HARRELL V. BEALL, 84 U. S. 590 (1873)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Harrell v. Beall, 84 U.S. 17 Wall. 590 590 (1873)

Harrell v. Beall

84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 590


Where a question brought to this Court is wholly one of the weight of evidence, involving no controverted proposition of law, this Court will not, under the pressure of business which now rests upon it, consider itself justified in reproducing in its opinion the facts on which its judgment rests. It will content itself with announcing fully its conclusions upon the evidence.

Beall brought a suit in chancery in the court below, in his character of assignee in bankruptcy of one Jarrell, against a certain Harrell and one Echols, to set aside what he charged to be a fraudulent sale to Echols of the bankrupt's property, and to have the property subjected to the payment of debts in the bankruptcy proceeding.

The material allegations of the bill were that the bankrupt, in a state of insolvency, procured the sale of valuable real estate belonging to him, under judgments which were a lien on it, and that by collusion with Echols, who was his clerk and agent, it was bought in by Echols for a merely nominal sum, one out of all proportion to its real value; that the purchase was made really for Jarrell, and the money, if any, which was actually paid on the execution sale was furnished by Jarrell; that the title to the land and some notes for rent remained in Echols's name until he disposed of them, as it was charged that he had done, to the defendant, Harrell; that Harrell purchased with notice of the fraudulent conduct of Echols, and for a sum far below the value of the property purchased.

The defense of Harrell was that there was no fraud in the original purchase by Echols, and if there was any, that he, Harrell, was an innocent purchaser for value without notice.

The question was thus one of fact only.

Upon a large quantity of evidence, which when coming to this Court filled a transcript or record book that covered

Page 84 U. S. 591

seventy-one 8vo. pages in a style that would make at least one hundred and twenty-five pages like the body of these Reports, the court below considered that the sale to Echols was a plain fraud, and that if Harrell, who had purchased from Echols, failed to perceive that it was so, his failure arose from a culpable inattention to what he was bound to attend to. That court accordingly decreed in favor of the assignee. Harrell alone appealed.

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