105 U.S. 527 (1882), Internal Imp. Fund Trustees v. Greenough

Citation105 U.S. 527, 26 L.Ed. 1157
Party NameTRUSTEES v. GREENOUGH.
Case DateMay 08, 1882
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 527

105 U.S. 527 (1882)

26 L.Ed. 1157

TRUSTEES

v.

GREENOUGH.

United States Supreme Court.

May 08, 1882

APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

COUNSEL

The case was argued by Mr. Charles W. Jones for the appellants, and by Mr. Jefferson Chandler, with whom was Mr. C. D. Willard, for the appellee.

OPINION

MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court.

The question is this case is one of costs, expenses, and allowances awarded to the complainant below out of a trust fund under the control of the court. Ordinarily a decree will not be reviewed by this court on a question of costs merely in a suit in equity, although the court has entire control of the matter of costs, as well as the merits, when it has possession of

Page 528

the cause on appeal from the final decree. But it was held by Lord Cottenham, in Angell v.Davis (4 Myl. & Craig, 360), that when the case is not one of personal costs, in which the court has ordered one party to pay them, but a case in which the court has directed them to be paid out of a particular fund, an appeal lies on the part of those interested in the fund. Lord Cottenham, indeed, suggested other cases in which an appeal might lie from a decree for costs, as where the costs are part of the specific relief prayed; and where the whole of the facts distinctly appear upon the face of the proceedings themselves, so that it is not necessary, in determining the question, to enter into any investigation of the merits. But these suggestions have not met with subsequent approval; and in the case of Taylor v. Dowlen (Law Rep. 4 Ch. App. 697), the court declared that they were not disposed to extend the case of Angell v. Davis; and dismissed an appeal brought by parties ordered to pay costs, which they claimed should be payable out of a fund.

But these discussions in the English courts arose under a system in which appeals from interlocutory orders are allowed. We can only entertain an appeal from a final decree; and supposing the objection to the appeal on the ground of its being from a decree for costs only is untenable, as we think it is, then arises another question, whether the orders appealed from amount to a final decree.

The principal suit was commenced in 1870, by a bill filed by Francis Vose, a large holder of bonds of the Florida Railroad Company, on behalf of himself and the other bondholders, against Harrison Reed and others, trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund of Florida, and against the former members of the same board, and against the board itself as a corporation, and sundry other corporations alleged to be in complicity with them. That fund consisted of ten or eleven million acres of lands belonging to the State, including certain proceeds of the sale of some of them, and was pledged for the payment of the interest accruing on the bonds and instalments of the sinking fund for meeting the principal, which were largely in arrear. The charge of the bill is to the effect that the trustees were wasting and destroying the fund by selling at nominal

Page 529

prices the lands by the hundred thousand and even million acres, and failed and refused to provide for the payment of interest or sinking fund on the bonds. The bill prayed that the fraudulent conveyances be set aside, and the trustees enjoined from selling more lands, and that a receiver be appointed to take care of the fund.

The litigation was carried on with great vigor and at much expense, and in fact a large amount of the trust fund was secured and saved; the management of the fund was taken out of the hands of the trustees; agents were appointed by the court to make sales of the land, and made a large number the court to make sales of the land, and made a large number of sales; a considerable amount of money was realized, and dividends have been made amongst the bondholders, most of whom came in and took the benefit of the litigation. Vose, the complainant, bore the whole burden of this litigation, and advanced most of the expenses which were necessary for the purpose of rendering it effective and successful. In 1875 he filed a petition, setting forth these advances and the efforts made by him, and prayed an allowance out of the fund for his expenses and services. In December, 1876, an order was made by the court referring it to a master to ascertain: 1. What and by whom the necessary expenditures have been incurred in bringing the moneys already received into court. 2. What necessary expenditures have been made, and by whom, in protecting the landed and sinking fund from which this money has been and will be realized. 3. What personal services have been rendered, and by whom, in said work, and the value thereof. 4. What amount of same have been charged to Francis Vose by the receiver, instead of being paid out of the common fund in his hands.

Vose presented his account and vouchers before the master, and testimony was taken on the subject. In 1877 the master made a report, in which, amongst other things, he stated as follows:----

'First, After consideration of the proofs as submitted to me, I find and report that the moneys which have already been received, whether upon account of the internal improvement fund or of the sinking fund, have been brought into court at the instance and the suit and by the sole efforts of

Page 530

Francis Vose, the petitioner, through himself, his solicitors and his agents, and by the instrumentality more directly and especially of his proceeding in equity against the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund et al., as they appear in the records which are made evidence in this case.'

The master further reported a statement of expenditures made by Vose in the cause, and declared that they were necessary expenditures, being for fees of solicitors and counsel, costs of court, and sundry small incidental items for copying records and the like, the whole amounting to $34,192.62. He also stated and allowed sundry fees paid in maintaining other suits in New York, and on appeal to this court, attorneys' fees for resisting fraudulent coupons, and expenses paid to attorneys and agents to investigate fraudulent grants of the trust lands, amounting in all to $19,745.68. He also reported in favor of an allowance to Vose for his personal services and expenditures, as follows:----

'I further find and report that peculiar and great personal services have been rendered by the petitioner, Francis Vose, in the work of protecting the internal improvement and the sinking funds; those services extending over a period of more than eleven years. By the instrumentality of the suits already mentioned as having been instituted by him, by the agencies he employed and sustained, and by his own vigiliance and personal efforts he has saved from spoliation and subjected to the decrees of this court a vast domain of over ten millions of acres of land; and has brought into this court large sums of money, which, from time to time, have been distributed by its orders.

'I consider and report that the charge embraced in his itemized account, and numbered forty-two (42), for $25,000 principal, and $9,625 interest, is reasonable and just.

'I also find that the charge in his itemized account, numbered forty-one (41), for personal expenditures of $15,003.35, is reasonable and just. Total $40,003.35.'

The first of these items consisted of an allowance of $2,500 a year for ten years of personal services; the second was for railroad fares and hotel bills paid by the complainant.

The proceedings before the master were opposed; but, on a hearing upon the report and the evidence submitted therewith,

Page 531

the court confirmed it to the extent of $27,835.34, allowing generally the fees of the officers of the court, and those of the attorneys and solicitors employed in the cause, including charges as between attorney and client; at the same time disallowing certain fees paid to advisory counsel and other items not directly connected with the suit, and referring the remainder of the report for further evidence and hearing. In December, 1879, after additional evidence had been taken, a final order was made, allowing sundry expenses for looking after and reclaiming the trust lands, and also allowing for the personal expenses and services of Vose embraced in the two items before referred to; the total amount allowed being $60,131.96.

The appeal to this court is taken from these orders of the court below; and it is contended that they were illegal, because Vose was not before the court in the character of a trustee, and therefore not entitled to reimbursement of his expenses beyond taxable costs;...

