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FARMERS' NAT. BANK OF PORTSMOUTH, O., v. HANNON, Adm'r, etc.*
(Circuit Court, S. D. Ohio, E. D. January 3, 1883.)
Where certain stockholders of a corporation had entered into an agreement among themselves that they would "each be responsible in mutual degree for all paper negotiated by the agent of the company," and in case any paper of the company should be negotiated with the individual indorsement of one of the parties thereto, and be unprotected by the agent of the company, then they would be “each and severally bound for the payment of such paper in mutual proportions ;” and subsequently the corporation, by its agent, executed its promissory note to one of the parties to said agreement, by whom it was indorsed to another, who, in due course of trade, negotiated it, and no part of said note had been paid,-upon bill filed by the holder of such note against the administrator of one of the parties to said agreement, alleging the insolvency of the maker and indorsers of such note, and asking a decree for the entire amount thereof against defendant, held, that (1) as either of said indorsers could, if he had paid said note, have maintained an action against his co-contractors for their proportionate shares, the complainant was entitled to be subrogated to their rights; and (2) there was a defect of parties, the corporation, which was primarily liable for said note, and the defendant's intestate's coobligors in' said agreement, being necessary parties to a complete and final determination of the controversy.
In Equity. On demurrer.
Coppock & Coppock and Stallo, Kittredge & Shoemaker, for comlainant. E. A. Guthrie, for defendant.
BAXTER, C. J. It appears from complainant's bill that defendant's intestate was a shareholder in the Boone Mining & Manufac(uring Company, a corporation organized under the laws of Kentucky, and that in order to enable said corporation to borrow money he entered into a contract with John Wynne, J. W. G. Stackpole, and other co-shareholders, as follows:
“CINCINNATI, February 21, 1871. “We, the undersigned, shareholders of the capital stock of the Boone Mining & Manufacturing Company, hereby mutually agree with each other that they will each be responsible in mutual degree for all paper negotiated by the agent of the company for the use and benefit of the company; and should any paper be negotiated by the agent with the individual indorsement of one member, and be unprotected by the official agent by reason of a want of funds, then in such case the parties to this agreement shall be each and severally bound for
*Reported by J. C. Harper, Esq., of the Cincinnati bar.
the payment of such paper in mutual proportions, and this agreement shall continue in force until the payment of all such claims have been made.
“J. H. GUTHRIE.
“J. W.G. STACKPOLE.” And afterwards, on the twenty-seventh of April, 1875, the corporation, by its authorized agent, executed its promissory note for $5,328.22, payable four months from date to the order of said John Wynne, one of the parties to said contract, who indorsed it to Stackpole, by whom it was negotiated, in due course of trade, to the complainant. No part of this note has been paid. The complainant, alleging that the maker and the indorsers thereof are insolvent, prays for a decree for the amount thereof against the defendant as administrator of Guthrie. To this bill defendant has demurred, because, as he insists, it does not contain any equity whereon the court can ground any decree against defendant.
The several shareholders who entered into said contract of mutual indemnity were, as such, personally and pecuniarily interested in sustaining the credit and promoting the business of the corporation ; and it was therefore that they severally undertook and mutually agreed to assume their several proportions of every liability that should thereafter be incurred by either of said parties under and pursuant to its provisions. And it is clear that if either of said indorsers had paid the debt demanded by the plaintiff in this suit, he could have maintained an action against his said co-contractors for the several amounts which they were, by the terms thereof, legally bound to contribute. If so, it follows that the complainant, being without remedy at law, is entitled to come into a court of equity for the purpose of having itself subrogated to their rights in the prem. ises. But coming into equity it must adopt and pursue the peculiar methods appropriate to such tribunals. Before any decree can be made or relief given in a case like this, it must appear that all parties in interest are duly before the court, or a sufficient reason stated for omitting them. We think that there is a defect of parties in this case. The Boone Mining & Manufacturing Company, the maker of the note sued on, is primarily liable therefor.
It may have some valid defense to interpose. In the event the complainant succeeds in obtaining a decree against defendant, the
defendant would be entitled to a decree over against the principal debtor. The latter is therefore a necessary party to this suit, for the reasons—First, that it may make its defense, if it has any; and, secondly, to the end that if it has no defense, and a decree shall be rendered against the defendant herein, the latter may, without the expense and delay incident to the institution and prosecution of another and independent action, have his decree over against the corporation. We think, furthermore, that all the other parties to said agreement ought to be before the court. Complainant's claim is that defendant's intestate's estate is liable for its whole demand. We need not determine, at this time, how this is. It is for the present enough to say that such is complainant's contention. If the position is correct, each of the other parties to said agreement is in equity bound to contribute his proportionate part. Other equities may arise in the progress of the litigation for adjustment; but no such full and final adjustment could be decreed in their absence. The demurrer is therefore sustained. Complainant will be allowed 60 days in which to amend its bill and make new parties, or else show some good and sufficient reason for not doing so.
If such amendment shall not be made within the time allowed, complainants' bill will be dismissed with costs.
