State ex rel. Pryor v. Paul

Decision Date08 August 1940
Docket Number28061,28062.
Citation5 Wn.2d 90,104 P.2d 745
PartiesSTATE ex rel. PRYOR v. PAUL, Judge pro tem. STATE ex rel. WELLER et al. v. SAME.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Department 1.

Original mandamus proceedings by the State of Washington, on the relation of Archie Pryor, and a proceeding by the State on the relation of Walter Weller, O. K. Williamson, and Paul Hamilton, as trustees of the property owners of Horse Heaven Irrigation District, dissolved, against Honorable Timothy A Paul, Judge pro tempore of the Superior Court of the state of Washington for Benton county.

Peremptory writ issued.

Harcourt M. Taylor, of Yakima, and Martin L Stearns, of Walla Walla, for plaintiffs.

Moulton & Powell, of Kennewick, for respondent.

BLAKE Chief Justice.

The relators in these two cases are making original applications in this court for mandamus to compel the superior court of Benton county, Honorable Timothy A. Paul, judge presiding, to retain and exercise jurisdiction of a cause brought into the superior court of Benton county pursuant to the provisions of Chapter LXXIX, Laws of 1897, p. 207, (Rem.Rev.Stat. §§ 7526-7530), entitled, 'An Act providing for the disorganization and liquidation of irrigation districts which have no bonded indebtedness, and the winding up of their affairs.' (Italics supplied.) Complying with the provisions of § 4 of the act, the board of directors of Horse Heaven Irrigation District presented to Honorable Matt L. Driscoll, judge of the superior court for Benton county, an 'application for an order of said superior court that such irrigation district be declared disorganized and dissolved, and that its affairs be liquidated and would up, as provided for in [the] act.' After notice duly given as prescribed by § 4 of the act, Judge Driscoll, on January 31, 1939, entered an order dissolving and disorganizing the district. Included in the order was a provision, in accord with provisions of § 5 of the act, to the effect that the directors of the district should '* * * proceed as trustees of the creditors and property holders of said District * * * liquidating all of the assets of said District * * * report to this Court * * * and account for the property and money of said District to this Court.' (Italics supplied.)

June 9 1939, the trustees filed an 'Account and Petition for Distribution of Assets and Final Discharge.' From this report it appears that the trustees have in their possession assets of the approximate value of $385,000 for distribution to persons who may be entitled thereto by virtue of the provisions of the act. Judge Driscoll entered an order fixing September 7, 1939, as the day of hearing of the account and petition and directing notice be given of the hearing to interested persons by mailing, publishing and posting of the order in the manner specified therein.

The account and petition for distribution finally came on for hearing Before Judge Paul on March 28, 1940. In the meantime more than four hundred persons had appeared in response to the notice, claiming interest in the assets in varying proportions.

Conceiving that, under the act, the court had power merely to declare the district dissolved and disorganized and to discharge the directors, Judge Paul disclaimed jurisdiction and entered an order discharging the trustees.

The applications for mandamus are here made in one case (No. 28061) by a claimant to a portion of the trust property; in the other (No. 28062) by the trustees.

That mandamus lies to compel a superior court to assume jurisdiction erroneously disclaimed is well settled. State ex rel. Shannon v. Hunter, 3 Wash. 92, 27 P. 1076; State ex rel. Smith v. McClinton, 17 Wash. 45, 48 P. 740; State ex rel. Strohl v. Superior Court of King County, 20 Wash. 545, 56 P. 35, 45 L.R.A. 177; State ex rel. Martin v. Superior Court for King County, 101 Wash. 81, 172 P. 257, 4 A.L.R. 572; State ex rel. Seattle & Rainier Valley Ry. Co. v. Superior Court for King County, 123 Wash. 116, 212 P. 259.

It must be admitted that the act (Chapter LXXIX, Laws of 1897) does not prescribe in detail the procedure by which the assets of a dissolved irrigation district shall be liquidated and distributed. Read as a whole, however, it is clear that the obligation of liquidating and distributing the assets rests upon the erstwhile directors as 'trustees of the creditors and of the property holders of said district.' § 5. While that section specifies certain powers and duties imposed upon the trustees, it places no limitation upon their powers in 'winding up the affairs' of the district. From the same section it is apparent that they are not entitled to discharge until 'any balance of moneys * * * shall be divided and refunded to the assessment payers * * *.' And it is clear too that in the exercise of their powers and duties as trustees they are subject to the supervisory control of the superior court. The court's power is not limited to merely entering an order dissolving the district and discharging the directors. The act (§ 5) specifically provides: 'Said board of...

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4 cases
  • Mengel v. Justices of Superior Court
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • February 23, 1943
    ...1, 116 N.W. 225, 20 L.R.A.,N.S., 941; State v. Circuit Court of St. Croix County, 187 Wis. 1, 203 N.W. 923, 48 A.L.R. 894;State v. Paul, 5 Wash.2d 90, 104 P.2d 745. ...
  • In re Horse Heaven Irr. Dist.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • November 13, 1941
    ... ... A. Paul, Judge ... Moulton ... & Powell, of Kennewick, for ... affairs. In the opinion in State ex rel. Pryor v ... Paul, 5 Wash.2d 90, 104 P.2d 745, we recited ... ...
  • In re Horse Heaven Irr. Dist., 28910.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • September 18, 1943
    ... ... A. Paul, judge ... Horrigan ... & Horrigan, of Pasco, and ... For the full background of the ... matter, see, also, State ex rel. Pryor v. Paul, 5 ... Wash.2d 90, 104 P.2d 745. The material ... ...
  • Hughes v. Boyer
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • August 8, 1940
    ... ... the easterly line of tracts 4 and 5 is State Highway No. 2 ... which is known as the Bothel highway or Bothel ... ...

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