BEALS v. ILLINOIS, M. & T. R. CO.

133 U.S. 290 (10 S.Ct. 314, 33 L.Ed. 608)

BEALS v. ILLINOIS, M. & T. R. CO. et al.1

Decided: February 3, 1890

Statement of Case from pages 290-292 intentionally omitted

H. H. Denison and A. G. Vanderpoel, for appellant.

Geo. D. Reynolds, for appellees.

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GRAY, J., after stating the facts as above, delivered the opinion of the court.

The irregular form in which the plaintiff's case is presented need not be dwelt upon, because, in any possible aspect of the controversy between the parties, the result is not doubtful. The former judgment, upon which the plaintiff anticipated that the defendants would rely, is not described in the amended bill otherwise than by reference to a plea to the original bill, neither of which is made part of the record transmitted to this court. But the pleas to the amended bill clearly identify the judgment drawn in issue. The plaintiff's replication is, in terms, only to 'the answers' of the three defendant corporations, and not to their pleas, although each of them had filed a plea, and the only answers in the cause were those filed by two of them in support of their pleas. But it is immaterial to consider whether the effect of the submission of the case to the court 'upon the bill, pleas, answers, and replication,' after the defendants had moved for judgment for insufficiency of the replication, was, so far as the pleas were concerned, to set down the case for hearing upon the bill and pleas, or to treat the replication as taking issue on the pleas as well as on the answers. In the one view, the facts relied on by the defendants were conclusively admitted to be true; in the other view, so far as they were responsive to the allegations of the bill they were conclusively proved by the answers under oath, which the plaintiff introduced no evidence to control. Mitf. Pl. (4th Ed.) 301, 302; Rules 33 and 38 in Equity; Farley v. Kittson, 120 U. S. 303, 315, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 534; Vigel v. Hopp, 104 U. S. 441. Upon the facts thus established, no ground is shown for maintaining the bill. The former judgment was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, to which not only the railroad company that issued the bonds, but the surviving trustee under the mortgage made in the name of another company to secure the payment of those bonds, were made parties. The bondholders were thus fully represented in that suit, and bound by the decree canceling and annulling the bonds and mortgage, unless the decree was fraudulently obtained. Kerrison v. Stewart, 93 U. S. 155; Shaw v. Railroad Co., 100 U. S. 605; Richter v. Jerome, 123 U. S. 233, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 106; Knox Co. v. Harshman, ante, 257. The bill alleges that that decree was obtained by fraud, and by collusion between the trustee and second company and Houck, its attorney, and that the third company claimed a right in the property, by purchase or otherwise, prior to the plaintiff's supposed lien. The pleas and answers under oath of both these companies fully and explicitly deny the fraud and collusion charged; and those of the third company further aver that, after the decree, the property was conveyed by the second company to Houck, and by him to the third company, and that both Houck and the third company purchased the property in good faith, for valuable consideration, and without knowledge or notice of any fraud or irregularity in obtaining the decree. These averments being directly responsive to the allegations of the bill, and therefore conclusive in favor of the defendants' title to the property and against the plaintiff's claim, it is unnecessary to consider other grounds taken in argument. Decree affirmed.

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Affirming 27 Fed. Rep. 721.