Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

proviso inserted in section 685. It is conceded that the precise point in controversy has not been determined by the supreme court of North Carolina, and we are therefore to determine the meaning and effect of the statute by such settled rules of interpretation as are applicable.

In the first place, it is to be presumed that the attention of the legislature was called to the differences and to the similarities in the two sections, and that they were designed. If they run in parallel lines, each covering something that the other also covers, and each covering something that the other does not, still the presumption is that the legislature, out of abundant caution, so intended it. Maxw. Interp. St. 199. There is nothing doubtful or obscure in the words of either section. The difficulty arises solely from the fact that the subject-matter of section 685 is in part also covered by section 1255, and the contention is that as to that part the proviso appended to section 685 should be construed as applying also to section 1255. But it is a rule that a proviso is strictly construed, and should be confined to what precedes it, unless it clearly appears to have been intended to apply to other matters also. Suth. St. Const. § 223; Potter, Dwar. St. 272; End. Interp. St. § 186; Wayman v. Southard, 10 Wheat. 30; U. S. v. Dickson, 15 Pet. 141-165. Before, therefore, the proviso appended to section 685 is made to modify and limit section 1255, it must clearly appear that by no other construction can the two sections stand together. In section 685 the legislature declared that any conveyance of property by a corporation should be of no effect as to existing creditors or existing claims for torts, provided the claimants commenced proceedings within 60 days. In section 1255 the legislature declared that thereafter a mortgage of its property or earnings by a corporation should not exempt its property or earnings from execution on any judgment for labor or materials, or for torts by which persons or property was injured. We have in section 685 an enactment which applies to all conveyances and to all creditors and to all torts. In section 1255 we have an enactment which applies only to mortgages, only to creditors for labor and material, and only to torts which injure persons or property. By section 685 the legislature expressed a general intention with regard to a general subject-matter. Section 1255 expresses a particular intention with regard to more restricted subject-matter. The rule is that when a general intention is expressed, and also a particular intention, the enactment expressing the particular intention shall prevail. Maxw. Interp. St. 202; Suth. St. Const. § 153; Potter, Dwar. St. 131; Vatel's Rules, 40, 273; Stockett v. Bird, 18 Md. 481. We are obliged to give full meaning and effect to both sections, if it be reasonably possible, and we think this is done by considering that the legislature has, first, enacted a general rule with regard to all conveyances made by corporations and with regard to all debts owing at the execution of the conveyances; then, with more particularity, it has enacted a special rule with regard to a particular kind of conveyance, to wit, mortgages, and with regard to a particular class of creditors. By the first enactment it declared that conveyances should be of no effect only as to existing creditors, and only as to those who should sue within 60 days; by the second enactment it declared, as to mortgages and as to special creditors, that the mortgages should be of no effect at all. We find nothing repugnant or unusual in these two enactments, and we cannot see how it appears that the legislature did not intend just what the words express in each section. It is as if there was a general law that no conveyance by a corporation should be effective against any debt, provided the creditor sued within 60 days after its recording, and another section provided that, as to debts for labor, no mortgage by a corporation should have any effect at all. In this supposed case there could be no doubt that labor claims would be excepted out of the general proviso requiring actions to be brought within 60 days.

Searching for reasons which might have influenced the legislators to make a distinction between claims of the class mentioned in section 1255, when existing at the recording of the mortgage, as distinguished from those contracted afterwards, we find no reason why the one class should be required to proceed within 60 days and the other not be so limited. Where, as under section 685, only existing claims were allowed to displace the conveyance, and subsequent claims had no such right, it was reasonable that creditors who were going to attack the conveyance should do so promptly, or be shut out; but when, as under section 1255, the mortgaged property was declared liable at all times just as if it had never been mortgaged, there does not appear to us any reason why creditors whose claims were in existence at the recording of the mortgage should be required to proceed more promptly than creditors whose claims arise after the recording of the mortgage. A reason could be suggested why those who become creditors after the recording of the mortgage, and therefore with notice of it, should be less favorably considered than those who become creditors when their debtor's property was free from the recorded incumbrance; but no reason occurs to us for the contrary distinction. So far as any inference can be deduced from the order in which the sections appear in the Code, we find section 1255 to be the later one; and, of two passages in a statute, the later one, being the expression of the later intention, should prevail. Maxw. Interp. St. 188. The wording of section 1255 is very indicative of the intention of the legislature to make it impossible for corporations to execute mortgages which should stand in the way of any judgment for labor or materials, or for torts resulting in injury to persons or property. With respect to a corporation, the legislature can grant to it or withhold from it the power to mortgage its property at all, and in section 1255 it is enacted that corporations “shall not have power to exempt by mortgage” their property or earnings from this class of claims. So far, therefore, as this class of claims is concerned, the mortgage is as if it did not exist. The wisdom of this legislation it is not our province to pass upon, but it may be said, as was suggested in the opinion of the circuit court, that the underlying principle is that doctrine of equity which, with regard to one class of corporations and under careful limitations, recognizes a preference in favor of the labor and supplies which have enabled such corporations to keep going and retain their business and franchises.

