State of Tennessee v. Barton

Decision Date02 December 1946
Docket Number4-7984
Citation198 S.W.2d 512,210 Ark. 816
PartiesState of Tennessee v. Barton
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied January 27, 1947.

Appeal from Garland Chancery Court; Sam W. Garratt, Chancellor.


Scott Wood, for appellant.

James R. Campbell, Guardian Ad Litem.

Curtis L. Ridgway and Mallory, Rasmussen &amp Johnson, for appellee.


Minor W. Milwee, Justice.

Dr. D. S. Barton and his wife, Loretta Barton, were residents of Hot Springs, Garland county, Arkansas, in 1918 when she became insane. Loretta Barton was reared in Nashville, Tennessee, where her mother still resided on June 21, 1920, when Mrs. Barton was committed to the Central State Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, by order of the county court of Davidson county. She was admitted to the Tennessee hospital as a third class, or private pay, patient and the order of commitment recites the appointment of Mrs. Barton's mother as her guardian. The order also found: "That the said Mrs. Loretta Barton has relatives who are amply able to pay for her maintenance while in said hospital as her husband is a man of means living in Hot Springs, Ark."

On February 21, 1921, D. S. Barton was appointed guardian of the person and estate of his incompetent wife by the Probate Court of Garland county, Arkansas. In 1925, Dr. Barton sold certain real estate for $ 12,000, and $ 4,000 of the sale price was set aside by the Garland Chancery Court, under the insane wife's dower statute. (Pope's Digest, §§ 4447-51).

On February 26, 1926, D. S. Barton secured an interlocutory decree of divorce in the district court of Salt Lake county, Utah, on the ground of incurable insanity. The decree became final on August 27, 1926.

Mrs. Barton owned income producing property in her own right of the value of $ 12,000 at the time D. S. Barton was appointed guardian of her person and estate in 1921. Dr. Barton paid for the maintenance and hospitalization of Loretta Barton at the rate of $ 400 per year from June 21, 1920, until April 24, 1933. Although these payments were ostensibly made by Dr. Barton personally, he was reimbursed out of the income from the estate of Loretta Barton and credited with such payments in his settlements filed with the Garland Probate Court as guardian and curator of her estate.

On April 12, 1933, D. S. Barton wrote a letter to the superintendent of the Central State Hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, in which he stated: "I am writing you in regard to the payments which I have been making for the past ten years for the hospitalization of Mrs. Loretta Barton.

"Due to the existing economic conditions I find myself financially unable to further make these payments. You will note that in past I have been very prompt with these, but at the present time I cannot continue to care for them.

"Kindly advise me what provisions can be made."

As a result of the representations made in this letter, the Davidson County Court authorized the hospital authorities to transfer Loretta Barton to the status of a state pay patient on April 24, 1933, and payments for the incompetent's hospitalization were discontinued.

On December 16, 1941, D. S. Barton filed a petition in the Garland Chancery Court for an order directing the clerk of that court to pay over to him the $ 4,000 fund set aside under the insane dower statute in 1925 because of the rendition of the Utah divorce decree in 1926. The decree was attached to the petition and contains the following provision: "That Dudley S. Barton, the above named plaintiff, be, and he is hereby, ordered and directed to support and maintain the said Loretta Y. Barton, during her detention as an insane person in the Central State Hospital, in the State of Tennessee, as the same may be demanded of him by said Central State Hospital of Nashville, Tennessee."

The prayer of the petition was that the chancery court give full faith and credit to the Utah decree and that the $ 4,000 fund be ordered paid over to petitioner free from any legal or equitable claims. A summons, with a copy of the petition attached thereto, was served on the superintendent of the Central State Hospital where Mrs. Barton was still confined. The court appointed a guardian ad litem for Loretta Barton who filed a demurrer and answer denying the allegations of the petition.

On May 6, 1942, the State of Tennessee, through the Department of Institutions, intervened in the suit instituted by Dr. Barton claiming that the income from the $ 4,000 trust fund, being administered by the chancery court under the dower statute, should be applied to the payment of Mrs. Barton's maintenance in the Central State Hospital of Tennessee since April, 1933. Various amendments to the intervention were filed together with a cross-complaint against D. S. Barton individually and as guardian of Loretta Barton's estate. It was alleged in the cross-complaint that Dr. Barton accepted the Utah divorce decree subject to the provision that he support his wife during her detention in the Tennessee hospital. It was further asked that, if the court should find that D. S. Barton was not personally liable for the debt due the State of Tennessee, then recovery should be allowed against him as curator of the estate of Loretta Barton.

On September 15, 1942, the chancery court entered its order holding that the divorce granted to Dr. Barton did not terminate the trust created under the insane dower statute, and the petition of Dr. Barton was denied, but the cause continued for a hearing on the claim of the State of Tennessee. There has been no appeal from this order.

In April, 1944, the guardian ad litem filed a cross-complaint in which it was alleged that the Utah divorce decree was granted upon condition that D. S. Barton pay the expenses of Loretta Barton in the Central State Hospital of Tennessee; that when he made the statement to the hospital that he was no longer able to pay for the support of Mrs. Barton, he was receiving substantial income from property belonging to her separate estate as well as the trust fund which was being administered by the court.

In his reply to the intervention of the State of Tennessee, D. S. Barton alleged that his wife was a resident of the State of Tennessee at the time she was placed in the hospital by her relatives; that there is nothing due the State of Tennessee for maintenance, since she was placed on the free list of patients by order of the county court of Davidson county, Tennessee; and that the claim was barred by the three-year statute of limitations.

After hearing the evidence, the trial court entered its final decree awarding judgment in favor of the State of Tennessee against D. S. Barton, as guardian of Loretta Barton, in the sum of $ 2,500 for hospital maintenance of Mrs. Barton to August 6, 1945, with interest at 6 per cent from the date of the decree, December 17, 1945, and directed the guardian to pay the State of Tennessee $ 100 per quarter thereafter so long as Mrs. Barton remained in the hospital. The court held the three-year statute of limitations applicable and the $ 2,500 judgment represents payments of $ 100 per quarter from May 6, 1939, which date was three years prior to the filing of the intervention by the State of Tennessee on May 6, 1942. It was further held that D. S. Barton was not liable individually and the cross-complaint against him was dismissed. The State of Tennessee and the guardian ad litem have appealed from this decree.

It is the contention of appellants that the trial court erred in refusing to hold D. S. Barton liable personally for the maintenance and hospitalization of Loretta Barton since the discontinuance of the quarterly payments in April, 1933. We think this contention should be sustained. The personal obligation of Dr. Barton to pay for such maintenance is based upon the Utah decree of divorce. Although Dr. Barton especially prayed that the chancery court accord full faith and credit to the Utah decree in his petition to recover the dower fund, it is now insisted that that part of the decree which requires him to pay the hospital maintenance is not entitled to full faith and credit because no specific sum of money was adjudged to be due and payable in all events, but a condition is annexed to the decree which renders the sum payable thereunder uncertain. His insistence now is that this part of the decree is not enforceable...

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8 cases
  • Dupwe v. Wallace
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • January 8, 2004
    ...78 Ark. at ___, 94 S.W. at 691. The doctrine against inconsistent positions has been developed in Arkansas. In Tennessee v. Barton, 210 Ark. 816, 198 S.W.2d 512 (1946), this court refused to allow Barton to challenge the validity of a portion of a Utah divorce decree that he "especially pra......
  • In re Richardson
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • August 17, 2016
    ...apply to positions taken outside litigation .” Dupwe, 355 Ark. at 531, 140 S.W.3d at 470 (emphasis added) (citing Tenn. v. Barton , 210 Ark. 816, 198 S.W.2d 512 (1946) ). The Court finds that judicial estoppel does not apply to the facts of this case under either federal or Arkansas law, no......
  • Talbot v. Jansen
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • February 16, 1988
    ...does not begin to run until the fraud is discovered. Williams v. Purdy, 223 Ark. 275, 265 S.W.2d 534 (1954); State of Tennessee v. Barton, 210 Ark. 816, 198 S.W.2d 512 (1946). As stated in 37 Am.Jur.2d, Fraud and Deceit, § 406 Unless the fraud was of such a character as to necessarily imply......
  • Department of Mental Health of Com. of Ky. v. Mullins
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • July 8, 1959
    ...§ 857, p. 431; see Hunt v. Monroe, 32 Utah 428, 91 P. 269, 270--271, 11 L.R.A.,N.S., 249 (Sup.Ct.1907); cf. State of Tennessee v. Barton, 210 Ark. 816, 198 S.W.2d 512 (Sup.Ct.1946.) We consequently conclude that the Kentucky authorities are not to be regarded as prosecuting the present acti......
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