« ПредишнаНапред »
Statement of the Case.
Clark N. Hall fraudulently failed to pay the taxes for 1877 and 1878, although he had agreed not to encumber the property to the prejudice of the plaintiff or the said act of mortgage, and although he represented to the plaintiff that he had
, paid the taxes on the land ; that Clark N. Hall and Charles F. Hall agreed between themselves that, in order to defeat the plaintiff's rights, the latter would become the purchaser at the tax sale and take the title in his own name, intending thereby to procure the release of the property from the plaintiff's mortgage and privilege; and that although Charles F. Hall pretends to have bought the property and claims to be the owner thereof, his brother was living on the plantation and cultivating it as before the tax sale. The bill stated various grounds upon which the tax sale should be declared null and void, and prayed that the sale be set aside ; that the plaintiff's mortgage and vendor's privilege to secure the balance due on the notes, together with the accruing interest, be recognized and rendered executory; that the land be sold, by due process of law, to pay and satisfy that balance; and that he might have such relief as was proper.
Charles F. Hall demurred to the bill for multifariousness, and filed a special plea to the effect that, by article 210 of the constitution of Louisiana, tax-titles are declared to be prima facie valid, and cannot be set aside without a previous tender to the purchaser of the price and ten per cent per annum interest thereon, having been made, which has not been done.
Clark N. Hall pleaded to so much of the bill as sought judgment against him for the amount of the notes, that equity was without jurisdiction ratione materive to try the issues presented on said obligations.
The court below sustained both the demurrer and the plea of Charles F. Hall, and by a decree entered May 12, 1885, dismissed the bill as to him, without prejudice to the plaintiff's right to file a new bill. It overruled the demurrer of Clark N. Hall, and the latter filed an answer, averring that he was no longer the owner of the premises, nor in possession thereof. He also averred that he was the lawful owner of two judgments against the plaintiff, one for $300 and $4.15 costs taxed,
Statement of the Case.
and one for $240, with interest from April 4, 1876, and $4.70 costs taxed, both rendered May 12, 1876, by a justice of the peace in Delaware County, Ohio, in favor of the Elkart Wood Pulp Company, against John H. Mendenhall and others, partners doing business under the firm name of the Delaware Paper Company. He also averred that he was the legal holder and owner of a note for $1733.61, executed by the said Delaware Paper Company, through their secretary, J. L. Klein, and made payable to the order of Jacob A. Sharer, who endorsed it to James Andrews, the latter endorsing it in blank to the defendant in due course of trade and for a valuable consideration. He pleaded the said demands "in compensation of the notes sued upon."
To this answer a replication was filed, in which the plaintiff denied that he was bound for the payment of the obligations set up in the answer; denied that they were owned by the defendant; and averred, in respect to the note for $1733.61, that it was executed and obtained by fraud, was without consideration, was never negotiated or placed on the market until after its maturity, and was not a just debt against the Delaware Paper Company. A replication of this special character was not in accordance with correct chancery practice. But no objection was made on that ground, and it was treated as a proper replication.
Upon final hearing, on the 14th of April, 1886, the court gave judgment in favor of the plaintiff against Clark N. Hall for $5123, with interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum from December 24, 1875, until paid, and the costs, that amount to be credited with $1340.52 to date January 1, 1879, and also with $544.15 with eight per cent interest from April 4, 1876, to date and take effect from May 9, 1879. It also adjudged that the plaintiff's demand for recognition of the mortgage and vendor's privilege claimed in the bill be rejected as in case of non-suit without prejudice to his right to assert the same in a subsequent action.
[The plaintiff appealed from this decree and filed an appeal bond entitled in the cause, in which the obligors became "held and firmly bound unto the defendants therein;" but
Argument for Appellee.
the citation ran only to Clark N. Hall. The cause was duly docketed here, and when reached in its order on the docket, was submitted by the counsel for the appellant. On the 16th of December, leave was granted to make the representative of Charles F. Hall, (who had meanwhile died,) a party, with the right to file briefs on or before the first Monday in January then next. On the 9th of January, 1890, the counsel for the administratrix of Clark N. Hall appeared solely for the purpose of pleading to the jurisdiction, and represented that there had never been an appeal taken from the order dismissing the bill as to him. On the 18th of January, a citation issued to Charles F. Hall, or, if deceased, to his representatives, to appear on the 4th Monday of March then next, to show cause why the decree rendered against the appellant should not be corrected. This was served on his administratrix, and return thereof made into court. An appearance was entered for Charles F. Hall, and a brief filed.]
