Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association v. Parnell Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association v. First National Bank In Indiana, Nos. 21

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation352 U.S. 29,1 L.Ed.2d 93,377 S.Ct. 119
PartiesBANK OF AMERICA NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, Petitioner, v. Gilbert S. PARNELL. BANK OF AMERICA NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, Petitioner, v. FIRST NATIONAL BANK IN INDIANA
Docket NumberNos. 21,22
Decision Date13 November 1956

352 U.S. 29
377 S.Ct. 119
1 L.Ed.2d 93
BANK OF AMERICA NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, Petitioner,

v.

Gilbert S. PARNELL. BANK OF AMERICA NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, Petitioner, v. FIRST NATIONAL BANK IN INDIANA.

Nos. 21, 22.
Argued Oct. 18, 1956.
Decided Nov. 13, 1956.

Page 30

Mr. Erwin N. Griswold, for the petitioner in both cases.

Mr. Edward Dumbauld, Uniontown, Pa., for respondent in No. 21.

Mr. Harvey A. Miller, Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa., for respondent in No. 22.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner, alleging diversity of citizenship, brought suit in the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging that in September and October 1948 two individual defendants, Parnell and Rocco, and two corporate defendants, the First National Bank in Indiana and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, had converted 7o Home Owners' Loan Corporation bonds which belonged to petitioner. Only Parnell and the First National Bank are respondents here, since the Federal Reserve Bank was dismissed, on its motion, after petitioner had presented its case in the District Court, and since Rocco did not appeal from the District Court's judgment.

At the trial it appeared that these bonds were bearer bonds with payment guaranteed by the United States. They carried interest coupons calling for semiannual payment. They were due to mature May 1, 1952, but pursuant to their terms, had been called on or about May 1, 1944. On May 2, 1944, the bonds disappeared

Page 31

while petitioner was getting them ready for presentation to the Federal Reserve Bank for payment. In 1948 they were presented to the First National Bank for payment by Parnell on behalf of Rocco. The First National Bank forwarded them to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. It cashed them and paid the First National Bank, which issued cashier's checks to Parnell. Parnell then turned the proceeds over to Rocco less a fee—there was conflicting testimony as to whether the fee was nominal or substantial.

The principal issue at the trial was whether the respondents took the bonds in good faith, without knowledge or notice of the defect in title. On this issue the trial judge charged:

'As I have indicated, however, in the case—and if you find in this case that the plaintiff owned these bonds, that they were stolen from it—then the burden of proof so far as this plaintiff is concerned is to show that fact, that these bonds were owned by it, that they were lost by it in the manner as shown by its evidence. Then the two defendants, Parnell and the bank, not claiming to be owners for value, but as conducts for redemption, must come forward and they then have the burden of showing that they acted innocently, honestly, and in good faith. * * *'

The jury brought in verdicts for petitioner against both respondents. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the seven circuit judges sitting en banc, reversed, with three judges dissenting. It held that the District Court had erred in treating the case as an ordinary diversity case and in regarding state law as governing the rights of the parties and the burden of proof. 226 F.2d 297. It considered our decision in Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363, 63 S.Ct. 573, 87 L.Ed. 838, controlling and held that federal law placed the burden of proof on petitioner

Page 32

to show notice and lack of good faith on the part of respondents. The court further found that there was no evidence of bad faith by the First National Bank since the bonds were not 'overdue' as a matter of federal law when presented to it and therefore directed entry of judgment for it. The court found that there was evidence of bad faith on the part of Parnell but ordered a new trial because of the erroneous instructions.

The dissenters agreed in applying the doctrine of the Clearfield Trust case to determine the nature of the contract and the rights and duties of the United States as a party but not the rights of private transferees among themselves. They, like the majority, looked to federal law to determine whether the bonds were 'overdue paper' when presented to the First National Bank. They concluded that since the respondent bank knew of the call as to it, the bonds became demand paper and that the bank took the paper an unreasonable length of time...

To continue reading

Request your trial
116 practice notes
  • Southern Pacific Transp. Co. v. United States, Civ. No. R-77-0180.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • November 28, 1978
    ...Court fleshed out the Clearfield doctrine in a series of subsequent cases. In Bank of America National Trust & Savings Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 77 S.Ct. 119, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956), the bank sued in diversity alleging that the defendants had converted certain bearer bonds on which paymen......
  • Farmland Irr. Co. v. Dopplmaier
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 22, 1957
    ...interest exists, it is to remote and speculative to justify displacing state law. See Bank of America Nat. Trust & Sav. Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 77 S.Ct. 119, 121, 1 L.Ed.2d 93. We conclude, therefore, that we are free to make our own determination whether the assignability of a licen......
  • Owens v. Haas, No. 825
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 9, 1979
    ...and duties under the agreement should be governed by federal law. See Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 34, 77 S.Ct. 119, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956); Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363, 63 S.Ct. 573, 87 L.Ed. 838 (1943); Ivy Broadcasti......
  • In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation, No. 1069
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 24, 1980
    ...would affect the federal policy if it were identifiable-or vice versa. 12 Compare Bank of America Nat'l Trust & Sav. Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 32-34, 77 S.Ct. 119, 120-121, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956), private litigation involving the issues of whether certain government bonds were "overdue" a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
116 cases
  • Southern Pacific Transp. Co. v. United States, Civ. No. R-77-0180.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • November 28, 1978
    ...Court fleshed out the Clearfield doctrine in a series of subsequent cases. In Bank of America National Trust & Savings Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 77 S.Ct. 119, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956), the bank sued in diversity alleging that the defendants had converted certain bearer bonds on which paymen......
  • Farmland Irr. Co. v. Dopplmaier
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 22, 1957
    ...interest exists, it is to remote and speculative to justify displacing state law. See Bank of America Nat. Trust & Sav. Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 77 S.Ct. 119, 121, 1 L.Ed.2d 93. We conclude, therefore, that we are free to make our own determination whether the assignability of a licen......
  • Owens v. Haas, No. 825
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 9, 1979
    ...and duties under the agreement should be governed by federal law. See Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 34, 77 S.Ct. 119, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956); Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363, 63 S.Ct. 573, 87 L.Ed. 838 (1943); Ivy Broadcasti......
  • In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation, No. 1069
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 24, 1980
    ...would affect the federal policy if it were identifiable-or vice versa. 12 Compare Bank of America Nat'l Trust & Sav. Ass'n v. Parnell, 352 U.S. 29, 32-34, 77 S.Ct. 119, 120-121, 1 L.Ed.2d 93 (1956), private litigation involving the issues of whether certain government bonds were "overdue" a......
  • 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