Shaw v. Bill/Opinion of the Court

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Shaw v. Bill
Opinion of the Court by Stephen Johnson Field

United States Supreme Court

95 U.S. 10

Shaw  v.  Bill

It seems from the record, that, when the petition of Shaw for the appointment of a receiver was presented to the court, Mr. Hendricks, with others, appeared as special counsel for the company, and moved its dismissal. Subsequently, Mr. Hendricks appeared as counsel for the trustee in the proceedings on the supplemental bill for the foreclosure of the mortgages, and on his motion the default of the company was entered. This second appearance of counsel against the company is regarded by the appellant as exhibiting 'an anomaly in chancery practice' so great as to vitiate the decree. We do not perceive any anomaly or irregularity or impropriety in the conduct of the counsel. He might very well have appeared for the company to defeat a petition of a single creditor asking for the appointment of a receiver of its property, and yet subsequently have appeared for the trustee to foreclose its mortgages. There was nothing in the duties required on the motion which in any way conflicted with the duties required in the subsequent proceedings. There is not even a colorable pretext for calling in question the propriety of the action of counsel.

The fact that process of subpoena was not issued upon the supplemental bill is of no consequence. Such process is only necessary where new parties are brought in. The supplemental bill is a mere adjunct to the original bill, and, where the parties have already been served, no further subpoena for them is required. In this case, the company was ruled to answer; and the new parties appeared by counsel, and both demurred and answered. The fact that leave was granted upon motion of counsel to issue a subpoena against the company some months after its default had been entered, does not alter the case. Nothing appears to have been done upon the leave, and it was probably asked inadvertently.

The position that the appellants' demurrer to the supplemental bill should have been sustained, because it did not aver a demand of payment at the place where the bonds were payable, is without merit. No such ground is stated in the demurrer, which is special; and, had it been, it would have been unavailing. The insolvency of the company and its want of funds at the place designated appear from the allegations of the bill; and, where such is the fact, no demand at the place is required. The law does not exact in such a case the performance of a fruitless act.

The objection that the decree covers property not embraced or intended to be embraced by the mortgages is equally untenable. The terms of the mortgages are as broad and comprehensive as could be used. They embrace all existing property of the company, except such surplus lands as were not required for the roadway, depots, and stations, and other uses of the road, and all its future property, both such as might be purchased with the proceeds of the bonds issued and such as might be acquired by other means. The language used is, 'all the following, present, and in future to be acquired property of the parties of the first part' pertaining to the road; 'that is to say, their road made and to be made, including the right of way and land occupied thereby, together with the superstructure and tracks thereon, and all rails and other materials used therein or procured therefor, inclusive of the iron rails purchased or to be purchased or paid for with the above-described bonds, or the money obtained therefor, and the machinery purchased with the same; bridges, viaducts, culverts, fences, depot-grounds and buildings thereon, engines, tenders, cars, tools, materials, machinery, and all other personal property, right thereto or interest therein pertaining as aforesaid, together with the tolls, rents, or income to be had or levied therefrom, and all franchises, rights, and privileges of the said parties of the first part of, in, to, or concerning the same;' with a proviso that the surplus lands mentioned might be sold.

The reference made in this description to the property which might be afterwards purchased with the bonds issued, does not operate as a limitation of the lien of the mortgage to such future-acquired property, but only to remove any doubt that might otherwise possibly arise whether the property thus purchased would also go to increase the security offered. We do not deem it of any moment whether the rolling-stock and machinery in use by the company at the date of the decree were acquired with the proceeds of the bonds or with the subsequent earnings of the company. A mortgage by a railroad company which covers, in the terms of the two mortgages in suit, its engines, cars, and machinery, carries not only the cars, engines, and machinery in existence at the date of the mortgage, but such as take their place, or are subsequently added to them by the company, and are in existence at the time of the foreclosure. This kind of property is necessarily undergoing constant wear and consequent destruction; and the mortgages in suit, so far as that property is concerned, would have been of little value if their lien did not extend to such as took its place, or was added to it by the company. Pennock v. Coe, 23 How. 117; Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore R. R. Co. v. Woelpper, 64 Penn. St. 366; Phillips v. Winsolow, 18 B. Mon. (Ky.) 431.

We perceive no error in the rulings of the court below.

Decree affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE HUNT did not sit in this case, nor take part in its decision.


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).