Romeyn v. Caplis

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtGraves J.
Citation17 Mich. 449
PartiesJames W. Romeyn v. James Caplis
Decision Date24 October 1868

17 Mich. 449

James W. Romeyn
v.
James Caplis

Supreme Court of Michigan

October 24, 1868


Heard October 15, 1868 [17 Mich. 450] [Syllabus Material] [17 Mich. 451]

Appeal in chancery from Wayne circuit.

The bill in this cause was filed to enforce the specific performance of a contract for the purchase of certain real estate in the city of Detroit.

An injunction was issued, forbidding defendants from "making any conveyance of, or creating any lien upon said premises, or in any way making any change in the apparent title of the same."

One of the defendants was adjudged guilty of violating the injunction, and an appeal was taken from this order.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Reversed.

D. C. Holbrook, for defendant and appellant:

It is claimed that the appellant is guilty of altering the apparent title to the property in question, by obtaining a second deed to cure errors in a prior one.

If the first deed was valid, the apparent title was the real title, and the procuring a like second deed was not altering or changing any title.

And the appellant contends that the insertion of the name of a grantee before delivery under the (to say the least) implied authority, bound Hugh Lyell when he took the money by consent.

The title was either real or apparently so, just according to the intent of Hugh Lyell, and by his second deed he expressly confirmed and affirmed the first deed with the name inserted, as his act.

The fact that the first deed was witnessed and acknowledged matters not; the insertion of the name was no alteration, if done with the consent of the grantor, and, as such, was good on delivery.

There was, therefore, no violation of the injunction, and the defendant, Caplis, should not have been adjudged guilty of contempt.

James W. Romeyn, for complainant and appellee:

This is an appeal from Wayne circuit by James Caplis, from an order adjudging him guilty of a contempt in violating a preliminary injunction.

An order, to show cause why an attachment should not issue, having been made, the court below, on hearing, imposed a fine of $ 100. From this the defendant appeals.

1. The appellant was held liable for a criminal contempt, and was fined accordingly; the court having discretion within certain limits, under the statute. In this case, the decision of the People v. Simonson, 9 Mich. 492, does not apply. The fine is to go to the county, not to the party for whose protection the injunction was granted. The appellee does not claim that "an actual loss or injury has been produced to the party by the misconduct alleged," nor does he ask any sum "to indemnify him." The misconduct is brought to the notice of the court below by the complainant acting as amicus curioe, and the fine is imposed by the court in vindication of its authority, and of the obligation of the writ issued under its direction.

2. This is not such a final order as gives a right to appeal. The merits of the case had been decided by a decree therein made long previously to the contempt order. From this general decree no appeal has been claimed, and it is now too late to review it. By it all the questions at issue are finally disposed of. Caplis appears alone to contest a criminal order affecting him personally.

In the case of Duncan v. Campau, 15 Mich. 415, an order appointing a receiver was held interlocutory and unappealable; though in Lewis v. Campau, 14 Mich. 458, an order, professedly interlocutory, but really in effect a decree, was held appealable. Under these decisions, the court will examine the subject matter of the bill and the record, and will decide the question of dismissing an appeal according to the fact and intent.

The object of the bill had been satisfied by the decree. The proceeding for contempt and judgment thereon were collateral and incidental. The right of appeal is statutory--2 Comp. L., p. 1030--and will be strictly construed.

3. The order of the court below was correct and proper under the circumstances.

The court has the power and should exercise the right, to protect itself, and enforce its order or process.

The record shows a clear and deliberate violation of the injunction, and this court will examine into the circumstances, for the purpose of deciding upon the intent of the party violating it, in which intent the criminality of the action of appellant consists.

Not even a service of the writ of injunction is necessary, in many cases, to bind the party--simple notice will be sufficient: 1 Barb. Ch., 634. The doctrine is well settled. And, even though the injunction be irregular or erroneously obtained, the defendant may not violate it: Id., p. 630; Sullivan v. Judah, 4 Paige 444.

The defense, that in this cause the "apparent title" was not changed, is negatived by the record, and the admissions under his oath of Caplis himself.

Graves, J., Cooley, Ch. J. Christiancy, J., Campbell, J. concurred.

OPINION [17 Mich. 452]

Graves J.:

In this case, the defendant Caplis asks us to review, on appeal, an order made in the court below, adjudging him guilty of a contempt, and imposing a fine upon him of $ 100, and requiring him to pay to the complainant the costs and expenses of the proceeding, taxed in the order at $ 10.

The contempt imputed to the defendant, consisted in an alleged violation of an injunction issued from the court below, and served upon Caplis, and enjoining him, and the defendants Anderson, Lyell and Roberts, among other things, from making any conveyance of, or creating any lien upon the premises described in the writ, or in any way changing the apparent title of the same.

In order to decide the questions raised here, it is unnecessary to mention all the facts belonging to the case, but only such of them as have a particular bearing on these questions.

The premises mentioned in the injunction were situated in Detroit, and the defendant Gray held the title to them, and agreed in writing to sell them to the defendant Anderson.

Subsequently Gray conveyed the premises by quit-claim deed to the defendant Lyell, who resided in Scotland. Anderson agreed with the mother of the complainant to sell [17 Mich. 453] the premises to her, subject to the payment of the amount due, and to become due on the agreement made by Gray.

The complainant subsequently succeeded to the rights of his mother, and filed the bill in this case to obtain the legal title to the property. The bill set forth the foregoing and other facts to show the equities of complainant, and stated in substance that the defendant Lyell had executed in Scotland a quit-claim deed of the premises, without naming any one in it as grantee, or putting any revenue stamp upon it, and in that condition had sent it to one Vincent J. Scott, of Detroit, without any authority whatever to any one to insert the name of any person as grantee, and that subsequently, and on the procurement of Caplis, and without any authority, the name of the defendant Roberts was inserted as grantee, and that the instrument so prepared was delivered to the defendants Caplis and Roberts, and shortly thereafter stamped for $ 6.50, and recorded in the office of the register of deeds for the county of Wayne.

It was also stated in the bill that the two contracts mentioned were like wise recorded in said office, and that shortly after the contract with her, Mrs. Romeyn took possession of the premises, and that the same were occupied by her until her death, and by her children thereafter, and until the filing of the bill.

The complainant having obtained a decree in the cause, an affidavit was filed in the court below in May last, made by Theodore Romeyn, containing, among other things, the following statement: "Notwithstanding said injunction, it appears that a second deed of said premises, dated on the 28th day of August, 1866, was prepared by said James Caplis, acting for said Roberts, and procured by him, said Caplis, to be sent to said Lyell for execution, after the bill in this case had been filed and the said injunction served; and that said second deed after its execution was received by said Caplis and delivered by him to said Roberts, and that it was subsequently recorded through their procurement." [17 Mich. 454]

Such proceedings were thereupon had, that the court below, on the 15th of June, 1868, adjudged the defendants Caplis and Roberts guilty of the misconduct alleged and that such misconduct was calculated to, or did actually, defeat, impair, impede or prejudice the rights of the complainant in the cause; and on such adjudication the court imposed the fine before mentioned.

It has been contended before us that the order in this case was not one from which an appeal could be taken, since the appellee did not claim that an actual loss or injury had been produced to the party by the misconduct alleged, and did not ask for any sum to indemnify him. I think that this position can not be sustained. The injunction was an appropriate civil process, belonging to the remedy in the action in which it issued, and the proceeding for its violation was under the chapter entitled, "of proceedings, as for contempts to enforce civil remedies, and to protect the rights of parties in civil actions."

The order complained of was final and not merely a step in the course of proceeding contemplating further action by the court in relation to the same matter; and it belonged to that class of proceedings which are provided to secure obedience to the necessary processes of courts in civil cases. It adjudged the party guilty of willful...

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12 practice notes
  • Laramie National Bank v. Steinhoff
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 1, 1898
    ...5 Heisk., 702; Tyler v. Hammersley, 44 Conn. 393; Baldwin v. Miles, 58 Conn. 496; State v. Horner, 16 Mo. App., 191; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449; Ry. Co. v. Ramsey, 45 N.Y. 637; Ludlow v. Knox, 4 Abb. App., 326; 7 Abb. Pr., 411; State v. Davis (N. D.), 51 N.W. 942; Wyatt v. Magee, 3 Ala.......
  • Ex parte Whitmore
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • January 12, 1894
    ...of the court and the majesty of the laws. For these reasons we are of the opinion the motion should be denied." In Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449, the court said: "It has been contended before us that the order in this case was not one from which an appeal could be taken, since the appellee......
  • Taylor v. Sweet
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 25, 1879
    ...27 Mich. 52; Damouth v. Klock, 28 Mich. 163; Chandler v. Chandler, 24 Mich. 176; Perkins v. Perkins, 16 Mich. 162; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449; People v. Simonson, 9 Mich. 492; Bullard v. Green, 9 Mich. 222; Shaw v. Shaw, 9 Mich. 164; Webster v. Hitchcock, 11 Mich. 56; Baker v. Pierson, ......
  • Kingsbury v. Kingsbury
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 19, 1870
    ...v. Green, 9 Mich. R. 222; People v. Simonson, 9 Mich. 492; Mich. Ins. Co. v. Whittemore, [20 Mich. 216] 12 Mich. 311; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449. In all these cases the orders were regarded as final. For instances of orders not final, we refer to Prentis v. Rice, 2 Doug. 296; Wing v. Wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Laramie National Bank v. Steinhoff
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • June 1, 1898
    ...5 Heisk., 702; Tyler v. Hammersley, 44 Conn. 393; Baldwin v. Miles, 58 Conn. 496; State v. Horner, 16 Mo. App., 191; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449; Ry. Co. v. Ramsey, 45 N.Y. 637; Ludlow v. Knox, 4 Abb. App., 326; 7 Abb. Pr., 411; State v. Davis (N. D.), 51 N.W. 942; Wyatt v. Magee, 3 Ala.......
  • Ex parte Whitmore
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • January 12, 1894
    ...of the court and the majesty of the laws. For these reasons we are of the opinion the motion should be denied." In Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449, the court said: "It has been contended before us that the order in this case was not one from which an appeal could be taken, since the appellee......
  • Taylor v. Sweet
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 25, 1879
    ...27 Mich. 52; Damouth v. Klock, 28 Mich. 163; Chandler v. Chandler, 24 Mich. 176; Perkins v. Perkins, 16 Mich. 162; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449; People v. Simonson, 9 Mich. 492; Bullard v. Green, 9 Mich. 222; Shaw v. Shaw, 9 Mich. 164; Webster v. Hitchcock, 11 Mich. 56; Baker v. Pierson, ......
  • Kingsbury v. Kingsbury
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 19, 1870
    ...v. Green, 9 Mich. R. 222; People v. Simonson, 9 Mich. 492; Mich. Ins. Co. v. Whittemore, [20 Mich. 216] 12 Mich. 311; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449. In all these cases the orders were regarded as final. For instances of orders not final, we refer to Prentis v. Rice, 2 Doug. 296; Wing v. Wa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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