Roby v. Colehour

Decision Date07 November 1892
Docket NumberNos. 987-990,s. 987-990
Citation146 U.S. 153,36 L.Ed. 922,13 S.Ct. 47
PartiesROBY v. COLEHOUR et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Statement by Mr. Justice HARLAN:

John M. Palmer, for plaintiff in error.

H. S. Monroe and W. C. Goudy, for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

The principal facts appearing upon the present motion to dismiss these writs of error for want of jurisdiction in this court, or to affirm the decrees, are as follows:

By deed of date July 18, 1871, Henry F. Clarke and others conveyed to William H. Colehour certain lands in Cook county, Ill., embracing those here in dispute, subject to a mortgage for $4,000, held by Mary P. M. Palmer. The sum of $10,000 was paid in cash, and the grantee executed his notes, aggregating $86,000, for the balance of the purchase money; and, for the purpose of securing them, executed a deed conveying the lands to V. C. Turner in trust. William Hansbrought, Charles W. Colehour, Wesley Morrill, and Francis M. Corby were interested in the profits to be derived from their sale. Hansbrough sold and assigned his interest to Charles W. Colehour and Edward Roby, and Charles W. Colehour acquired the interests of Corby and Morrill. Roby executed to Hansbrough his notes for $4,400, and subsequently paid them. The Colehours and Roby made an arrangement for subdividing and selling the property. That arrangement was evidenced by a written declaration of trust made by William H. Colehour in October, 1873, which Charles W. Colehour and Edward Roby accepted, and by which it was provided, among other things, that, after the payment of all sums due on the notes secured on the land, and all moneys advanced for its development, Roby should be entitled to one fourth, Charles W. Colehour to one half, and William H. Colehour to one fourth, of the net profits. Subsequently, a part of the land was subdivided and improved by grading streets, making ditches, etc., and a part sold, freed from the lien created by the deed of trust given to Turner.

It may be here stated that another writing was produced, bearing date August 16, 1873, and purporting to be a declaration of trust with respect to this property.

Charles W. Colehour, September 22, 1876, released and conveyed to William H. Colehour all his right, title, and interest in certain lands, including those here in controversy; and subsequently, August 30, 1878, filed his petition in bankruptcy, showing debts to the amount of over $800,000. Having been adjudged a bankrupt, he conveyed his property and interests of every kind, according to the course and practice of the court, to an assignee in bankruptcy; and thereafter—the answer of Roby in the principal case alleges—'said Charles W. Colehour had no right or interest therein.' The same answer, referring to this petition in bankruptcy, further states: 'Said Charles W. Colehour having in 1876, for a sufficient and valuable consideration, conveyed all his interest in and to said land and all claims thereon to said William H. Colehour, and having no interest in said land, or the proceeds thereof, or in the title in said William H. Colehour, did not mention the same, or any part thereof, in his inventory filed in said district court of the United States in such proceeding in bankruptcy; and said Charles W. Colehour had not, at said date, to wit, on the 30th day of August, 1878, any right, title, or interest in or to, or claim on, said lands, or any of the proceeds thereof.'

Roby, August 31, 1878, filed his petition in bankruptcy. Having been adjudged a bankrupt, he conveyed, September 7, 1878, all his assets to his assignee, and afterwards, November 23, 1880, was discharged from all debts and claims provable against his estate existing on the day his petition in bankruptcy was filed.

On the 1st day of May, 1897, William H. Colehour executed to Charles W. Colehour a deed covering the lands in dispute subject to the terms of certain declarations of trust which the grantor had previously made.

On the 30th of January, 1890, Charles W. Colehour brought a suit in equity (the principal one of the above cases) in the circuit court of Cook county, Ill., against Edward Roby and William H. Colehour. For the purposes of the present hearing it is only necessary to state that the theory of the bill was that Roby, by fraud, and in violation of his obligations as attorney for the plaintiff, and the defendant William H. Colehour, had acquired, at execution sales and otherwise, the legal title to the lands in dispute, embraced by the deed of trust of October, 1873; and that, if not barred in equity by his acts and conduct from claiming any interest in them, he was entitled to only one quarter of the net profits after all debts and liens against them were paid. The relief prayed was a decree declaring a certain deed from W. H. Colehour to Roby to be void, and that it be set aside as a could upon the title of the plaintiff and W. H. Colehour; that a receiver be appointed, to whom should be conveyed the titles claimed by the respective parties; that the lands be sold, and the proceeds held subject to the final decree in the cause; that the plaintiff and W. H. Colehour be decreed to be the owners of the equity of redemption; and that such other relief be given as was agreeable to equity.

The defendants answered the bill, and W. H. Colehour filed a cross bill for a decree establishing the interests of the parties to be one fourth in Roby and W. H. Colehour, each, and one half in Charles W. Colehour.

In his answer to the original bill, which stood as his answer to the cross bill, Roby denied that he had acted in bad faith, or that the relation of attorney and client existed between him and the Colehours, or either of them, at the time he purchased the lands in dispute. Referring to the proceedings in bankruptcy against him, his answer alleged that after the 31st day of August, 1878,—the date of the filing of his petition in bankruptcy,—'to wit, on the 4th day of February, A. D. 1882, the assignee in bankruptcy of this defendant sold the assets of this defendant, including all his interest derived under the said declarations of trust, unto this defendant, and duly assigned and conveyed the same, including all interest in the said lands embraced in said declarations of trust from said William H. Colehour to this defendant, and said sale was duly approved and made absolute by the said district court; and from thenceforward this defendant has been the owner of said declaration of trust from said William H. Colehour to this defendant, and also of an undivided half of the said declaration of trust from said William H. Colehour to William Hansbrough, and of all interests and claims arising under the same, or either of them.'

The court, while acquitting Roby of any actual or intentional fraud, held that, consistently with the relations existing between him and the Colehours, he could not, at the time of acquiring the titles under which he claims, buy the lands, and hold them adversely to those jointly interested with him. Judge Tuley, delivering the opinion of the circuit court of Cook county, said: 'The law will hold Mr. Roby to be a trustee for the Colehours—for C. W. Colehour to the extent of one half, and W. H. Colehour one quarter—of all the property so...

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  • St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company v. Starbird No 275 Starbird v. St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company No 796
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    ...up or claimed in the state court in such manner as to bring it to the attention of that court. '. . . In Roby v. Colehour, 146 U. S. 153, 159, 36 L. ed. 922, 924, 13 Sup. Ct. Rep. 47, it was said that 'our jurisdiction being invoked upon the ground that a right or immunity, specially set up......
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    • October 11, 1895 the federal congress to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States. In Roby v. Colehour, 146 U. S. 153, 13 Sup. Ct. 47, Roby, while holding the title to certain property in which the Colehours were interested, went into bankruptcy, and afterwards p......
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    ...S. Ct. 533, 33 L. Ed. 892; Walter A. Wood Co. v. Skinner, 139 U. S. 293, 295, 11 S. Ct. 528, 35 L. Ed. 193; Roby v. Colehour, 146 U. S. 153, 159-160, 13 S. Ct. 47, 36 L. Ed. 922; St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Ry. Co. v. Starbird, supra, page 601 of 243 U. S. (37 S. Ct. 462). 4 Murdock......
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    ... ... Congress was relied on by the party who brings the writ of ... error and that the right claimed by him had been ... denied." In Roby v. Colehour, 146 U.S. 153, 36 ... L.Ed. 922, 13 S.Ct. 47, it was said that, our jurisdiction ... being invoked upon the ground that a right or ... ...
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