Bank of Tennessee v. Horn/Opinion of the Court

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Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

58 U.S. 157

Bank of Tennessee  v.  Horn

The facts in this case, as they appear on the record, are as follows:--

Peter Corney, jr., who resided in New Orleans, on the 7th of November, 1851, filed a petition under the insolvent law of Louisiana, in the second district court, declaring his inability to meet his engagements, and praying that a cession of his property might be accepted by the court, for the benefit of his creditors, and that in the mean time all proceedings against him should be stayed. To this petition, a schedule of his property was annexed, in which it is apparent that the lot in question was intended to be included, but which is so erroneously described that it can hardly be identified, by the schedule alone, as a part of his estate.

The district court, on the day the petition was presented, accepted the cession, and ordered a meeting of the creditors on the 13th on December following. The meeting was held accordingly, and a syndic appointed, and a report of the proceedings made to the court. On the 8th of March following the court anthorized a sale of the property now in dispute, by the syndic; and at that sale, in May, 1852, the defendant in error became the purchaser.

The insolvent, at the time of his petition, was indebted to the Bank, the plaintiff in error, in a large sum of money, for which a suit was then pending in the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Louisiana. The Bank proceeded in its suit and obtained judgment; but the judgment was rendered after the cession had been accepted and the syndic appointed by the creditors. The Bank, however, issued an execution, under which this property was seized by the marshal, in February, 1852, and sold in the April following. The Bank was the purchaser at this sale, and obtained possession of the lot under it.

The defendant in error, after his purchase from the syndic, brought suit for the premises, and upon a trial in the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Louisiana, recovered a judgment; the court being of opinion that the property in question vested in the creditors, upon the cession and acceptance above mentioned, and was not liable to seizure under the execution which issued upon the judgment afterwards obtained by the plaintiff in error.

By an act of the legislature of Louisiana, passed on the 29th of March, 1826, all the property of an insolvent petitioner mentioned in his schedule is fully vested in the creditors, from and after the cession and acceptance; and the syndic is directed to take possession of it, and to administer and sell it, for the benefit of the creditors. At the time, therefore, when the Bank obtained judgment against Corney, the insolvent, he had no interest in the lot in question upon which the judgment could be a lien, or which could be seized upon, on execution issuing on that judgment. The right and title to it had, by operation of the law of the State, vested in the creditors, to be administered by the syndic, as their trustee.

Nor can the imperfect or erroneous description in the schedule have any influence on the decision. For it is well settled, by decisions of the courts of Louisiana, that all the property of the insolvent, whether included in his schedule or not, passes to his creditors by the cession. 4 Ann. Rep. 492, 493; 11 Louisiana Rep. 521; 8 Rob. 128; 9 Ib. 223. Consequently, if, under the ambiguous or erroneous description in the schedule, this lot must be regarded as omitted, it still passed by the cession, and Corney had no remaining interest in it.

Neither can there be any constitutional objection to this law of the State. The validity of a state law of this description has been fully recognized in the case of Peale v. Phipps and others, 14 How. 368, and in the previous cases therein referred to, and cannot now be considered as an open question.

We see no error, therefore, in the judgment of the circuit court, and it must be affirmed.

This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Louisiana, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, it is now here ordered and adjudged by this court that the judgment of the said circuit court in this cause be and the same is hereby affirmed with costs.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).