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In Shotwell v. Stickle (1914) 83 N. the matter. He then gave his note to J. Eq. 193, 90 Atl. 246, acquiescence the defendant for the rent due for his by heirs in purchase at an executor's use of the property for the year cursale of the decedent's estate by the rent at the institution of the suit, and executor was held to preclude them then sued to have it canceled, claimfrom proceeding to set aside the sale. ing that he was the owner of the prop
A court of equity will not aid a ten- erty, and that the note was therefore ant who, in connection with the mat- without consideration. The court, in ter in controversy, has been guilty of refusing the prayer of the complaininequitable conduct toward his land- ant, did so on the ground that a tenlord, or, in the case of a joint tenancy, ant may not question his landlord's titoward his cotenant.
tle during the tenancy, and that the Therefore a tenant who had, un- maxim, “He who comes into equity known to his landlady, purchased a must come with clean hands," had a judgment for the balance of the pur- “bearing" on the matter in controchase price outstanding against the versy. property, and, unknown to her, had In Hardee v. Alexander (1915) levied on the land in execution of the Tex. Civ. App. —, 182 S. W. 57, it apjudgment, and bought the property at peared that the parties were cotenants the execution sale, has been held to of land purchased in their joint be in court with “unclean hands," and names. The plaintiff, by agreement not entitled to the relief prayed in with the defendant, was to make the suing in equity to recover from the cash payment required by the vendor, landlady the portion of the selling the defendant was to make the first price of the property paid by him at deferred payment, and both were to be the sale, and received by her, under a liable for the payment of an equal rule against the sheriff for the dis- share of the remaining notes repretribution of the money to her and to senting the balance of the purchase certain of her creditors, which money price. The cash payment was made he claimed because of improvements and several of the notes were met by made by him on the property. San- the plaintiff. For the purpose of deford v. Lewis (1882) 68 Ga. 482. meeting the outstanding notes, the
In Anders v. Sandlin (1914) 191 plaintiff agreed with the defendant Ala. 158, 67 So. 684, it appeared that that she might sell timber standing on the complainant agreed with the ward the land, and, in this manner, and by of the defendant before the relation of borrowing money on the property, guardian and ward was created be- raise sufficient funds with which to tween the latter and his ward, that he pay off the debts represented by the would bid in the mortgaged property notes. At the time of this agreement of the ward at a foreclosure sale the plaintiff had instituted a suit thereof, with liability to pay only the against the defendant of trespass to amount of the mortgage debt, not- try the title to the land so purchased, withstanding his bid should be for a the original agreement between the greater amount. In accordance with parties having provided that.“in case the terms of the agreement, the com- either party should default in their plainant was to have the use of the payments as aforesaid, the party payproperty for the ensuing year in
ing would derive all of the benefits liquidation of the debt so created. from the purchase of the lands." The complainant occupied the prop
The person who was to purchase the erty during the said year and for sev
timber from the defendant and to lend eral years thereafter, recognizing the
the money on the land for the purpose relation of landlord and tenant as
of her meeting the notes refused to existing between himself and the de- make the loan unless the plaintiff fendant's ward, and later the defend- would dismiss his suit against the deant himself as guardian. After refus- fendant, which the former refused to ing to pay any further rent, the com- do. In the instant suit, which was to plainant interviewed an attorney in declare a trust in the interest of the
defendant in the land in favor of the 1916E, 643, 97 Atl. 312; Chicago v. plaintiff, under the clause of the con- Union Stock Yards & Transit Co. tract between them which provided (1896) 164 Ill. 238, 35 L.R.A. 281, 45 for a forfeiture of their rights to the N. E. 430; John Anisfield Co. v. Edother of them in case of a default by ward B. Grossman & Co. (1901) 98 either, it was held that because of the Ill. App. 180; American Asso. v. Innis plaintiff's refusal to dismiss his previ- (1900) 109 Ky. 595, 60 S. W. 388; ous suit against the defendant, there- Beekman v. Marsters (1907) 195 by preventing her from procuring the Mass. 214, 11 L.R.A.(N.S.) 201, 122 money necessary to perform her part Am. St. Rep. 232, 80 N. E. 817, 11 Ann. of the agreement to purchase the land, Cas. 332; Halladay v. Faurot (1883) 8 the plaintiff was in court with "un- Ohio Dec. Reprint 639; Post v. Campclean hands," and not entitled to the bell (1901) 110 Wis. 386, 85 N. W. relief prayed.
