United States v. Apple

Decision Date13 September 1923
Docket Number6333.
PartiesUNITED STATES v. APPLE et al.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit

Leslie J. Lyons, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellant.

E. S Bessey, of Oklahoma City, Okl. (A. M. Keene, of Ft. Scott Kan., Edward E. Sapp, of Galena, Kan., and George W Earnshaw, of Joplin, Mo., on the briefs), for appellees.

Before STONE and KENYON, Circuit Judges, and TRIEBER, District Judge.

KENYON Circuit Judge.

This case is here on appeal from the District Court of the United States for the District of Kansas. The government brought action against a number of defendants to recover sums of money claimed to belong to Benjamin and See-sah Quapaw full-blood Quapaw Indians, living on the Quapaw Reservation in Ottawa county, Okl., upon whose land rich deposits of lead and zinc ore had been discovered. In March, 1920, See-sah Quapaw died, and her husband and brother were determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be her heirs. Said action sought an accounting from various parties defendant for money acquired from Benjamin Quapaw, also to declare trusts for portions of said money invested, and to cancel certain bonds, mortgages, notes, and powers of attorney, and other contracts signed by Benjamin and See-sah Quapaw. As the case was originally brought, there were 23 defendants, and 9 parties filed interventions. Certain compromises and adjustments were made between the government, acting in behalf of the Indians, various defendants, and all of the interveners, except one. This eliminated many parties, and as the case was finally tried there were 6 defendants and 1 intervener. The defendants were Walter T. Apple. Edward E. Sapp, Charles Goodeagle, Merton Goodeagle, Baxter National Bank of Baxter Springs, Kan., and First National Bank of Miami, Okl. The intervener was Smith, Rae & Lovitt.

The record is voluminous and many questions are presented by the assignments of error. Our power to review the evidence is challenged by reason of the agreement made between the parties for the appointment of a master providing as follows:

'Stipulation for Appointment of Master, etc.
'It is stipulated and agreed, by and between the undersigned solicitors for the respective parties, that a special master shall be appointed in the above entitled cause in accordance with the equity rules and be governed by the same, to take the testimony, make findings of fact and conclusions of law as to the rights of the respective parties, under the directions of the court.'

Under this agreement W. P. Dillard was appointed special master, and made 51 findings of fact and 15 conclusions of law. In view of the agreement entered into between the parties for the appointment of a special master, and the appointment in pursuance thereof by the court, to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, we are prevented under the holdings of the Supreme Court of the United States from reviewing these conclusions of fact if there is substantial evidence to support them.

In Davis v. Schwartz, 155 U.S. 631, 636, 15 Sup.Ct. 237, 239 (39 L.Ed. 289), the court said:

'1. As the case was referred by the court to a master to report, not the evidence merely, but the facts of the case, and his conclusions of law thereon, we think that his finding, so far as it involves questions of fact, is attended by a presumption of correctness similar to that in the case of a finding by a referee, the special verdict of a jury, the findings of a Circuit Court in a case tried by the court under Rev. Stat. Sec. 649, or in an admiralty cause appealed to this court. In neither of these cases is the finding absolutely conclusive, as if there be no testimony tending to support it; but so far as it depends upon conflicting testimony, or upon the credibility of witnesses, or so far as there is any testimony consistent with the finding, it must be treated as unassailable.'

In Kimberly v. Arms, 129 U.S. 512, 524, 9 Sup.Ct. 355, 359 (32 L.Ed. 764), the court said:

'It is not within the general province of a master to pass upon all the issues in an equity case, nor is it competent for the court to refer the entire decision of a case to him without the consent of the parties. It cannot, of its own motion, or upon the request of one party, abdicate its duty to determine by its own judgment the controversy presented, and devolve that duty upon any of its officers. But when the parties consent to the reference of a case to a master or other officer to hear and decide all the issues therein, and report his findings, both of fact and of law, and such reference is entered as a rule of the court, the master is clothed with very different powers from those which he exercises upon ordinary references, without such consent; and his determinations are not subject to be set aside and disregarded at the mere discretion of the court. A reference by consent of parties, of an entire case for the determination of all its issues, though not strictly a submission of the controversy to arbitration-- a proceeding which is governed by special rules-- is a submission of the controversy to a tribunal of the parties' own selection, to be governed in its conduct by the ordinary rules applicable to the administration of justice in tribunals established by law. Its findings, like those of an independent tribunal, are to be taken as presumptively correct, subject, indeed, to be reviewed under the reservation contained in the consent and order of the court, when there has been manifest error in the consideration given to the evidence, or in the application of the law, but not otherwise.'

This case draws a distinction between the usual reference by the court to a master, and a reference by consent of parties of an entire case for the determination of all its issues. Courts should not abdicate their functions and powers in favor of the master, but where parties agree that the master shall determine and make findings of fact, and the master makes such findings, it is in the interest of justice that great weight be accorded them, and if there is substantial evidence in their support and they are not manifestly erroneous they will be sustained. Crawford v. Neal, 144 U.S. 585, 12 Sup.Ct. 759, 36 L.Ed. 552.

It is pressed in argument that the case of City and County of Denver et al. v. Denver Union Water Co., 246 U.S. 178, 38 Sup.Ct. 278, 62 L.Ed. 649, modifies the rule of Kimberly v. Arms and Davis v. Schwartz. We do not think so. The consent to the order of reference was different in that case from the case at bar, as is apparent from the following quotation therefrom:

'In the present case, the consent given to the order of reference was conditioned by the terms of the order itself, which, as we have seen, limited the functions of the master to the taking of testimony and reporting it to the court together with his findings of fact and conclusions of law for the advisement of the court.'

In United States Trust Co. v. Mercantile Trust Co. et al., 88 F. 140, 153, 31 C.C.A. 427, 440, the court stated the rule:

'So far, therefore, as the findings of fact by the special master, under the stipulation referred to, are based upon conflicting evidence, or upon the veracity of witnesses, or so far as there is evidence consistent with the finding, they are conclusive and binding upon the court.'

In the case of Blank v. Aronson, 109 C.C.A. 327, 330, 187 F. 241, 244, this court stated the rule thus:

'It is the settled law of this court that, where a chancellor has considered conflicting evidence and made his findings of fact and decree thereon, they will be treated as presumptively correct, and will not be disturbed, unless an obvious error has intervened in the application of the law, or some serious mistake has been made in the consideration of the evidence.'

Other federal cases on this subject are Cimiotti Unhairing Co v. American Fur Refining Co., 168 F. 529, 93 C.C.A. 546; Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Clark, 92 F. 968, 35 C.C.A. 120; Arkansas Anthracite Coal & Land Co. v. Stokes (C.C.A.) 277 F. 625; Lacy v. McCafferty, 215 F. 352, 131 C.C.A. 494; Hathaway et al. v. Ford Motor Co. (C.C.A.) 264 F. 952; Hamilton & Sons Co. et al. v. Moss-Jellico Coal Co. (C.C.A.) 271...

To continue reading

Request your trial
7 cases
  • Hanson v. Hoffman, 2011.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 13 Julio 1940
    ...real estate and funds of Benjamin and See-sah. See United States v. Apple, D.C. Kan., 262 F. 200, and United States v. Apple, 8 Cir., 292 F. 935. Certain compromises and adjustments were entered into between the United States and certain of the defendants. See 292 F. On May 6, 1918, Charles......
  • Eriks v. Denver, 57235-6
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 20 Febrero 1992
    ...In re Eastern Sugar Antitrust Litig., 697 F.2d 524 (3rd Cir.1982); Frank v. Bloom, 634 F.2d 1245 (10th Cir.1980); United States v. Apple, 292 F. 935 (8th Cir.1923); Moses v. McGarvey, 614 P.2d 1363 (Alaska 1980); In re Hansen, 586 P.2d 413 (Utah 7 RCW 19.86 et seq. 8 Investors now seek rece......
  • Houchin Sales Co. v. Angert, 6913
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 10 Febrero 1926
    ...Co. et al., 220 F. 657, 136 C. C. A. 265; Arenz v. Astoria Sav. Bank (C. C. A.) 281 F. 530; United States v. Apple et al. (C. C. A.) 292 F. 935; In re Empie, Swender v. Empie (C. C. A.) 296 F. 672; In re Foley, Withers Bros. v. Foley (C. C. A.) 6 F.(2d) 126; Road Improvement Dist. No. 2 of ......
  • Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Cushman, 4070.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 17 Octubre 1923
    ...interlocutory injunction stayed proceedings in the court below. This was not one of the reasons assigned by the trial judge for refusing [292 F. 935.] to proceed, and perhaps we should not consider it. But in any event, the rule is well settled, independent of statute, that an appeal from a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT