204 U.S. 186 (1907), 416, Shropshire, Woodliff & Co. v. Bush

Docket Nº:No. 416
Citation:204 U.S. 186, 27 S.Ct. 178, 51 L.Ed. 436
Party Name:Shropshire, Woodliff & Co. v. Bush
Case Date:January 07, 1907
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 186

204 U.S. 186 (1907)

27 S.Ct. 178, 51 L.Ed. 436

Shropshire, Woodliff & Co.

v.

Bush

No. 416

United States Supreme Court

January 7, 1907

Submitted December 20, 1906

CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT

OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

An assignee of a claim of less than $300 for wages earned within three months before the commencement of proceedings in bankruptcy against the bankrupt is entitled to priority under § 64a when the assignment occurred prior to the commencement of the proceedings.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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MOODY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE MOODY delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellees are trustees of the bankrupt estate of the Southern Car & Foundry Company. The appellants, before the commencement of the proceedings in bankruptcy, acquired by purchase and assignment a large number of claims for wages of workmen and servants, none exceeding $300 in amount, and all earned within three months before the date of the commencement of the proceedings in bankruptcy. The District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee rendered a judgment disallowing priority to these claims, because, when filed, they were not "due to workmen, clerks, or servants."

On appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, that court duly certified here for instructions the following question:

Is an assignee of a claim for wages earned within three months before the commencement of proceedings in bankruptcy against the bankrupt debtor entitled to priority of payment, under section 64(4) of the Bankrupt Act when the assignment occurred prior to the commencement of such bankruptcy proceedings?

The question certified has never been passed upon by any

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circuit court of appeals, and in the district courts the decisions upon it are conflicting. In re Westlund, 99 F. 399; In re St. Louis Ice Company, 147 F. 752; In re North Carolina Car Company [semble], 127 F. 178, where the right of the assignee to priority was denied; In re Brown, Federal Cases, 1974 [Act of 1867]; In re Harmon, 128 F. 170, where, on facts slightly but not essentially different, the right of the assignee to priority was affirmed.

The Bankruptcy Law (Act July 1, 1898, 30 Stat. pp. 544, 563, c. 541), in section 1, defines "debt" as including "any debt, demand, or claim, provable in bankruptcy." Section 64, under which priority is claimed in this case, is, in the parts material to...

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