To continue reading

Request your trial
958 practice notes
  • 25 B.R. 747 (1st Cir.BAP (Me.) 1982), 82-9017, In re Casco Bay Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts First Circuit
    • December 23, 1982
    ...performance on a day-to-day basis and therefore has a far better basis for determining reasonable fees. See Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527, 537, 26 L.Ed. 1137 (1882). In the instant case, most of appellant's services were rendered prior to the designation of the bankruptcy judge and th......
  • 41 B.R. 974 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1984), 82-0251, Matter of Maimone
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • July 30, 1984
    ...L.Ed. 1184] (1939); Central Railroad & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116, [5 S.Ct. 387, 28 L.Ed. 915] (1885); Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 [26 L.Ed. 1157] (1881). See generally 7A C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure (sec.) 1803 (1972); Dawson, Lawyers and ......
  • 543 F.2d 369 (D.C. Cir. 1976), 74-1851, Usery v. Local Union No. 639 Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Ind.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 27, 1976
    ...a longstanding exception in the "common benefit" rationale. The Alyeska Court recognized that "(i)n Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (26 L.Ed. 1157) (1882), the 1853 Act was read as not interfering with the historic power of equity to permit the trustee of a fund or proper......
  • Savani v. URS Professional Solutions LLC, 080415 SCDC, 1:06-cv-02805-JMC
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 4th Circuit United States District Court of South Carolina
    • August 4, 2015
    ...the "common fund" exception to the general rule that a litigant bears his or her own attorney's fees. Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881). The rationale for the common fund principle was explained in Boeing Co. v. Van Gemert, 444 U.S. 472, 478 (1980), "that a litigant ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
911 cases
  • 25 B.R. 747 (1st Cir.BAP (Me.) 1982), 82-9017, In re Casco Bay Lines, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts First Circuit
    • December 23, 1982
    ...performance on a day-to-day basis and therefore has a far better basis for determining reasonable fees. See Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527, 537, 26 L.Ed. 1137 (1882). In the instant case, most of appellant's services were rendered prior to the designation of the bankruptcy judge and th......
  • 41 B.R. 974 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 1984), 82-0251, Matter of Maimone
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Third Circuit
    • July 30, 1984
    ...L.Ed. 1184] (1939); Central Railroad & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116, [5 S.Ct. 387, 28 L.Ed. 915] (1885); Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 [26 L.Ed. 1157] (1881). See generally 7A C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure (sec.) 1803 (1972); Dawson, Lawyers and ......
  • 543 F.2d 369 (D.C. Cir. 1976), 74-1851, Usery v. Local Union No. 639 Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Ind.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 27, 1976
    ...a longstanding exception in the "common benefit" rationale. The Alyeska Court recognized that "(i)n Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (26 L.Ed. 1157) (1882), the 1853 Act was read as not interfering with the historic power of equity to permit the trustee of a fund or proper......
  • Savani v. URS Professional Solutions LLC, 080415 SCDC, 1:06-cv-02805-JMC
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 4th Circuit United States District Court of South Carolina
    • August 4, 2015
    ...the "common fund" exception to the general rule that a litigant bears his or her own attorney's fees. Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881). The rationale for the common fund principle was explained in Boeing Co. v. Van Gemert, 444 U.S. 472, 478 (1980), "that a litigant ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 firm's commentaries
  • 2020 Consumer Financial Services Year in Review & A Look Ahead
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • March 3, 2021
    ...a representative for time and work in bringing a lawsuit are unlawful under two aged Supreme Court decisions: Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1882), and Central RR & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885). Those decisions highlighted the potential of these awards to create a co......
  • The Shortcomings of Conjoint Analyses in Measuring Fair Market Value
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • January 8, 2021
    ...of the $6,000 incentive award to Mr. Johnson. The Eleventh Circuit’s Holding Relying on two Supreme Court cases – Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1882) and Central Railroad & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885) – the Eleventh Circuit reversed the lower court’s approval of th......
  • Split Eleventh Circuit Panel Eliminates Incentive Awards For Class Representatives
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • November 25, 2020
    ...appeal, writing for the majority, Judge Kevin C. Newsom agreed with Dickenson that the Supreme Court's decisions in Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1882) and Central Railroad & Banking v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885) make clear that while plaintiffs suing on behalf of a class can be......
  • Third Quarter 2020 Update On Class Actions
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • November 12, 2020
    ...the class representative's incentive award "contravened" the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1882), and Central Railroad & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885), which are known for "establishing the rule . . . that att......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 books & journal articles
  • The Tarnished Golden Rule: The Corrosive Effect of Federal Prevailing-Party Standards on State Reciprocal-Fee Statutes.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 127 Nbr. 4, February 2018
    • February 1, 2018
    ...award fees] exercised by the court which has been most intimately connected with [the] case" (first quoting Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527, 537 (1882), and then quoting Cuneo v. Rumsfeld, 553 F.2d 1360, 1368 (D.C. Cir. 1977))). (128.) See supra Section II.B; cf. Eckerhart, 461 U.S......
  • Punitive damages as societal damages.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 113 Nbr. 2, November 2003
    • November 1, 2003
    ...Sprague v. Ticonic Nat'l Bank, 307 U.S. 161 (1939); Cent. R.R. & Banking Co. v. Pettus, 113 U.S. 116 (1885); Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881); see also In re Air Crash Disaster at Fla. Everglades on Dec. 29, 1972, 549 F.2d 1006 (5th Cir. 1977). (296.) See Sprague, 307 U.S. at ......
  • Money matters: judicial market interventions creating subsidies and awarding fees and costs in individual and aggregate litigation.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 148 Nbr. 6, June 2000
    • June 1, 2000
    ...465 U.S. 886, 900 n.16 (1984). This notion developed from the equity "common fund" doctrine. See, e.g., Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881); Sprague v. Ticonic Nat'l Bank, 307 U.S. 161 (1939). (16) See, e.g., John F. Grady, Reasonable Fees: A Suggested Value-Based Analysis ......
  • The aftermath of Key Tronic: implications for attorneys' fee awards.
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Vol. 24 Nbr. 4, October 1994
    • October 1, 1994
    ...9613(f)(1) (1988). (262.)Alyeska Pipeline Serv. Co. v. Wilderness Soc'y, 421 U.S. 240, 257 (1975). (263.)See Trustees v. Greenough, 105 U.S. 527 (1881). (264.)Brief for Petitioner at 25, Key Tronic, 114 S. Ct. 1960 (1994) (No. 93-376). (265.)Id. at 25-26. (266.)The common fund exception was......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT