Wolfe v. Lewis
THIS was an appeal from the District Court of the United States for the northern district of Alabama, sitting in equity.
The present appeal was from a collateral decree of the District Court, under the following circumstances:
Lewis had been for many years the attorney of Thomas A. Ronalds, the deceased testator of the present appellants. In the course of his practice, he had filed a bill in chancery to foreclose a mortgage, and thus obtain payment of a debt which was due to his client. The money was voluntarily paid, without a sale, and brought into court. Lewis then claimed a lien upon that fund, not only for his professional services in that particular case, but also for a general balance which he alleged to be due to him from his client, upon a general settlement of accounts between them. At November term, 1848, the court passed the following order:
Order referring matters of account between Lewis and his clients to the Standing Master, to report, &c., at November, 1848 and Order to continue.
'Come the parties by their solicitors, and, by their consent, it is ordered by the court that all matters of account between John H. Lewis, Esq., and his late client, the said Thomas A. Ronalds, deceased, and between the said John H. Lewis and the said John D. Wolfe, executor, and Maria D. L. Ronalds, executrix, of the last will and testament of the said Thomas A. Ronalds, deceased, be referred to the standing master in chancery; and it is further ordered, that said master report a statement thereof, and of all his proceedings relative thereto, to the next term of this court. And it is further ordered, that this cause be continued.'
Under this order, the master went into a detailed examination of all the transactions between Lewis and his client for many preceding years, and made the report which is mentioned in the opinion of the court. From this report, when confirmed by the court, the present appellants appealed.
The case was argued by Mr. Thomas for the appellants, and by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, jr., and Mr. Reverdy Johnson, for the appellee.
The arguments being chiefly directed to the merits of the case, into which this court did not enter, it is not deemed advisable to insert them.
Mr. Justice McLEAN delivered the opinion of the court.