VATTIER V. HINDE, 32 U. S. 252 (1833)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Vattier v. Hinde, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 252 252 (1833)

Vattier v. Hinde

32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 252


A bill was filed in the Circuit Court of Ohio claiming a conveyance of certain real estate in Cincinnati from the defendants, and after a decree in favor of the complainants and an appeal to the supreme court, the decree of the circuit court was reversed because a certain Abraham Garrison, through whom one of the defendants claimed to have derived title, had not been made a party to the proceedings, and who was at the time of the institution of the same a citizen of the State of Illinois, although the fact of such citizenship did not then appear on the record. Afterwards a supplemental bill was filed in the circuit court, and Abraham Garrison appeared and answered and disclaimed all interest in the case, whereupon the circuit court, with the consent of the complainants, dismissed the bill as to him. By the court.

"If the defendants have distinct interests, so that substantial justice can be done by decreeing for or against one or more of them over whom the court has jurisdiction without affecting the interests of others, its jurisdiction may be exercised as to them. If, when the cause came on for hearing, Abraham Garrison had still been a defendant, a decree might then have been pronounced for or against the other defendants and the bill have been dismissed as to him, if such decree could have been pronounced as to them without affecting his interests. No principle or law is perceived which opposes this course. The incapacity of the court to exercise jurisdiction over Abraham Garrison could not affect their jurisdiction over other defendants, whose interests were not connected with his and from whom he was separated by dismissing the bill as to him."

The cases of Nollan v. Torrance, 9 Wheat. 537, Connolly v. Taylor, 2 Pet. 556, and Cameron v. McRoberts, 3 Wheat. 591, cited and affirmed.

It is the settled practice in the courts of the United States, if the case can be decided on its merits between those who are regularly before them, although other persons not within their jurisdiction may be collaterally or incidentally concerned who must have been made parties if they had been amenable to its process, that these circumstances shall not expel other suitors who have a constitutional and legal right to submit their case to a court of the United States, provided the decree may be made without affecting their interests. This rule has also been adopted by the Court of Chancery in England.

Where the new parties to a proceeding in chancery are the legal representatives of an original party and the proceedings have been revived in their names by the order of the court on a bill of revivor, the settled practice is to use all the testimony which might have been used if no abatement

Page 32 U. S. 253

had occurred. The representatives take the place of those which they represent, and the suit proceeds in a new form, unaffected by the change of name.

Agreements had been made under which depositions taken in other cases where the same questions of title were involved should be read in evidence, and on the hearing in the circuit court, these depositions were read; afterwards, on an appeal to this Court, the decree of the circuit court was reversed, and by the decree of reversal the parties were permitted to proceed de novo. When the case was again beard in the circuit court, the defendant objected to the reading of the depositions, asserting that the decree of reversal annulled the written certificate of the parties for the admission of testimony. By the Court:

"The consent to the depositions was not limited to the first hearing, but was coextensive with the cause. The words in the decree of reversal that the parties may proceed de novo are not equivalent to a dismission of the bill without prejudice, nor could the court have understood them as affecting the testimony in the cause or setting aside the solemn agreement of the parties. The testimony is still admissible to the extent of the agreement."

The rules of law respecting a purchaser without notice are formed for the protection of him who purchases a legal estate and pays the purchase money without a knowledge of the outstanding equity. They do not protect a person who acquires no semblance of title. They apply fully only to the purchaser of the legal estate. Even the purchaser of an equity is bound to take notice of any prior equity.

The bill set forth a title in B.H., the wife of T.H., by direct descent from her brother to herself,, and insisted on this, title to certain real estate. The answer of the defendants resisted the claim, because the land had been conveyed by the complainants before the institution of the suit to A.C. The complainant in his replication admitted the execution of the deed to A.C., but averred that it was made in trust to reconvey the lot to T.H., to be held by him for the use and benefit of B.H., his wife and her heirs, and to enable T.H. to manage and, litigate the said rights, and that A.H., in execution of the trust, made a deed to T.H. The deed was recorded and was exhibited, but it did not state the trust. The rules of the court of chancery will not permit this departure in the replication from the statements of the bill.

The act for regulating processes in the courts of the United States provides that the forms and modes of proceeding in courts of equity and in those of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction shall be according to the principles, rules and usages which belong to courts of equity and to courts of admiralty, respectively, as contradistinguished from courts of common law, subject, however, to alterations by the courts, &c. This act has been generally understood to adopt the principles, rules, and usages of the Court of Chancery of England.

Page 32 U. S. 254

This case was before the Court at January term, 1828, 26 U. S. 1 Pet. 241, on an appeal by the parties who are now appellants. The Court at that term reversed the decree of the Circuit Court of Ohio, because a certain Abraham Garrison had not been made a party in that court, and the cause was remanded

"with instructions to permit the complainants, the appellees, to amend their bill and to make proper parties, and to proceed de novo in the cause from the filing of such amended bill as law and equity might require."

In the circuit court, an amended bill was filed making Abraham Garrison a party, and the parties proceeding to a final hearing, a decree was rendered in favor of the complainants, from which decree, the defendants appealed to this Court.

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