RANKIN & SCHATZELL V. SCOTT, 25 U. S. 177 (1827)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rankin & Schatzell v. Scott, 25 U.S. 12 Wheat. 177 177 (1827)

Rankin & Schatzell v. Scott

25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 177


The lien of a judgment on the lands of the debtor, created by statute and limited to a certain period of time, is unaffected by the circumstance of the plaintiff not proceeding upon it (during that period) until a subsequent lien has been obtained and carried into execution.

Universal principle that a prior lien is entitled to prior satisfaction out of the thing it binds unless the lien be intrinsically defective or is displaced by some act of the party holding it, which shall postpone him at law or in equity.

Mere delay in proceeding to execution is not such an act.

Distinction created by statute as to executions against personal chattels and reasons on which it is founded.

This was an action of ejectment brought in the court below by the defendant in error, Scott, to recover the possession of a house and lot in the Town of St. Louis. At the trial, a special verdict was found stating that in the year 1816, John Little married Marie Antoinete Labadie, who was then seized in fee of the house and lot in question. She died without issue, leaving the husband seized in fee of a moiety of the premises. He soon afterwards died without issue and intestate. In April, 1821, judgment was rendered in the circuit court of the county where the premises lay against the administrator of Little in favor of Schatzell and another for $2,747.19. In March following, another judgment was rendered against the same in favor of B. Pratte, for $1,241. Execution was immediately issued upon the latter judgment, and the premises in question sold under it to Scott, the plaintiff in ejectment; and soon afterwards another execution issued upon the first judgment, and the same premises were sold to Schatzell, one of the defendants below, and conveyed to him by the sheriff's deed. Rankin, who was tenant to Little in his lifetime, remained in possession of the premises after his death,

Page 25 U. S. 178

and attorned to Schatzell. The question raised upon these facts was whether the sale by the sheriff under the second judgment and first execution devested the lien of the first judgment? The court below determined it in the affirmative, and the cause was brought by writ of error before this Court.

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