CLAFLIN V. HOUSEMAN, 93 U. S. 130 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Claflin v. Houseman, 93 U.S. 130 (1876)

Claflin v. Houseman

93 U.S. 130


1. Under the Bankrupt Act of March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. 517, the assignee might sue in the state courts to recover the assets of the bankrupt, no exclusive jurisdiction having been given to the courts of the United States. Quaere whether such exclusive jurisdiction is given by the Revised Statutes.

3. The statutes of the United States are as much the law of the land in any state as are those of the state, and although exclusive jurisdiction for their enforcement may be given to the federal courts, yet where it is not given, either expressly or by necessary implication, the state courts, having competent jurisdiction in other respects, may be resorted to.

3. In such cases, the state courts do not exercise a new jurisdiction conferred upon them, but their ordinary jurisdiction, derived from their constitution under the state law.

This action was brought in May, 1872, in the New York Supreme Court, County of Kings, by Julius Houseman, as

Page 93 U. S. 131

assignee in bankruptcy of Comstock and Young, against Horace B. Claflin, under the thirty-fifth section of the Bankrupt Act to recover the sum of $1,935.57, with interest, being the amount collected by Claflin on a judgment against the bankrupts, recovered within four months before the commencement of proceedings in bankruptcy. The ground of the action, as stated in the complaint, was that they (the bankrupts) suffered the judgment to be taken by default, with intent to give Claflin a preference over their other creditors, at a time when they were insolvent and when he knew or had reasonable cause to believe that they were insolvent and that the judgment was obtained in fraud of the bankrupt law. The defendant demurred to the complaint, assigning as cause first that the court had no jurisdiction of the subject of the action; secondly that the complaint did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Judgment was rendered for the plaintiff on the thirteenth day of January, 1873, and was subsequently affirmed both by the general term of the supreme court and by the Court of Appeals. This judgment is brought here by writ of error under the second section of the Act of Feb. 5, 1867, 14 Stat. 385.

Page 93 U. S. 133

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