Morris v. Giddings

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHARLAN
Citation115 U.S. 300,29 L.Ed. 403,6 S.Ct. 65
Decision Date09 November 1885
PartiesMORRIS, Executor, etc., v. GIDDINGS. Filed

6 S.Ct. 65
115 U.S. 300
29 L.Ed. 403
MORRIS, Executor, etc.,
v.
GIDDINGS.
Filed November 9, 1885.

This action was brought by Richard T. Merrick and Thomas J. Durant to recover damages sustained by them in consequence of the violation of an agreement alleged to have been made by the defendant in error, in reference to compensation due them for certain legal service rendered in behalf of the state of Texas. The declaration contains a special count, and also a common count for money had and received to the use of the plaintiffs. The answer put in issue the existence of the alleged agreement, and every material fact averred in the declaration. Although the record contains several bills of exceptions upon plaintiff's offer to introduce evidence, the decisive question is whether the court erred in peremptorily instructing the jury, upon the whole case, to find for the defendant. 1 Mackey, 394. After the present writ of error was sued out, each of the

Page 301

plaintiffs died, and the action has been revived in the name of their respective personal representatives.

The bill of exceptions states that there was evidence tending to make the following case: In the year 1867, Mr. Merrick, in conjunction with other counsel, was employed by the state to conduct, and they did conduct, legal proceedings for the recovery of certain bonds and coupons, of which, at the commencement of the recent civil war, she was the holder and owner, but which, pending that conflict, were transferred by a military board of the insurrectionary government of Texas for the purpose of enabling it to carry on war against the United States. These bonds had been received by the state from the United States under and in pursuance of the act of congress, approved September 9, 1850, entitled 'An act proposing to the state of Texas the establishment of her northern and western boundaries, the relinquishment by the said state of all territory claimed by her exterior to said boundaries, and of all her claims upon the United States, and to establish a territorial government for New Mexico.' 9 St. c. 49, p. 446. At the time of the employment of Mr. Merrick, some of the bonds and coupons, so transferred, were held, in this country, by the firm of White & Chiles, while the residue had been sent to England, and were there held, for others, by Droege & Co. and the Manchester Bank.

The suit instituted was by original bill filed in this court in the name of the state against the firm of White & Chiles and others. By the final decree therein it was adjudged that the state was entitled to recover the bonds and coupons of which White & Chiles claimed to have become owners under a contract made between them and said military board on January 12, 1865. Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 741, 742. Subsequently, in 1873, the governor of Texas employed Mr. Merrick and Mr. Durant to institute, and accordingly they did institute, suit in the court of claims for the recovery of the proceeds of such of the bonds and coupons as had been sent to England; their compensation to be 20 per centum of what might be recovered by means of that suit. It does not appear what, if anything, was realized by that proceeding.

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After the decree in this court in Texas v. White, establishing the invalidity, as to the lawful government of Texas, of the transfer made to White & Chiles, title was asserted by Chiles, individually, to the bonds and coupons, or their proceeds, held in England. Of this new claim, based upon a contract which Chiles pretended was made with him alone by said military board, Droege & Co. and the Manchester Bank were formally notified; and such claim and notice constituted the sole impediment in the way of the prompt recognition by that firm and bank of the state's right to receive the bonds and coupons, or their proceeds, so held by them.

In this condition of affairs, the state, on the second of June, 1874, entered into a written agreement with J. D. Giddings and the defendant, whereby they were constituted agents, to proceed by suit against all persons having claims, adverse to Texas, to all or any part of the bonds transferred by said military board, with authority to compromise those claims upon such terms as the governor of the state should approve. And it was stipulated that the agents should have, for their services, a contingent fee of 10 per cent. for all sums actually received, under their appointment, by compromise, and 20 per cent. on all sums recovered and actually realized by suit, and no more; such 'per cents, respectively, to cover all costs and expenses, and attorney's fees, whether accrued heretofore or to be incurred hereafter, so as to give the state of Texas all of the money so to be obtained, save and except the ten per cent. aforesaid.' The selection of J. D. Giddings and D. C. Giddings as agents of the state was not designed to interfere with the counsel previously employed; for, shortly after their appointment, the governor of Texas informed the latter that such agents were to be only their 'outside...

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9 practice notes
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...by the same rules. [Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Martin, 283 U.S. 209, 51 Sup. Ct. 453, 75 L. Ed. 983; Morris, Executor, v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 Sup. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403; Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 359, 17 L. Ed. 642.] This is, of course, likewise true of a request for a peremp......
  • Chesapeake Ry Co v. Martin, No. 155
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 13, 1931
    ...in respect of a motion to direct a verdict. Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 359, 369-370, 17 L. Ed. 642; Merrick's Executor v. Giddings, 115 U. S. 300, 305, 6 S. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403. In ruling upon either, the court must resolve all conflicts in the evidence against the defendant; but is bou......
  • Rissell v. St. Louis-S.F. Ry. Co., No. 32221.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 17, 1935
    ...same rule. Hardin v. Illinois Central, 70 S.W. (2d) 1075; C. & O. Railroad v. Martin, 283 U.S. 209, 75 L. Ed. 983; Morris v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 Sup. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403; Hiatt v. Wabash, 69 S.W. (2d) 727; C.M. & St. P. Railroad v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472, 70 L. Ed. 1041; B. &a......
  • McGee v. Marbury, No. 1101.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • August 14, 1951
    ...States v. Chouteau, 102 U.S. 603, 26 L.Ed. 246; County of Dakota v. Glidden, 113 U.S. 222, 5 S.Ct. 428, 28 L.Ed. 981; Morris v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 S.Ct. 65, 29 L.Ed. 403. Directly involving a claim for interest, under circumstances similar to those in this case, was Maloy v. Board of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...by the same rules. [Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Martin, 283 U.S. 209, 51 Sup. Ct. 453, 75 L. Ed. 983; Morris, Executor, v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 Sup. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403; Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 359, 17 L. Ed. 642.] This is, of course, likewise true of a request for a peremp......
  • Chesapeake Ry Co v. Martin, No. 155
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 13, 1931
    ...in respect of a motion to direct a verdict. Schuchardt v. Allen, 1 Wall. 359, 369-370, 17 L. Ed. 642; Merrick's Executor v. Giddings, 115 U. S. 300, 305, 6 S. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403. In ruling upon either, the court must resolve all conflicts in the evidence against the defendant; but is bou......
  • Rissell v. St. Louis-S.F. Ry. Co., No. 32221.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 17, 1935
    ...same rule. Hardin v. Illinois Central, 70 S.W. (2d) 1075; C. & O. Railroad v. Martin, 283 U.S. 209, 75 L. Ed. 983; Morris v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 Sup. Ct. 65, 29 L. Ed. 403; Hiatt v. Wabash, 69 S.W. (2d) 727; C.M. & St. P. Railroad v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472, 70 L. Ed. 1041; B. &a......
  • McGee v. Marbury, No. 1101.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • August 14, 1951
    ...States v. Chouteau, 102 U.S. 603, 26 L.Ed. 246; County of Dakota v. Glidden, 113 U.S. 222, 5 S.Ct. 428, 28 L.Ed. 981; Morris v. Giddings, 115 U.S. 300, 6 S.Ct. 65, 29 L.Ed. 403. Directly involving a claim for interest, under circumstances similar to those in this case, was Maloy v. Board of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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