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U.S. Supreme Court

Hewit v. Berlin Machine Works, 194 U.S. 296 (1904)

Hewit v. Berlin Machine Works

No. 228

Argued April 18, 1904

Decided May 16, 1904

194 U.S. 296


A trustee in bankruptcy gets no better title than that which the bankrupt had and is not a subsequent purchaser, in good faith, within the meaning of § 112 of chapter 418, of the laws of 1897 of New York. And as the vendor's title under a conditional sale is good against the bankrupt, it is good also against the trustee.

Loren M. Hewit, as trustee in bankruptcy of Clara E.

Page 194 U. S. 297

Kellogg, applied to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York for an order of sale of certain real estate, buildings, and machinery. Notice to creditors was given, and thereafter the Berlin Machine Works, a corporation, filed its petition, praying, on grounds set forth, to be declared the owner of certain machines included in the property, and be awarded possession thereof, and that they be exempted from sale, or that it be determined that the corporation is entitled to be first paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the machines, and to share in dividends on any unpaid balance. The matter was heard before the referee, who held that the corporation had lost the legal title to the machines, and must come in as an unsecured creditor. The corporation petitioned the district court for a review of the referee's decision, the referee made his certificate and return, and the matter was submitted to the court, which thereafter reversed the decision of the referee and adjudged that the Berlin Machine Works had a good and valid title to the machines, and that the same be delivered to it, or, in the event that they had been disposed of, that the trustee pay over to the Berlin Machine Works the sum of $1,200, the value of the machines. 112 F. 52.

The trustee then filed a petition in the district court, making application for revision and review in matter of law, and appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from the judgment of the district court, and the district court ordered

"that a superintendency and revision and review in matter of law and an appeal be and the same hereby is allowed in the above-entitled proceedings to the Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit of the United States."

The circuit court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court, 118 F.1d 17, and thereupon an appeal was allowed to this Court.

Page 194 U. S. 299

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