Duel v. Hollins/Dissent Pitney

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Court Documents
Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

241 U.S. 523

Duel  v.  Hollins

 Argued: May 4 and 5, 1916. --- Decided: June 5, 1916

Mr. Justice Pitney, with whom concurred Mr. Justice Hughes, dissenting:

In Gorman v. Littlefield, 229 U.S. 19, 57 L. ed. 1047, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 690, the reasoning embodied in the following extract from the opinion (p. 24) was, as I take it, essential to vindicate the conclusion reached by the court: 'It is said, however, that the shares in this particular case are not so identified as to come within the rule. But it does appear that at the time of bankruptcy certificates were found in the bankrupt's possession in an amount greater than those which should have been on hand for this customer, and the significant fact is shown that no other customer claimed any right in those shares of stock. It was, as we have seen, the duty of the broker, if he sold the shares specifically purchased for the appellant, to buy others of like kind, and to keep on hand, subject to the order of the customer, certificates sufficient for the legitimate demands upon him. If he did this, the identification of particular certificates is unimportant.'

In the present case, it does not appear that at the time of the inception of the bankruptcy proceedings certificates were found in the brokers' possession equal in amount to those which should have been on hand; several customers are laying claim to the shares that were on hand; and it affirmatively appears that the brokers, having sold the shares specifically purchased for these customers, had not bought others of like kind, nor kept on hand certificates sufficient for the claims of the customers upon them. Not only was no stock kept on hand to answer the claims aggregating 280 shares, but it affirmatively appears that the 100 shares that were on hand were not acquired with intent to make restitution. The deposition of Allaire, the only man having knowledge upon the subject, was that certificate No. 29,373, representing 100 shares of Amalgamated Copper stock, 'was received from the Stock Exchange Clearing House in the usual course of business as representing the balance of Amalgamated Copper stock due said firm on balance on said date,'-the date being one unconnected with any transaction for account of the appellants or either of them.

It is one thing to infer an intent to make restitution to a customer when the acts have been done that are necessary to effect restitution; it is an entirely different matter to infer an intent to make restitution when no restitution has in fact been made. The presumption of an intent to restore fractional interests in this case must rest on the merest fiction; and such a fiction ought not to be indulged in cases of this character, where it will inevitably result in creating a series of arbitrary preferences, contrary to the equity of the bankruptcy act.

I think the decree of the Circuit Court of Appeals (135 C. C. A. 312, 219 Fed. 544) ought to be affirmed, and am authorized to say that Mr. Justice Hughes concurs in this dissent.


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).