See Farmers' Nat. Bank of Portsmouth, Ohio, v. Hannon, Adm'r, etc., 4 FED, REP. 612, where it was held that an action at law could not be maintained upon the contract set out in the opinion reported abuve.(REP.
UNITED STATES V. DEAVER.
(District Court, W. D. North Carolina. 1882
1. CRIMINAL LAW-EXTORTION-REv. Sr. $ 3169.
Extortion is the taking or obtaining of anything from another by a public officer by means of illegal compulsion or oppressive exaction. The offense of extortion, under subdivision 1, $ 3169, of the Revised Statutes, is the same as
the offense of extortion in the common law. 2. SAME-OPPRESSION,
Oppression is an act of cruelty, severity, unlawful exaction, domination, or
use of excessive authority. 3. SAME-BY OFFICER.
To make an act oppressive on the part of an officer under the statute, it must be done willfully, “under color or liw, and without legal authority." 4. SAME-MILITARY FORCE-AUTHORITY OF OFFICERS.
Where an officer willfully and knowingly makes false representations to his superior oficers as to the violent and lawless condition of the country, and thus induces his superior officers to send soldiers, which were unnecessary for the proper execution of the law, he is guilty of oppression. The law invests its officers with the necessary power to execute its mandates, and affords them
protection while properly performing official duties. 5. SAME – ACTS WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF LAW.
The destruction of a still by a revenue officer, before it had been condemned by a proper decree of the court as forfeited to the United States, is an act of
oppression, as it is without authority of law. 6. SAME REVENUE OFFICERS.
Where a revenue officer collects from parties sums of money as special taxes, as wholesale and retail dealers in spirits, when no such taxes have been regularly assessed against them, he is guilty of oppression, although such parties had been guilty of selling spirits at wholesale and retail without a license, as required by law; and the fact that he reported such taxes to the collector of the district as received, and the collector of the district, in his settlement with the revenue department, was required to pay the sums collected after the manner of their collection was fully known to the department, will not render legal the acts of the defendants knowingly and willfully done, without authority of
law. 7. SAME_COMPROMISING OFFENSES.
The principle and policy of the common law, that a ministerial officer who had arrested a person, and who takes from such person money, or other reward, under a pretense or promise of getting the offender discharged, is guilty of a criminal offense, was intended to be extended, by subdivision 10 of section 3169 of the Revised Statutes, to the officers of the revenue; and any subordinate revenue officer who demands or accepts, or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, as payment or gift, or otherwise, any sum of money, or other thing of value, for a compromise of the violation of the revenue laws, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
An indictment founded upon the first and tenth subdivisions of section 3169 of the Revised Statutes.
James E. Boyd, Dist. Atty., for the United States.
Dick, D. J., (charging jury.) This is the first time that it has been my duty in the course of a trial to construe this statute, and I am not aware of any direct judicial decision upon the subject. I will endeavor to ascertain the meaning of the statute by applying certain well-settled rules of construction which have been adopted by the courts and learned text-writers.
In the construction of a statute we should endeavor to find the intent, object, and purpose of the legislature in enacting the law, and this must be done by considering the words, the context, and the subject-matter. Generally, words must be taken in their ordinary and familiar signification, but when they have acquired a legal and tech
nical signification we must presume that the legislature used them in their legal and technical sense. The ordinary meaning of the word “extortion" is the taking or obtaining of anything from another by means of illegal compulsion or oppressive exaction. If an officer of the law has a prisoner in custody, and either by promises or threats induces him to make a confession of crime, such confession is regarded as extorted or forced, and is not admissible in evidence against the prisoner. If such confessions are made to a person not in authority, and in no way directly connected with the prosecution, the strictness of the rule is somewhat modified. The word "extortion" has acquired a technical meaning in the common law, and designates a crime committed by an officer of the law, who, under color of his office, unlawfully and corruptly takes any money or thing of value that is not due to him, or more than is due, or before it is due. The officer must unlawfully and corruptly receive such money or article of value for his own benefit or advantage.
We may well infer that congress used this word in the statute in its restricted and technical sense, as in the same clause the word “oppression” is used, which has a more extensive signification, and will embrace many other acts of official malfeasance and misfeasance. If a judicial officer, in the discharge of his official functions, acted partially, maliciously, and corruptly, he was indictable at common law for the crime of oppression in office. Gross misconduct on the part of an inferior or ministerial officer was denominated malfeasance, or misfeasance in office. If a ministerial officer arrests and ties a person for some petty offense who makes no resistance, but quietly submits to legal authority, there would be a strong presumption that the officer acted from improper motives of oppression; but if the prisoner was a man of desperate and lawless character, and manifested a purpose to resist or escape, and he is charged with a serious crime, then it would be the duty of the officer to secure the prisoner by the best means in his power.
The word “oppression” has not acquired a strictly technical meaning, and may in this statute be taken in its ordinary sense, which is an act of cruelty, severity, unlawful exaction, domination, or excessive use of authority. When a revenue officer, under color of law, willfully and unlawfully takes the property of another, or subjects him to greater hardships than are necessary for the proper enforcement of the law, he is guilty of oppression. It is not essential that an unlawful act should be a serious injury to a person to make it oppressive. The exercise of unlawful power or other means, in de