1032. However, where the wrong of a ten- Thus, in American Asso. v. Innis ant was not directly connected with (1900) 109 Ky. 595, 60 S. W. 388, the the subject-matter of the suit, the court, after stating the maxim, said: case has been held not to be one for “The rule must be understood to refer the application of the principle in- to some misconduct in regard to the volved in this maxim. Cunningham v. matter in litigation, of which the opPettigrew (1909) 94 C. C. A. 457, 169 posite party can in good conscience Fed. 335. In that case it appeared complain in a court of equity.” that the defendant and others entered Therefore, where a party to a suit into a scheme in connection with the pleads the principle of "unclean purchase of a mining claim in fraud hands," it can avail him nothing if he of the complainant. On discovery of is unable to show that he was injured the fraud, the latter repudiated the by the alleged unconscionable acts of agreement and the defendant subse- his adversary. Bentley v. Tibbals quently acquired the interests of his (1915) 138 C. C. A. 489, 223 Fed. 247; co-conspirators in the property. First Nat. Bank v. Carter (1918) was held that the complainant and the Md. —, 103 Atl. 463; Schroeder v. Turdefendant were not cotenants of the pin (1913) 253 Mo. 271, 161 S. W. 716; property, the former not
not having Galbraith v. Devlin (1915) 85 Wash. known that the latter had any inter- 482, 148 Pac. 589. est therein, so as to charge the com- Thus, in First Nat. Bank v. Carter plainant with inequitable conduct (1918) Md. 103 Atl. 463, the towards a supposed cotenant by his
court said: "As to the appellant's derelocation of the claim and institution fense that the appellee did not come of proceedings asserting a claim to
into court with clean hands, we are the property adverse to the defendant. of the opinion it has no force, not only It was further held that if such con
for the reason that from the allegaduct on the part of the complainant
tions and the testimony we are unable was inequitable, it was uncon
to see that any fraud was practised upnected with the original fraud which
on the vendor of Mrs. Callow, but for caused the institution of the instant
the further reason that this defense suit that the case was not one for the
would not be open to the appellant; application of the principle of "un
for, admittedly, there was no fraud clean hands” to defeat the complain. practised upon him, the appellant.” ant's suit.
In Halladay v. Faurot (1883) 8 Ohio Dec. Reprint, 633, the suit was
instituted by a partner against his coc. Necessity of injury to adverse party.
partners, the partnership still conThe party to a suit complaining of a
tinuing. An injunction was sought, wrong must have been injured there
restraining the defendants from enby in order to justify the application gaging personally and with their of the principle of "unclean hands” capital in an enterprise in the same to the case of his opponent. Lyman locality, the purpose and scope of v. Lyman (1916) 90 Conn. 406, L.R.A. which were claimed to be similar to
and therefore adverse to and at vari- may not be pleaded against a party to ance with the business and interests a suit in equity who was guilty of the of the partnership. It was not wrong, on the theory that the party claimed by the pleadings or proof that charged therewith is in court with the fact that the plaintiff owned stock “unclean hands." Therefore one who in a rival institution (which was of- has asserted the wrongful nature of fered by the defendants as justifying an act, and recovered damages in a a refusal of the relief sought by the court of law for the injury from the plaintiff) occasioned any wrong to the perpetrator thereof, cannot, under defendants or the partnership. The the principle of this maxim, set up the court refused to apply the principle of wrong in a suit in equity arising out "unclean hands" to the plaintiff's
of the transaction in connection with case.
