THOMPSON V. BOWMAN, 73 U. S. 316 (1867)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Thompson v. Bowman, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 316 316 (1867)

Thompson v. Bowman

73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 316


1. The fact that real property is held in the joint names of several owners, or in the name of one for the benefit of all, is no evidence of partnership between the parties with respect to it. In the absence of proof of its purchase with partnership funds for partnership purposes, such property is deemed to be held by them as joint tenants or as tenants in common, and none of the several owners possesses authority to sell or bind the interest of his co-owners.

2. If persons are co-partners in the ownership of land, such land being the only subject matter of the partnership, the partnership will be terminated by a sale of the land. Hence the declarations of one of the partners made subsequently to the sale are not evidence to bind the other owners.

Thompson, Ford, and Powell, being owners of real estate in Texas, Powell agreed with one Bowman, that if he would find a purchaser, he should have a commission of ten percent on a sale. Bowman found a purchaser, and the commission

Page 73 U. S. 317

not being paid, he brought suit for it, the suit in the court below.

In charging the jury, the court assumed, without any proof upon the point, that the defendants were partners in the ownership of the property, and instructed them that each partner was the agent of all the partners composing the firm of which he is a member, and had a right to sell all the partnership property, real or personal, and to employ agents to sell it and to bind the firm by an agreement to give such agent a commission for selling it. It allowed a witness produced for that purpose to prove

"that it was admitted by the defendant Powell, after the lands belonging to the defendants, in respect of which the commissions sued for in this cause are claimed, had all been sold, that he, the said Powell, had agreed, prior to the said sale, to pay the plaintiff ten percent upon the amount of the proceeds of the sale of the said lands, if he, the plaintiff, would find or introduce a purchaser for them, to the introduction of which testimony, the defendant Thompson, by his counsel, objected, but the court overruled the objection."

The case was here on exception to the admission of this testimony and to the charge.

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