Moore v. Hillebrant

Citation14 Tex. 312
Decision Date01 January 1855
CourtSupreme Court of Texas

The allowance of a claim by an administrator, and its approval by the probate judge, is a quasi judgment, which cannot be reviewed by the County Court.

There can be no doubt at this day that an executor or administrator cannot charge the estate which he represents by the acknowledgment of a debt barred by the statute of limitations. But to set aside a judgment of the Probate Court approving such allowance, proceedings for that purpose must be instituted in the District Court, and within, it seems, some reasonable time. (Note 45.)

A judgment of the County Court which is the basis of another proceeding in that court which is removed by appeal to the District Court cannot be attacked by one who is made a party in the District Court, although such party might be entitled to have such first judgment annulled in a proceeding commenced directly for that purpose, and although all the proper parties are before the court.

Appeal from Houston. It did not appear at whose suggestion the heirs of Burton were made parties.

G. F. Moore, for appellant. Whether or not the approval of the claim by the administrator, and ratification thereof by the chief justice, if at the time the claim was barred by the statute, was binding upon the estate, was not discussed, though, if deemed necessary to sustain the defense set up by the guardian, it has now been fully decided in the negative by this court in the case of Moore v. Hardison, (10 Tex. R., 467,) but it was argued below, and I suppose will be here, that by the approval the claim became a quasi judgment, (Neill v. Hodge, 5 Tex. R., 487,) which could not be contested by any subsequent action in the County Court; and as the case had come by appeal from that court, which had no jurisdiction to try this question, under the authority of Aulanier v. The Governor, (1 Tex. R., 668,) the District Court could not entertain it, even though it could, upon an independent proceeding had for this purpose, have canceled the approval of the claim.

In reply to this we urge--

1st. That the minors were made parties and the case reinstated for the very purpose of settling the validity of this claim.

2d. If the claim was barred by the statute, (which the exceptions admit,) neither the administrator nor chief justice had authority to give it validity against the estate; and their approval of the claim being beyond their jurisdiction, was absolutely void, and that a judgment is void may be shown in any tribunal and between any parties where it is set up and rights are claimed under it. (Towns v. Springer, 9 Geo., 130; 12 U. S. Dig., p. 382, sec. 103.)

3d. But if these positions were not correct, and although this defense could not be set up in the County Court in answer to Hillebrant's petition for payment, and the District Court on the appeal acquired only such jurisdiction as the court in which it originated had, yet these facts would not make this an exception to the general rule under our system that a defendant may in his answer (or third parties may come in and) set up independent facts which would have entitled the party to relief in equity, and that to save costs and to prevent multiplicity of suits the matter alleged in the answer of the guardian should have been inquired into, instead of affirming the judgment of the County Court and enforcing the minors to file a new suit to have the judgment thus rendered set aside.

Yoakum & Taylor, for appellees. From the uniform decisions of this court we understand an allowed and approved claim to be in the nature of a judgment. This judgment will not be set aside except it be brought within the rule laid down in Neill v. Hodge, 5 Tex. R., 490. Then it is done by a proceeding in equity, alleging the ignorance of facts or fraudulent misrepresentation. Nothing of the sort is alleged here. After a lapse of ten years a party in most cases would be unable to prove an account, as his testimony in that time would disappear. As a party would not be entitled to have a new trial to enable him to plead the statute of limitations, surely a judgment would not be set aside by an appellate tribunal for that purpose, especially after the lapse of so many years.


Hillebrant had a claim against the estate of J. W. Burton, deceased. He presented it to the administrator of Burton,...

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21 cases
  • Jones v. Wynne, 10269.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • March 11, 1937 such decisions as Neill v. Hodge, 5 Tex. 487; Toliver v. Hubbell, 6 Tex. 166; Jones' Adm'r v. Underwood, 11 Tex. 116; Moore v. Hillebrant, 14 Tex. 312, 65 Am.Dec. 118; Eccles v. Daniels, 16 Tex. 136; Hillebrant v. Burton's Heirs, 17 Tex. 138; Lott v. Cloud, 23 Tex. 254; Mosely v. Gray, 2......
  • Jones v. Wynne
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 7, 1939, 23 Tex. 631; Neill v. Hodge, 5 Tex. 487; Toliver v. Hubbell, 6 Tex. 166; Jones' Adm'r v. Underwood, 11 Tex. 116; Moore v. Hillebrant, 14 Tex. 312, 65 Am. Dec. 118; Eccles v. Daniels, 16 Tex. 136; Hillebrant v. Burton's Heirs, 17 Tex. 138; Lott v. Cloud, 23 Tex. 254; Mosely v. Gray, 23 ......
  • State ex rel. Scott v. Smith
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 15, 1903
    ......Squires, 6 Ky. (3 Metc.) 77; Bullitt. v. Commonwealth, 77 Ky. (14 Bush) 74; Osgood v. Thurston, 40 Mass. (23 Peck) 110; Abernathy v. Moore, 83 Mo. 65; Poole v. Brown, 12 S.C. 556;. Baker v. Chisholm, 3 Tex. 157; Able v. Bloomfield, 6 Tex. 263; Hearn v. Culberth, 10. Tex. 216; ......
  • In re Esate of Coryell's
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • April 9, 1909
    ...or administrator, is a quasi judgment, which cannot, at a subsequent term, be set aside by the probate court." ( Moore v. Hillebrant, 14 Tex. 312, 65 Am. Dec. 118, and cases cited; Estate of McKinley, 49 Cal. The indorsement by the probate judge hardly rises above an act of administration, ......
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