Demuth v. Old Town Bank of Baltimore

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtMcSHERRY, C. J.
Citation37 A. 266,85 Md. 315
Decision Date31 March 1897
PartiesDEMUTH et al. v. OLD TOWN BANK OF BALTIMORE et al.
37 A. 266
85 Md. 315

DEMUTH et al.
v.
OLD TOWN BANK OF BALTIMORE et al.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

March 31, 1897.


Appeal from circuit court of Baltimore city.

Petition by Charles H. Demuth and another against the Old Town Bank of Baltimore and others to rescind a decree of foreclosure. From a decree dismissing the petition, plaintiffs appeal. Affirmed.

Argued before McSHERRY, C. J., and BRISCOE, BRYAN, PAGE, BOYD, and RUSSUM, JJ.

Millard F. Taylor and Rob. F. Leach, Jr., for appellants.

Thomas Hughes, for appellees.

McSHERRY, C. J. This is a case of exceedingly great hardship, and we have diligently, but in vain, sought for some tenable ground upon which the appellants could be relieved from the loss that an affirmance of the decree appealed from will necessarily subject them to. But hard cases, it has often been said, almost always make bad law; and hence it is, in the end, far better that the established rules of law should be strictly applied, even though in particular instances serious loss may be thereby inflicted on some individuals, than that by subtle distinctions, invented and resorted to solely to escape such consequences, long-settled and firmly-fixed doctrines should be shaken, questioned, confused, or doubted. Lovejoy v. Irelan, 17 Md. 527. It is often difficult to resist the influence which a palpable hardship is calculated to exert; but a rigid adherence to fundamental principles at all times, and a stern insensibility to the results which an unvarying enforcement of those principles may occasionally entail, are the surest, if not the only, means by which stability and certainty in the administration of the law may be secured. It is for the legislature, by appropriate enactments, and not for the courts, by metaphysical refinements, to provide a remedy against the happening of hardships which may result from the consistent application of established legal principles.

Now, the facts before us are these: Samuel D. Price was in 1888 the owner of some leasehold property in Baltimore city. This on January 28, 1888, be assigned to Henry C. Fowler, an employe of his, for an alleged, but in fact for a simulated, consideration of $1,500. On the same day, and as a part of the same transaction, Fowler executed and delivered to Price a mortgage on the same property to secure the payment of $1,000, stated to be the balance of purchase money due by Fowler to Price; and Fowler also signed and delivered a promissory note of even date, payable to Price in 1 year, for the principal sum of $1,000, and two other promissory notes, each for the sum of $30, payable in 6 and 12 months, for the interest. These three notes are described in the mortgage. The deed and the mortgage were promptly placed on record. Simultaneously with the execution of the deed, the mortgage, and the notes, Fowler also executed and delivered to Price a deed reconveying and reassigning to him the identical leasehold property. This deed was not placed on record until November 12, 1891. The sale by Price to Fowler was not an actual sale at all. It was a mere device to which Price, who was a builder, resorted to raise money without himself executing a mortgage on his property. To all appearances, however, so far as the public records disclosed, it was a perfectly regular and bona fide transaction. On January 31, 1888, Price borrowed from the Old Town Bank of Baltimore the sum of $1,200, and indorsed to the bank, as collateral, the $1,000 mortgage note of Fowler, and another note, with which we have no concern. Price's note to the bank was repeatedly renewed, and, when each renewal was made, Fowler's note to Price was repledged. There can be no doubt about the entire good faith of the bank in this transaction. The bank continued to hold the note, which on its face showed that it was

37 A. 267

secured by a mortgage of even date, and on October 31, 1895, after Price had become insolvent, and shortly before he died, the bank filed in the circuit court of Baltimore city a petition praying for a decree directing a sale of the mortgaged premises, and under the terms of the mortgage the usual decree was forthwith signed. Within a month thereafter the appellants came into the case, and by petition asked that the decree be set aside. They base the relief which they seek upon these facts: in November, 1891, the appellants, desiring to purchase the property in question, had the title examined, and, it being then discovered that Price held the mortgage thereon from Fowler, negotiations were opened, not with Fowler, the apparent owner, but with Price, who informed the appellants and their counsel that the mortgage had been paid, and that he held a deed from Fowler assigning the property back to him. He thereupon produced the deed of assignment, contemporaneous in date with the moil gage and with the deed from Price to Fowler; and he exhibited three promissory notes, purporting to be the three mortgage notes described in the mortgage from Fowler to him,— the one note for $1,000, and the other two each for $30. Without making any inquiry of Fowler, the appellants concluded the purchase with Price; and Price on November 12, 1891, released on the public records the mortgage of January 21, 1888, and then placed on record the deed of assignment from Fowler to himself, dated, as stated, on January 28, 1888, and delivered to the appellants a deed dated November 12, 1891, assigning to them the same property. Thereupon the appellants paid him $1,300, the...

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60 practice notes
  • Ross v. Board of Elections, No. 131
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • June 23, 2005
    ...of Chancery, 1669-1679, Vol. 51 at 561. The doctrine was recognized in this Court as well. See, e.g., Demuth v. Old Town Bank of Baltimore, 85 Md. 315, 317-18, 37 A. 266, 268-69 (1897); Williams' Ex'rs v. Mayor and City of Annapolis, 6 H. & J. 529 (1825); Pearce v. Wallace, 1 H. & J. 48 (18......
  • Colonial & U.S. Mortg. Co. v. Nw. Thresher Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 27, 1905
    ...282;Fowler v. Wood, 78 Hun, 304, 28 N. Y. Supp. 976;Colton v. Depew, 60 N. J. Eq. 454, 46 Atl. 728, 83 Am. St. Rep. 650;Demuth v. Bank, 85 Md. 315, 37 Atl. 266, 60 Am. St. Rep. 322;Arthur v. Screven (S. C.) 17 S. E. 640;Elkins v. Edwards, 8 Ga. 326;Bizzell v. Nix, 60 Ala. 281, 31 Am. Rep. 3......
  • Austin v. City of Baltimore, No. 132
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 13, 1979
    ...718 (1969). We are not insensitive to the problems sometimes presented by individual cases. We said long ago in Demuth v. Old Town Bank, 85 Md. 315, 37 A. 266 (1897): "It is often difficult to resist the influence which a palpable hardship is calculated to exert; but," we added, "a rigid ad......
  • Harrison v. Montgomery County Bd. of Educ., No. 17
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • March 2, 1983
    ...Page 459 are left to the Legislature." Id. at 102, 231 A.2d 514. As the Court observed many years earlier in DeMuth v. Old Town Bank, 85 Md. 315, 320, 37 A. 266 "[I]t is, in the end, far better that the established rules of law should be strictly applied, even though in particular instances......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
60 cases
  • Ross v. Board of Elections, No. 131
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • June 23, 2005
    ...of Chancery, 1669-1679, Vol. 51 at 561. The doctrine was recognized in this Court as well. See, e.g., Demuth v. Old Town Bank of Baltimore, 85 Md. 315, 317-18, 37 A. 266, 268-69 (1897); Williams' Ex'rs v. Mayor and City of Annapolis, 6 H. & J. 529 (1825); Pearce v. Wallace, 1 H. & J. 48 (18......
  • Colonial & U.S. Mortg. Co. v. Nw. Thresher Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 27, 1905
    ...282;Fowler v. Wood, 78 Hun, 304, 28 N. Y. Supp. 976;Colton v. Depew, 60 N. J. Eq. 454, 46 Atl. 728, 83 Am. St. Rep. 650;Demuth v. Bank, 85 Md. 315, 37 Atl. 266, 60 Am. St. Rep. 322;Arthur v. Screven (S. C.) 17 S. E. 640;Elkins v. Edwards, 8 Ga. 326;Bizzell v. Nix, 60 Ala. 281, 31 Am. Rep. 3......
  • Austin v. City of Baltimore, No. 132
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 13, 1979
    ...718 (1969). We are not insensitive to the problems sometimes presented by individual cases. We said long ago in Demuth v. Old Town Bank, 85 Md. 315, 37 A. 266 (1897): "It is often difficult to resist the influence which a palpable hardship is calculated to exert; but," we added, "a rigid ad......
  • Harrison v. Montgomery County Bd. of Educ., No. 17
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • March 2, 1983
    ...Page 459 are left to the Legislature." Id. at 102, 231 A.2d 514. As the Court observed many years earlier in DeMuth v. Old Town Bank, 85 Md. 315, 320, 37 A. 266 "[I]t is, in the end, far better that the established rules of law should be strictly applied, even though in particular instances......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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