which the wrong was committed. Loy In Langdon v. Templeton (1893) 66 v. Alston (1909) 96 C. C. A. 578, 172 Vt. 173, 28 Atl. 866, both parties to the Fed. 90; Lewis's Appeal (1870) 67 Pa. suit claimed the title to the land in 166. Compare Avery v. Central controversy, the former under a tax Bank (1909) 221 Mo. 71, 119 S. W. sale to his assignor which was found 1106. to be void, and the latter under a quit- In McNair v. Benson (1912) 63 Or. claim deed from one who had no title 66, 126 Pac. 20, the plaintiff was to the property. The entry of the shown to have made false representaplaintiff on the property had been tions concerning the purchase price of made only as to a small part of it. The certain real estate which plaintiff and defendant, subsequent to the entry of defendants desired to purchase, and plaintiff referred to, entered on the
when the transaction was closed, it land, but not on the parcel on which was ascertained by the defendants the plaintiff had entered. The plain- that two of them had paid the entire tiff forcibly evicted the defendant. purchase price of the property while In defense of a suit instituted by the they acquired only a proportionate plaintiff to restrain the defendant share thereof with another defendant from asserting a title to the entire and the plaintiff, neither of whom property in himself, it was pleaded by paid anything for the property. Howthe latter that the plaintiff was not in ever, the plaintiff subsequently concourt with “clean hands” because of fessed his inequitable conduct, and a his eviction of the defendant, in vio- set ement was effected between all of lation of a statute against forcible en- the persons concerned. In the suit, try and detainer. The court held that which was to set aside a deed of real the defendant, not having entered on estate, to cancel certain promissory the small parcel on which the plain- notes, to enjoin their transfer, and to tiff had previously made entry, could restrain a recovery of money, the exnot have been evicted therefrom, and
ecution of the deed and notes and the as to that parcel the defendant had payment of the money by the plaintiff suffered no injury from the plaintiff, having been procured by threats by who could not, therefore, as to it, be the defendants of violence, it was held said to be in court with "unclean that the plaintiff, having righted the hands."
wrong caused by his false representaIn Galbraith v. Devlin (1915) 85
tions as to the purchase price of the Wash. 482, 148 Pac. 589, misrepresen- property as a result of which the lititations by complainant to third per- gation arose, was not in court with son, pleaded in defense of suit in "unclean hands" in seeking the relief equity arising out of fraudulent repre- prayed. sentations and concealments between In Huntzicker v. Crocker (1908) 135 partners in connection with sale of
Wis. 38, 115 N. W. 340, 15 Ann. Cas. coal lands of partnership, were held to 444, it was held that one who had work no injury to defendant.
joined in a conveyance of real estate d. Wrong which has been righted. by her husband to defeat his creditors A wrong which has been righted should not be denied relief on the
ground that she was in court with However, in Sullivan v. Chicago Bd. "unclean hands" because of her com- of Trade (1903) 111 Ill. App. 492, one plicity in the fraud, in a suit insti- who had purchased the business of antuted by her against the assignee in other was held not to have ipso facto bankruptcy of her husband, to have
acquired the rights of that other unestablished her inchoate right to dow- der a contract between the latter and er in the said property, after the deed a telegraph company by which the had been judicially declared to be telegraph company was to furnish void in a suit brought for that pur- board of trade quotations; and in a pose by the said assignee in bank- suit for an injunction restraining the ruptcy.
company from removing its ticker and e. Conduct pending suit or at trial.
connecting wires from his office, the
ticker having been disconnected, the If a cause of action in its inception was meritorious, the fact that the
complainant was held to be in court complainant in the suit has, during its
with "unclean hands" because of havcontinuance, been guilty of inequit
ing tapped the wires of the company able conduct, will not prevent his re
during the pendency of the suit, and covery of the relief prayed, provided preliminary to the issuance of a temsuch conduct "does not go to the cause
porary injunction which had been
asked and granted. of action." Chute v. Wisconsin Chemical Co.
In Little v. Cunningham (1906) 116 (1911) 185 Fed. 115, wherein, after
Mo. App. 545, 92 S. W. 734, the cutting stating the maxim, “He who enters a
by a telephone company of an extencourt of equity must come with clean
sion wire to the telephone of a subhands," the court said: "Equity is
scriber pending the outcome of a suit supposed to guard the portals of her
instituted by the former to enjoin an
unauthorized use of the telephone was jurisdiction jealously. No cause of
held to be sufficient to justify the apaction will be proceeded with which has become infected with fraud or
plication of the principle of this maxother iniquity, it matters not when or
im and the denial of the relief prayed. how the facts are brought to the at
In Van Voorhis v. Van Voorhis tention of the court. The distinction
(1892) 94 Mich. 60, 53 N. W. 964, the is, however, fundamental that the suit was for a divorce. The complaintransgression which falls within this ant was found to have been guilty of maxim must have infected the cause corrupt practices in procuring eviof action, so that to entertain it would dence to support his suit, and the be violative of conscience. It does court said: "The principle of the not reach a case where the cause of maxim, 'Falsus in uno, falsus in omaction is meritorious, and where, sub- nibus,' may be extended to the entire sequent to suit brought, the complain- testimony offered in behalf of a litiant had been guilty of reprehensible gant who is shown to have been guilty conduct, but which does not go to the of corrupt practices in procuring that cause of action.” In that case the suit testimony, or any part of it. A party was to restrain the infringement of coming into a court of equity, asking certain patents. It was held that the to be released from the bonds of act of the complainant after the insti- matrimony and its obligations, must tution of the suit, in directing a li- come with clean hands, and must keep censee of his patents to see that none them clean so far as relates to the proof its employees "fail to uphold the curement of testimony to make out his patents at the expense of their person- case.” al vanity" on the occasion of an an- In applying the principle of the ticipated visit of the defendant to its maxim, a court of equity will deny its plant, did not affect the original cause aid to a suitor guilty of false swearing of action, and was not sufficient, there- in connection with the matter of the fore, under the principle of "unclean suit. California Redwood Co. v. Little hands," to preclude his recovery of (1897) 79 Fed. 854; Bacon v. Early the relief prayed.
