enforced by executions as other personal judgments. Section 10, vol. 1, c. 306, p. 558, reads as follows:

"SEC. 10. The bonds to be issued under the act to which this is an amendment shall on their face stipulate that the holders of any of them or any coupon thereof shall be entitled to the remedies for the collection of the same herein and in the act to which this is an amendment provided for."

Bonds were issued by the county, some of which passed into the possession of the plaintiff, who brought suit and obtained judgment against the county in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky.

The bonds did not contain the stipulation referred to in section 10, but did contain the following recital:

"This is one of an issue amounting in all to $125,000, authorized by an Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky approved March 18, 1878."

Each bond also bore the following endorsement:

"Issued by authority of an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Kentucky approved March 18, 1878."

On application for further relief, the circuit court awarded to the plaintiff the benefit of the special provisions of the amendatory act of 1882, but the circuit court of appeals held that he was not entitled to them. 112 F.7d 8. Thereupon the case was brought here on certiorari. 186 U.S. 485.

Page 191 U. S. 75

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