Mr. John Johns and Mr. D. A. McKnight for appellant.
Mr. John T. Ludeling, for the administratrix of Clark N. Hall, appeared solely for the purpose of questioning the jurisdiction of the court; and, as counsel for Charles F. Hall, appellee, submitted on his brief.
I. Charles F. Hall, though in possession, was not'a necessary party. In Louisiana a third possessor is not a necessary party, in a suit against the maker of mortgage notes, to obtain judgment against him. Code of Practice, Arts. 63, 68.
II. The sheriff's deed to Charles F. Hall for the land sold at a tax sale is perfect in form and on its face valid. Article 210 of the constitution declares that “all deeds of sale made, or that may be made, by the collector of taxes, shall be received by the courts in evidence as prima facie valid sales."
The same article of the constitution declares, that “no sale of property for taxes shall be annulled for any informality in the proceedings until the price paid, with ten per cent interest, be tendered to the purchaser."
Argument for Appellee.
In accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code, the Supreme Court of Louisiana, in a long line of decisions, has held that it was a prerequisite to the institution of a suit to rescind a sale, that the purchaser should be paid the price given by him, or he should be tendered the price. Art. 1906 of the Civil Code declares: “ The effects of being put in default are not only that in contracts to give the thing, which is the object of the stipulation, is at the risk of the person in default; but in the cases hereinafter provided for, is a prerequisite to the recovery of damages and of profits and fruits, or to the rescission of the contract."
A review of the decisions on this point was made in the case of Lola Blanton v. Ludeling et al., in 30 La. Ann. 1232. A peremptory exception was filed to this suit, as in this case, that no offer or tender had been made to defendant of the amount paid by him at the tax sales at which it was alleged, in the petition, he acquired title, and which sums were applied to the payments of taxes and costs due. The court said: “We prefer to place our decision upon the exception alone, which is no longer an open question.”
In Miller v. Montagne and Husband, 32 La. Ann. 1290, the Supreme Court said: “Proceeding to consider what judgment should have been rendered, we admit the general principle, that a party seeking to annul a tax title, prima facie valid, must first tender to the purchaser reimbursement of the sums paid by him in discharge of his bid, and which enured to the benefit of the attacking party, and this principle would, perhaps, 'extend to proper taxes on the property paid by the purchaser while in possession." Blanton v.
Blanton v. Ludeling, supra, and Barrow v. Lapine, 30 La. Ann. 310. In the last-mentioned case it is further said: “And if this want of tender is pleaded in limine, and the amount is apparent or made to appear, plaintiff should not be allowed to sue until it is tendered."
In this case, the complainant has never offered to return the price paid by Charles F. Ilall, nor las he alleged that he had done so, or was willing to do so. IIe had the right, under the law, to redeem the land within a year after the sale. This suit was filed within the year succeeding the sale.
Opinion of the Court.
It is respectfully submitted that the record, as well as the admission made in appellant's brief already referred to, show that there has been no appeal taken as to Charles F. Hall, and that the judgment in his favor has become res judicata by the expiration of the time within which an appeal might have been taken, and that this court is without-jurisdiction over the case as to Charles F. Hall.
But, if this be not correct, then it is submitted that the evidence in this record shows that at a public sale for taxes Charles F. Hall bought the lands mortgaged and paid the taxes then due and the costs and penalties, and that he has been in the actual possession of said lands and paid the taxes thereon since January, 1883, the date of the sale. The title is prima facie valid. Constitution, Art. 210.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, after stating the facts as above reported, delivered the opinion of the court.
It is suggested that no appeal has been taken as to Charles F. Hall, and that this court is without jurisdiction over the cause as to him. In this view we do not concur.
The cause was not finally disposed of as to Clark N. Hall, the remaining defendant, until the 14th of April, 1886, and on the 30th day of the same month the plaintiff was allowed an appeal “in the cause." His appeal bond was executed September 9, 1886, and
" to the defendants." The record was filed here on the 12th of October, 1886. It appearing, when the case was reached on our docket, that Charles F. Hall had not been served with notice of the appeal, a citation was directed to be served upon him, or, if he was dead, upon his representative. The citation was executed January 13, 1890, upon his widow, who is also administratrix of his estate. There is no ground to question the jurisdiction of this court to proceed to a hearing of the appeal. The record was filed in this court on the day to which the appeal was returnable. Our jurisdiction did not depend upon a citation being issued, Evans v. State Bank, ante, 330, although we could not properly proceed to hear the case until Charles F. IIall, as to whom the suit was dismissed