Childs v. Bank of Missouri

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtRYLAND
Citation17 Mo. 213
PartiesCHILDS, Plaintiff in Error, v. THE BANK OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, Defendant in Error.
Decision Date31 October 1852

17 Mo. 213

CHILDS, Plaintiff in Error,
v.
THE BANK OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, Defendant in Error.

Supreme Court of Missouri.

October Term, 1852.


1. Neither an action for malicious prosecution, for slander, nor for false imprisonment, can be maintained against a corporation.

2. Although, under the new code, a plaintiff may unite in his petition as many causes of action as he may have, yet each cause must be distinctly and separately stated.

[17 Mo. 214]

Error to St. Louis Court of Common Pleas.

Childs brought an action under the new code, alleging that the defendant had falsely accused, and caused him to be accused of embezzlement, and upon this charge had unjustly and maliciously, and without probable cause, caused him to be arrested and imprisoned; that under color of a search warrant, the defendant had obtained possession of certain valuable papers and evidences of debt belonging to the plaintiff; that the defendant had caused the dwelling house of plaintiff to be beset by armed men by day and by night, thus restraining the plaintiff and his family of their liberty, and interrupting their intercourse with their friends; and that the defendant had falsely and maliciously caused the plaintiff to be indicted and prosecuted; for all which grievances, the plaintiff claimed damages to the amount of fifty thousand dollars.

A demurrer to this petition was sustained, and the cause is brought to this court by writ of error.

Edward Bates, for plaintiff in error. The bank, as a corporation, was legally capable of doing all the wrongs charged in the petition; but if capable of doing any one of them, it was erroneous to sustain the demurrer. Our statute law puts corporations and private persons on the same footing. R. C. 1845, ch. 101, § 10. Our statute of set-off is not restrained to natural persons. City of St. Louis v. Rogers, 7 Mo. R. 19. The federal courts consider corporations as the mere aggregate of the individual members, and take or refuse jurisdiction accordingly. Hope Insurance Co. v. Boardman, 5 Cranch, 57. Bank v. Deveaux, ib. 61. Bank U. S. v. Planters' Bank, 9 Wheat. 904. Kirkpatrick v. White, 4 Wash. C. C. R. 595. A money corporation may commit a trespass, and it is sufficent to charge the corporation as a trespasser, that its president ordered the sheriff to execute a writ. Ford v. Perpetual Insurance Co., 11 Mo. Rep. 295. In the nature of things, corporations are as capable of doing wrongful acts, as private persons are, and justice requires that they should be

[17 Mo. 215]

held responsible for them in the same way; and this is the settled doctrine of the common law. Yarborough v. Bank of England, 16 East, 6. Parsons v. Loyd, 3 Wilson's Rep. Goodloe v. Cincinnati, 4 Ohio, 513. 4 S. & R. 6. Angell & Ames on Corporations, (3 ed.) 385, § 7, and especially p. 391.

Miron Leslie, for defendant in error. It is physically and legally impossible that a corporation, as such, can maliciously prosecute, or wilfully slander any one. Kyd on Corporations. Bacon's Ab. 4 Serg. & R. 6. 16 East, 6. 20 Maine Rep.


RYLAND, Judge, delivered the opinion of the court.

1. The difficulty under which we have labored in this case was to classify the action. It is brought under the new code. If it were an action of slander, we should at once say that it could not be maintained. The bank is a corporation-- it cannot utter words--it has no tongue--no hands to commit an assault and battery with--no mind, heart or soul to be put into motion by malice; therefore, if it was an action for an assault and battery, or for a malicious prosecution, or for slander, we should at once say,...

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5 practice notes
  • Kansas City v. Halvorson, No. 38611.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 6, 1943
    ...Mfg., 163 S.W. (2d) 117. (2) The amended petition fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Childs v. Bank, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551; Boyce v. Christy, 47 Mo. 70; McHoney v. Ins. Co., 44 Mo. App. 426; Flowers v. Smith, 214 Mo. 98, 112 S.W. 499; Koch v......
  • McHugh v. St. Louis Transit Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 28, 1905
    ...each cause of action in such manner that they may be intelligently distinguished. Section 593, Rev. St. 1899; Childs v. Bank of Missouri, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551, 61 Am. Dec. 576; Doan v. Holly, 25 Mo. 357; Marsh v. Richards, 29 Mo. 99; St. Louis, etc., Co. v. City of St. ......
  • Stone v. Wendover
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 16, 1876
    ...Dryden, for appellant, cited: 1 Greenl. on Ev. (7th ed.) 52, sec. 41; Wag. Stat. 1012, sec. 1; 1 Chitty's Pl. 413; Childs v. The Bank, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551; Clark v. Hannibal & St. Jo. R. R. Co., 36 Mo. 202; Brownell v. Pacific R. R. Co., 47 Mo. 239; City of St. Lou......
  • Johnson v. St. Louis Dispatch Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 26, 1876
    ...353; Bank of Louisville v. Young, 37 Mo, 398; Hannibal & St. Jo. R. R. Co. v. Marion County, 36 Mo. 294; Childs v. Bank of Missouri, 17 Mo. 213; Orr v. Bank of United States et. al., 1 Ohio, 28; Gillett v. Missouri Valley R. R. Co., 55 Mo. 315; Underwood v. Newport Lyceum, 5 B. Mon. 129......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Kansas City v. Halvorson, No. 38611.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 6, 1943
    ...Mfg., 163 S.W. (2d) 117. (2) The amended petition fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Childs v. Bank, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551; Boyce v. Christy, 47 Mo. 70; McHoney v. Ins. Co., 44 Mo. App. 426; Flowers v. Smith, 214 Mo. 98, 112 S.W. 499; Koch v......
  • McHugh v. St. Louis Transit Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 28, 1905
    ...each cause of action in such manner that they may be intelligently distinguished. Section 593, Rev. St. 1899; Childs v. Bank of Missouri, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551, 61 Am. Dec. 576; Doan v. Holly, 25 Mo. 357; Marsh v. Richards, 29 Mo. 99; St. Louis, etc., Co. v. City of St. ......
  • Stone v. Wendover
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 16, 1876
    ...Dryden, for appellant, cited: 1 Greenl. on Ev. (7th ed.) 52, sec. 41; Wag. Stat. 1012, sec. 1; 1 Chitty's Pl. 413; Childs v. The Bank, 17 Mo. 213; Mooney v. Kennett, 19 Mo. 551; Clark v. Hannibal & St. Jo. R. R. Co., 36 Mo. 202; Brownell v. Pacific R. R. Co., 47 Mo. 239; City of St. Lou......
  • Johnson v. St. Louis Dispatch Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 26, 1876
    ...353; Bank of Louisville v. Young, 37 Mo, 398; Hannibal & St. Jo. R. R. Co. v. Marion County, 36 Mo. 294; Childs v. Bank of Missouri, 17 Mo. 213; Orr v. Bank of United States et. al., 1 Ohio, 28; Gillett v. Missouri Valley R. R. Co., 55 Mo. 315; Underwood v. Newport Lyceum, 5 B. Mon. 129......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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