Several cases have been cited to us from the decisions of the supreme court of North Carolina, but we do not find that they decide the question involved in this case. Blalock v. Manufacturing Co., 110 N. C. 99, 14 S. E. 501, was not a case of a mortgage, but of a deed of trust for the benefit of creditors. To that character of conveyance section 685 was held to be applicable, and it was held that creditors who failed to bring an action until after 60 days had lost the benefit of that section. Duke v. Markham, 105 N. C. 138, 10 S. E. 1003, was a case of a chattel mortgage made by a corporation, but, at the date of its recording, executions on judgments were already in the hands of the sheriff, who thereupon seized the chattels, notwithstanding the mortgage. The court, under section 685, held the mortgage void as against the executions. It was not necessary. to consider section 1255, and it was not cited. Traders' Nat. Bank v. Lawrence Manuf'g Co., 96 N. C. 298, 3 S. E. 363, was a case before the enactment of the North Carolina Code, and section 1255 was then part of the act of 1879. So far as the act of 1879 and section 1255, which is taken from it, apply to materials furnished to corporations, the supreme court of North Carolina held that it did not apply to machinery purchased out of the state, when personal security alone was looked to and a negotiable security taken, and the court intimated that, so far as the act related to claims for labor or materials, it was in furtherance of the lien enacted by the constitution and statutes in favor of laborers and material men. But the supreme court recognized that the act was intended also to prevent claims against a corporation for torts from being defeated by a mortgage executed by it. Antietam Paper Co. v. Chronicle Pub. Co.; 20 S. E. 366 (decided November 13, 1894) was a case arising under section 1255. In this case the supreme court of North Carolina reaffirmed Traders' Nat. Bank v. Lawrence Manuf'g Co., and held that paper, ink, cuts, and the like, furnished to a publishing company, were not “materials” within the meaning of section 1255. The court held that, not being articles which were attached to or which enhanced the value of the property mortgaged, they were not within the spirit or letter of the section. The court did not have occasion to consider the question of torts, and as torts of the class for which Hudson recovered his judgment in the case in hand are specifically mentioned in section 1255, we cannot perceive how this claim could be held not to be within the letter of the section.

We think the circuit court was right in holding that the mortgage in this case did not exempt the property of the railroad corporation from Hudson's judgment by reason of section 1255, and we do not, therefore, find it necessary to consider whether his suit was brought within the 60 days required by the proviso to section 685. Decree affirmed.

HALSEY et al. v. CHENEY.

(Circuit Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. July 9, 1895.)

No. 168.

PRINCIPAL AND AGENT-TRUSTS-LACHES.

The executors of one D. filed a bill for an accounting against C., alleging that he had obtained control of the affairs of D., an inexperienced woman, and had misappropriated her property, and failed to account. C. denied the charges, and, on the hearing, there was a failure to prove that D. was under C.'s control; and it appeared that while she had had full opportunity for 10 years, while free from C.'s influence, to object to his management, she had never done so, and that C. held vouchers for his most important transactions. Held, that any right to relief which D. or her executors might have had was barred by laches. Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Illinois.

This was a suit for an accounting by Edmund D. Halsey and Ann Caroline Teese, executors of Mary D'Arcy, deceased, against Prentiss D. Cheney. The circuit court dismissed the bill. Complainants appeal.

Samuel P. Wheeler and Charles H. Aldrich, for appellants.
John G. Drennan, for appellee.

Before WOODS and JENKINS, Circuit Judges, and BAKER, District Judge.

WOODS, Circuit Judge. Dr. Edward A. D'Arcy, a resident of Jerseyville, Jersey county, Ill., died April 25, 1863, possessed of a large estate, which he devised equally to his surviving wife, Mary D'Arcy, who was made executrix of his will, and two daughters, Ann Caroline Teese, one of the appellants, and Catherine Cheney, wife of the appellee, Prentiss D. Cheney, except that the homestead and a tract of land, worth together about $5,000, were given to Mrs. Cheney, because the testator anticipated that Mrs. Teese would benefit by inheritance or bequests from relatives in the East with whom she had lived from infancy. From the death of her husband until after the death of Mrs. Cheney, in 1877, Mrs. D'Arcy was a member of the family of the appellee. She then removed to New Jersey, where, until her death, which occurred August 12, 1887, she lived with her sister Matilda Fairchild, during the winters at Morristown, and in the summers at Mendham; the residence of Mrs. Teese being at Newark. The appellants, Edmund D. Halsey and Mrs. Teese, were named as executors of the will of Mrs. D'Arcy, and, having received letters testamentary, on the 17th of February, 1888, instituted this suit against the appellee, charging and alleging, besides the facts stated and other formal matters: That the estate of Edward A. D'Arcy consisted of both real and personal property; that the devisees, by divers quitclaim deeds, made an amicable partition of the portions of the real estate devised to them in common, and the residue, excepting lands in Missouri which they continued to hold in common, they proceeded to sell, and to divide the proceeds; that Mrs. D'Arcy at the death of her husband was advanced in years, unaccustomed to business, and ignorant of her duties as executrix; that Cheney was a plausible man, of good character, and of winning address and manners, and by means thereof obtained her confidence, and induced her to commit to him the care and custody of her estate; that he assumed the active management of the estate of Edward A. D'Arcy, acting therein as the agent, attorney, and trustee of the executrix, and personally received into his hands the entire proceeds of the estate, but that the particulars of his service cannot be stated, because the papers relating to the estate are not on file in the office of the county clerk, and, according to the statement of the clerk, had been removed; that the interest of Mary D'Arcy in the estate and the amount received by Cheney as and for her share was a large sum, to wit, $20,000; that, in the year 1871, Mrs. D'Arcy received from the estate of her brother, Alexander McEowen, notes, bonds, and money to the amount of $10,000, which, together with the proceeds of the estate of her husband belonging to her, were, from time to time as they came to her, received by Cheney, upon his undertaking and agreement to act as her trustee in loaning the same, and were by him loaned, whereby her estate was largely increased; that, by reason of his influence over her, Cheney was able to postpone any full accounting with Mrs. D'Arcy, although he did long prior to her death render partial accounts, “which your orators now have,” but which do not bring the account to the time of her death; that he retained the whole of said money in his hands as trustee, excepting small payments made as stated in the bill; that he never rendered to her a full and fair account of said trust, or of the income and profits, nor to the complainants, as executors, since her death, although requested in a friendly way to do so, but, on the contrary, refused to give to complainants any information on the subject; that in 1877, when Mrs. D'Arcy went to reside in New Jersey, there was in Cheney's hands, held in trust for her, of principal and accumulations, the sum of $25,000, of which he paid her occasional small sums, aggregating not more than $500; that, at sundry times after the death of her husband, Mrs. D'Arcy became seised of divers lots, lands, and real estate in Illinois and elsewhere, and that, while holding towards her the confidential relation of trustee, and availing himself of the influence he had over her, Cheney, for the purpose of his own gain, and without adequate consideration, procured from her, either to himself or to others for his benefit, deeds of conveyance for every square foot of real estate she owned; that this was systematically carried on for years, your orators charge, fraudulently, and Cheney should in equity establish the fairness of the several transactions; that Cheney sold timber from lands in Missouri, and received therefor $8,000, of which he never accounted to Mrs. Cheney for her share; that by reason of frequent changes of investment made by Cheney, sometimes taking securities in his own name, and intermingling the moneys of Mrs. D'Arcy with his own, an intelligent account cannot be stated, except by Cheney; that, disregarding his duty as trustee, he has refused to make any statement whatever. The bill prays that Cheney be

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »