Jones v. Crim

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtWILLIAMS
Citation66 W.Va. 301,66 S.E. 367
Decision Date23 November 1909
PartiesJONES et al. v. CRIM et al.

(66 W.Va. 301)
66 S.E. 367

JONES et al.
v.
CRIM et al.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Nov. 23, 1909.


1. Equity (§ 153*) — Pleading — Substance and Not Form Regarded.

Equity regards the substance, and not the mere form, of pleadings, and a pleading, although styled a "petition, " and filed for the purpose of reviewing the proceedings in a former suit, will nevertheless be treated as an original bill, if the matter averred is sufficient ground for an original suit.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Equity, Cent. Dig. § 387; Dec. Dig. § 153.*]

2. Equity (§ 219*)—Want of Parties—Demurrer.

If a bill shows upon its face the want of proper parties, it is demurrable.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Equity, Cent. Dig. § 499; Dec. Dig. § 219.*]

3. Process (§ 77*) — Substituted Service — Compliance with Statute.

In order that substituted service of original process shall have the effect of actual service upon the party in person, the return must show that all essential provisions of the statute authorizing such substituted service have been strictly complied with.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Process, Cent Dig. § 89; Dec. Dig. § 77.*]

4. Judgment (§ 17*) — Validity — Defective Service.

A default decree rendered upon a defective substituted service of process is void for want of jurisdiction.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Judgment, Cent. Dig. §§ 25-33; Dec. Dig. § 17.*]

5. Judgment (§ 525*) — Jurisdictional Recitals—Conclusiveness.

The recital in a decree, to the effect that process was duly served upon a defendant, is not conclusive evidence of proper service, but must be considered as referring to the manner of service shown by the return on the process, which, if plainly contradictory, will prevail over the recital.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Judgment, Cent. Dig. §§ 568, 968, 982%; Dec. Dig. § 525.*]

6. Judgment (§ 525*)—Presumption of Proper Service of Process.

Absence from the record of the return on the process, showing the manner of service upon other defendants embraced in the recital in the decree along with the defendant, upon whom imperfect service is shown to have been made by a particular return as to him, raises no presumption that such defendant was afterwards properly served.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Judgment, Cent. Dig. 568, 968, 982%; Dec. Dig. § 525.*]

7. Quieting Title (§ 7*)—Cloud on Title-Sale under Void Decree.

A sale and conveyance of land made under void decrees invests no title in the purchaser, but such deed may constitute a cloud upon the title of the true owner, which a court of equity will remove.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Quieting Title, Cent. Dig. §§ 14, 15, 16, 27, 29; Dec. Dig. § 7.*]

(Syllabus by the Court.)

Appeal from Circuit Court, Barbour County.

Bill by Grover Jones and another against E. H. Crim and another, Executors of J. N. B. Crim, deceased, and others. Decree for complainants, and defendants appeal. Reversed and remanded.

W. T. Ice, Jr., for appellants.

W. T. George, for appellees.

WILLIAMS, J. This is an appeal from two decrees of the circuit court of Barbour county made on the 28th of September, 1906, and on the 22d of April, 1908, respectively. The first is the order overruling the demurrer to plaintiffs' petition, and the second is the final decree granting relief to plaintiffs.

In 1895 J. N. B. Crim brought a suit in equity against W. W. Jones and others to enforce the collection of certain liens against Jones' land. The following lands were subject to liens, and were sold, viz.: 87 1/2 acres which Jones held under contract of sale from Crim, to whom he owed $1,210.92 of the purchase money; 42 acres of surface and 42 acres of coal thereunder which had been severed, and a tract of 41 acres. Crim had gotten judgments on the purchase-money notes, and they thus became liens on the other lands as well, but not the first liens on them. All the liens amounted to $4,257.08 as of the 22d of May, 1897. W. W. Jones made no appearance, and the lands were sold under decrees taken pro confesso as to him, and purchased by J. N. B. Crim at the price of $430. At the February term, 1898, the sale was confirmed, and Melville Peck was appointed commissioner to make deed, and on the 13th of December, 1900, the deed was executed to Crim. W. W. Jones died in April, 1900, and J. N. B. Crim died, testate, some years after, and E. H. Crim and M. Peck qualified as his executors. In September, 1906, Grover Jones and Ethel Jones, infants, suing by their next friend, filed their petition to have said cause review-

[66 S.E. 368]

ed and the decrees and deed annulled, as a cloud on their title, alleging that W. W. Jones had not been served with process, and that therefore the default decrees were void as to him. They prayed also for an injunction against Crim's executors, who were also his sole devisees, to prevent them from taking title to the lands, if deed had not then been made, and also to prevent them from incumbering or conveying the lands. Petitioners are the infant grandchildren of W. W. Jones, being children of a deceased son, who had died some years before their grandfather died. The demurrer to the petition was overruled, and this is one of the errors assigned. Among other matters the demurrer raises the question of the statute of limitations. Its application depends upon whether the decree is only voidable, or absolutely void; and this, in turn, depends upon whether or not there was proper service of process upon W. W. Jones.

The petition may be treated either as a bill of review, an original bill in the nature of a bill of review, or as a motion, under section 4036, Code 1906, to correct a default decree for error in the record for which it should be reversed in an appellate court, because equity will regard the...

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24 practice notes
  • Lieberman v. Lieberman, No. 10849
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 3, 1957
    ...as conclusive upon the question of the service of process and the entry and execution of an order of publication.' In Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367, the opinion states that, in the absence of any process whatever showing service upon a defendant, a recital in a decree that the de......
  • State ex rel. Vance v. Arthur, No. 10887
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • May 28, 1957
    ...v. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Company v. Holt, 51 W.Va. 352, 41 S.E. ......
  • Gavenda Bros., Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Co., No. 12012
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 22, 1960
    ...J. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company v. Holt,......
  • State ex rel. Cecil v. Knapp, No. 11012
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 11, 1958
    ...J. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company v. Holt,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • Lieberman v. Lieberman, No. 10849
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 3, 1957
    ...as conclusive upon the question of the service of process and the entry and execution of an order of publication.' In Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367, the opinion states that, in the absence of any process whatever showing service upon a defendant, a recital in a decree that the de......
  • State ex rel. Vance v. Arthur, No. 10887
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • May 28, 1957
    ...v. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Company v. Holt, 51 W.Va. 352, 41 S.E. ......
  • Gavenda Bros., Inc. v. Elkins Limestone Co., No. 12012
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 22, 1960
    ...J. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company v. Holt,......
  • State ex rel. Cecil v. Knapp, No. 11012
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 11, 1958
    ...J. Kenny Transfer Company, 110 W.Va. 395, 158 S.E. 506; New Eagle Gas Coal Company v. Burgess, 90 W.Va. 541, 111 S.E. 508; Jones v. Crim, 66 W.Va. 301, 66 S.E. 367; Roberts v. Hickory Camp Coal and Coke Company, 58 W.Va. 276, 52 S.E. 182; St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company v. Holt,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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