128 F. 170 (S.D.W.Va. 1903), In re Harmon

Citation:128 F. 170
Party Name:In re HARMON.
Case Date:November 21, 1903
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 170

128 F. 170 (S.D.W.Va. 1903)


United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia.

November 21, 1903

Kerr & Kerr and John H. Hatcher, for lien creditors.

Brown, Jackson & Knight, H. M. Anderson, George Kay, and John W. McCreery, for petitioning creditors.

The bankrupt, C. P. Harmon, was engaged in business in Raleigh county, W. Va., as a railroad subcontractor, employing numerous workmen. The petition in involuntary bankruptcy was filed against said Harmon by certain creditors on the 29th day of July, 1903. About a week prior to the filing of said petition said bankrupt abandoned his work and disappeared from Raleigh county, largely indebted, and without having paid his laborers and workmen since June 1, 1903. A large number of said workmen immediately instituted suits with attachments against the goods, stock, etc., of bankrupt, in justices' courts of said county. The oral proof taken before the referee shows that at the time of the institution of said suits, and in order to save costs in a number of actions, some 14 of the white laborers assigned the amounts due them, respectively, to one Ed Sisley, a laborer, and a number of the negro laborers assigned the amounts due to them, respectively, to one James Tucker, a laborer, for purposes of obtaining judgments and execution in their names, instead of by separate suits; the said Tucker and Sisley agreeing to account to said laborers for the said amounts due them, respectively, when collected. The amounts ran from $3.35 to $46.05, and the total number of accounts so assigned amounted to some 35. The aggregate amount assigned said Tucker, including his own claim for labor, amounted to $298.50, and the total amount assigned to Sisley, including his own claim for labor, amounted to $290.78.

At the time of the institution of the actions the attorney for the laborers advised this assignment as a method of saving cost and expense, and as still being within the jurisdiction of the justice, namely, $300; and the oral testimony shows that it was made in that manner, for that purpose, and to that extent only, the assignees being virtually trustees for the assigning laborers

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to the extent of their several proportions of the recovery. On the 23d day of July, 1903, such assignments were drawn up by the laborers' attorneys and executed by said laborers to said Sisley and Tucker. The written assignments are attached to and made a part of this record, marked, 'Tucker Assignment,' and 'Sisley Assignment.' On the 28th day of July, 1903, said claims were duly...

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