Bank v. Partee/Dissent Miller

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Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

99 U.S. 325

Bank  v.  Partee

MR. JUSTICE MILLER dissenting.

I dissent from the judgment of the court in this case, and especially from that part of the opinion which holds that the judgment against Mrs. Partee and her husband, under which the land in question was sold, was absolutely void.

It is to be remembered that the question is not whether such a judgment would be held errorneous on an appeal from that judgment, but whether it can be held absolutely void when assailed collaterally in another action, where it is relied upon as the foundation of a title based on a sale under execution issued on the judgment.

Mrs. Partee was sued jointly with her husband. Both by the common law and by the law of all the States, a married woman could sue or be sued by joining her husband with her. The statutes of Mississippi, where this judgment was rendered, largely increased the liability of married women to be sued beyond what it was at common law. It made her liable, out of her separate estate, for supplies to the farm owned or cultivated by her, for any debt contracted with reference to her own property, whether the contract was made with the consent of her husband or not. In the case in which the judgment is held void, she signed a joint note with her husband, her name being signed before his; and she was sued with him on that note, and personally served with process. She has never denied the validity of that judgment, or sought to set it aside or vacate its force. Other persons, not parties to that suit, now come into court and say that all that was done was void because it does not appear affirmatively, by the record, that the note on which the suit was brought was a contract concerning her private property. That was a matter which, if it were true, should have been pleaded as a defence. She was subject personally to the jurisdiction of the court. Her contracts were subjects of which the court had jurisdiction. It had jurisdiction to enforce those contracts by sale of her individual property. The note on which she was sued had every indication that it was her individual contract, as it no doubt was, and that her husband's name was placed there to show his consent.

To hold that persons not interested in that contract, nor parties to the suit, can now come in and treat the judgment as absolutely void, on its face, is such a departure from all the principles on which the jurisdiction of the court is determined, that even the authority of the courts of Mississippi should not, in my opinion, control us in the matter.


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).