64 F.2d 338 (2nd Cir. 1933), 295, Buss v. Long Island Storage Warehouse Co.

Docket Nº:295.
Citation:64 F.2d 338
Case Date:April 10, 1933
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 338

64 F.2d 338 (2nd Cir. 1933)




No. 295.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

April 10, 1933

Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of New York.

Blumberg & Parker, of New York City (Samuel M. Chapin, of New York City, of counsel; Lucien Hilmer and Monroe Chapin, both of New York City, on the brief), for appellant.

Herman G. Robbins, of Brooklyn, N. Y. (I. Louis Kottler, of Brooklyn, N. Y., on the brief), for appellee.

Before MANTON, L. HAND, and SWAN, Circuit Judges.

L. HAND, Circuit Judge.

This appeal is from an order in a summary proceeding by a trustee in bankruptcy, which held the defendant, a warehouseman, for the value of certain rugs in its possession when the petition was filed. The facts were as follows: Cochrane shipped a parcel of rugs to the bankrupt, Koegel. It does not certainly appear whether this was a sale to Koegel, or whether he was to hold the rugs as bailee and sell them for Cochrane, but we shall assume the first, in accordance with the trustee's contention. Cochrane took out a 'straight' bill of lading to Koegel, delivery to be made by the Reading Railroad at the Eastern District Terminal in Brooklyn, where the rugs arrived on November twenty-fourth. On December fifth, nobody having meanwhile called for them, the carrier delivered them to the defendant, which was accustomed to receive its unclaimed freight. On the same day the defendant sent out identical letters to both Cochrane and Koegel, which do not appear in the record, but of which the trustee's brief contains a copy, which we accept as correct, as we will again take the facts in his favor. These letters recited the receipt of the goods, that there were charges upon them and that delivery would be made upon receipt of the bill of lading, a written order and the charges due. Neither Koegel, nor any representative of his estate, answered the letter sent to him, but on the twenty-sixth Cochrane wrote to the defendant, telling it of the bankruptcy and directing it to hold the goods. Nearly six months later he got the original bill of lading from the carrier,

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on which the defendant redelivered the rugs to him, receiving a bond of indemnity in exchange. A receiver had meanwhile been appointed for Koegel, though the record does not show when; in any case neither he, nor any one else, at any time made demand for the rugs. In December, 1931, the trustee obtained a rule nisi from the referee, seeking to charge the defendant summarily with the goods or their value. The defendant answered, protesting the jurisdiction of the court, but the referee overruled the objection and on the merits decided for the trustee. The judge affirmed his order and the defendant appealed to this court.

Two questions arise: The summary jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court; Cochrane's right to stop the goods in transitu. It chances that the two coalesce, so we proceed to the merits first. A seller may stop goods in transitu, not only while in the hands of the carrier, but while in those of any other bailee who has not agreed to hold them for the buyer. This was the common law in New York as in England. Harris v. Pratt, 17 N.Y. 249; Rummell v. Blanchard, 216 N.Y. 348, 110 N.E. 765, Ann. Cas. 1917D, 109 (semble); Gass v. Southern Pac. Co., 152 A.D. 412, 137 N. Y. S. 261. It was also the doctrine in the federal courts. In re New York House Furnishing Goods Co., 169 F. 612 (C. C. A. 2); In re Burke & Co. (D. C.) 140 F. 971; In re Darlington Co. (D. C.) 163 F. 385; In re Talbot & Poggi (D. C.) 185 F. 986. It is now a part of the Sales of Goods Act of this state, New York Personal Property Law (Consol....

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