(1902) 116 Iowa, 532, 90 N. W. 353 (perjury connected with scheme to chase of the secret process, through traffic in appearance bonds); Roman correspondence previously had by him v. Mali (1875) 42 Md. 561 (perjury with the original discoverer. The connected with scheme of attorney court held that the complainant, not and his client to defraud latter's having any knowledge of the fraud creditors).
referred to, perpetrated on the orig
inal discoverer, was not in court with f. Act of agent.
"unclean hands” in seeking the relief The reprehensible conduct
complained of must have been that of the
In Todd Protectograph Co. v. Hedperson against whom the principle of
man Mfg. Co. (1919) 254 Fed. 829, it the maxim is sought to be invoked, or,
was held that a manufacturing corif it was that of an agent, to be
poration was not precluded from rechargeable to the principal it must
lief against unfair competition by the have been performed with his knowl
reprehensible methods of some of its edge. Associated Press v. Interna
salesmen, where the officers of the cortional News Service (1917) 240 Fed.
poration were not shown to have 983, modified in other respects in
knowledge thereof. (1917) 2 A.L.R. 317, 157 C. C. A. 436,
In Associated Press v. International 245 Fed. 244, affirmed in 248 U. S. 215,
News Service (Fed.) supra, it was 63 L. ed. 211, 2 A.L.R. 293, 39 Sup.
held that the plaintiff, a news agency, Ct. Rep. 68, wherein the court said:
was not in court with "unclean hands" "Now the doctrine that he who comes
because of the appropriation by its into equity must come in with clean
agents of news of the defendants, unhands does not recognize mere imputa
known to the plaintiff. tions of guilt based upon technical
However, in Rice v. Findlay Co. theories of agency.
To invoke it a
(1908) 19 Pa. Dist. R. 601, a suit for knowledge must exist on the part of
the specific performance of a contract the principal of the facts upon which
for the purchase by the defendant of the charge of unconscionable conduct
real estate of the plaintiff, wherein is based, and in the case of a corpora
misrepresentations of an agent of the tion those facts must be brought home
latter, unknown to him until the instito the persons exercising general con
tution of the suit, induced the purtrol over its affairs."
chase, it was held that the plaintiff, Therefore, if a knowledge of such
because of such misrepresentations, conduct cannot be charged to the prin
was in court with “unclean hands” in cipal, the latter is not precluded from
seeking the specific performance of
the contract. the relief prayed by him in a court of equity on the ground that he is in
g. Improper motive. court with "unclean hands.” Vulcan A court of equity will not, under the Detinning Co. v. American Can Co. principle of the maxim that one who (1906) 72 N. J. Eq. 387, 12 L.R.A. seeks equity must come with clean (N.S.) 102, 67 Atl. 339. In that case hands, aid a party to a suit who is the suit was to enjoin the defendant actuated by a bad motive in institutcorporation and its president, the lat- ing the litigation. ter having been one of the original in- Thus, a complainant in a suit in corporators of the plaintiff company, equity whose real object in instituting from using a secret detinning process the proceedings is to defeat or hamper in the defendant's plant, which proc- the prosecution of other litigation, ese had been purchased from one who while ostensibly seeking the adjudicahad clandestinely obtained the secret tion of alleged rights in the matter inof the process from the original dis- volved in the suit brought by him, has coverers thereof. The latter fact was been held to be in court with "ununknown to the plaintiff corporation clean hands." Peltzer V. Gilbert or its promoters, but was casually (1914) 260 Mo. 500, 169 S. W. 257, learned by the person who, as agent wherein taxpayers whose object in for the plaintiff, negotiated the pur- suing to restrain the county attorney