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half interest in the premises to the plaintiff, who was then in possession with him as tenant in common, and that from that time the plaintiff continued to occupy said premises until ousted by the defendant as alleged in the complaint. But for the allegation of the plaintiff's complaint as to the nature of her estate in the premises, there could be no question but that the pleadings otherwise present issues for trial and determination. The complaint, answer, and reply show that both the plaintiff and the defendant claim title through William Spencer. Claiming as they do from a common source, it was unnecessary for either party to deraign title from another source, or to pursue the chain of title further back than to their common grantor. All this would be without question, were it not for the unnecessary averment of the complaint that the nature of the plaintiff's estate is that of prior possession, and that she and Spencer entered upon the premises in March, 1898. The question here is not what evidence the plaintiff might have been permitted to introduce, or might have been precluded from introducing, in proof of her title in view of the pleadings, but whether or not an issue was presented for trial before the court and jury. If material issues were presented by the pleadings, although they may have been improperly pleaded, the court was not authorized to render a judgment upon the merits, and adjudicate the title to be in one or the other of the parties. The admission in the reply that Gray went upon the premises and appropriated the same in March, 1898, and that he sold the same to Spencer in July, 1898, may not, we think, be necessarily inconsistent with the statement that the plaintiff and Spencer were joint entrymen with Gray and another, as made by the plaintiff's counsel in opening the case before the jury. But whatever may be the force or effect of the apparent departure from the plaintiff's case, as stated in her complaint, by the admissions of her reply, a departure which may have rendered the pleadings obnoxious to a motion or demurrer from the opposing party, we do not think it justified the action of the trial court in rendering a judgment on the merits, adjudging the title to be in the defendant, and barring the further right of action by the plaintiff. But it is said that the court was justified in regarding the plaintiff's denials of paragraphs 4 and 5 of the answer, made, as they were in the reply, upon information and belief, as trivial, and as raising no issue upon those averments. It must be admitted that the pleadings are faulty. They are defective on the part of both the plaintiff and the defendant. The provisions of the Alaska Code in regard to pleadings in ejectment are adopted from the Oregon laws. Under those laws it has been held that the particularity required in setting forth the nature of the estate or right of the defendant is complied with if he allege that he is the sole or part owner in fee simple, or upon condition, or for life, or for years, as the case may be (Witherell v. Wiberg, 4 Sawy. 232, Fed. Cas. No. 17,917), and a detailed statement of facts which might be evidence in support of title in the defendant is not a proper plea of such title, and will, on motion, be struck out as redundant (Hall v. Austin, 1 Deady, 104, Fed. Cas. No. 5,925; Fitch v. Cornell, 1 Sawy. 156, Fed. Cas. No. 4,834; Moore v. Frazer, 15 Or. 635, 638, 16 Pac. 869). It may be doubted whether the plaintiff was required to file a reply to the answer. Generally speaking, the legal effect of the affirmative allegations of an answer alleging title in the defendant is mere denial of the averments of the complaint, and they are not to be considered as new matter, to be taken as true unless denied by a reply. But the plaintiff replied, denying on information and belief that the defendant is the owner in fee simple and in the possession of said premises. While such a denial in a pleading might be subject to objection as to its form, it certainly is not to be disregarded when the defendant accepts it as sufficient and goes to trial upon the issues so raised. The complaint distinctly alleged that the plaintiff was the owner and entitled to the immediate possession of the premises. The defendant denied this, and set up title in himself. The reply did not admit this to be true, nor did it admit that the plaintiff was not the owner and entitled to possession as alleged in the complaint. The pleadings would have sustained a judgment for the plaintiff if the jury had returned a verdict in her favor, and it was error to enter judgment on them without a trial.
The judgment is reversed, and the cause is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
In re HAFF.
(Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. January 18, 1903.)
1. BANKRUPTCY-ORIGINAL PETITION-AMENDMENT.
An original bankruptcy petition cannot be amended by setting out acts of bankruptcy not originally referred to, and occurring more than four months before the application for an order allowing the amendment.
[Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 6, Cent. Dig. Bankruptcy, 88 Petition to Review Order of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
126–129.] 2. SAME-INVOLUNTARY PETITION-NUMBER OF CREDITORS-AMENDMENT.
Bankr. Act July 1, 1898, c. 541, 8 59f, 30 Stat, 562 (U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3445), provides that creditors other than original petitioners may at any time enter their appearance and join in the petition. Section 59d (30 Stat. 561 [U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3445]) provides that if the petition avers that the creditors are less than 12, and less than 3 have joined as petitioners, and the answer avers the existence of the larger number, there shall be filed with the answer a list, under oath, of all the creditors; and general order 11 (89 Fed, vii) authorizes the court to allow amendments to the petition on application of the petitioner. Held, that failure of an involuntary petition filed by a single creditor to allege that the creditors were less than 12 in number did not deprive the court of jurisdiction, where 3 creditors having provable claims had united in earlier proceedings, and the bankrupt did not deny the claims of such creditors, nor
file a list of all of his creditors, with their addresses, under oath. 3. SAME-CONSTRUCTION OF PETITION.
Where an involuntary bankruptcy petition was in fact an original petition, it was not deprived of its status as such by the fact that it contained a prayer of the petitioner to intervene in earlier proceedings as a cautionary measure, in order that the petitioner might be represented in the proceedings on the earlier petition for the administration and preservation of the estate.
Franklin Pierce, for petitioner.
Before WALLACE, LACOMBE, and TOWNSEND, Circuit Judges.
TOWNSEND, Circuit Judge. February 2, 1904, Thomas Lenane filed a petition that Charles E. Haff be adjudged a bankrupt; alleging that he was a creditor of said Haff, and that the creditors were less than 12 in number, and setting forth a single act of bankruptcy, alleged to have been committed on December 3, 1903. February 13th Haff filed his answer, denying insolvency, and alleging that his creditors were 12 and more in number. February 25th two other creditors intervened in the proceedings under said original petition. March 24th Edward Ridgely, as receiver of the Equitable National Bank, filed a petition that Haff be adjudged a bankrupt, and therein prayed to be permitted to intervene in the earlier involuntary proceedings. This petition was addressed to the judges of the court; stated the representative character of the petitioner; the principal place of business of the debtor for the greater portion of the preceding six months; that he owed debts to the amount of $1,000; was insolvent; was neither a wage earner, nor chiefly engaged in farming, etc.; the amount of petitioner's claim, etc. The petition further alleged not only said act of bankruptcy set forth in the original petition, but other acts of bankruptcy alleged to have been committed "on or about the 3d day of December, 1903, and on or about the 3d day of February, 1904,” and concluded with a prayer that service thereof, with subpæna, might be made on the alleged bankrupt, and that he might be adjudged a bankrupt. On said date the court ordered that said Ridgely be permitted to intervene as a petitioning creditor, and that the alleged bankrupt file an answer to said petition. April 7th, pursuant to said order, Haff filed his answer denying the alleged acts of bankruptcy, and again asserted that the number of his creditors was more than 12; having first filed a reservation of his rights to object to the sufficiency and propriety of said Ridgely petition, and of the order of the court thereon. April 12th Haff filed a petition that the allegations of new acts of bankruptcy not included in the earlier petition be stricken therefrom on the ground that they were not authorized by the bankrupt act, and that Ridgely's only relief was by joinder in the earlier petition. April 18th the attorney for Ridgely filed an affidavit stating “that, as far as appears by the record in this court, the creditors of said Haff are not in excess of twelve in number," and that the Ridgely petition, “in addition to being an intervening petition, was a petition de novo, and deponent knows of no statute nor any provision which prevents a creditor from alleging new acts of bankruptcy prior to the filing of the original petition February 2, 1904, and that the aforesaid Edward Ridgely has expressly asked that the alleged bankrupt be adjudicated a bankrupt upon the petition filed in his behalf.” The affiant asked, "in t, half of said Edward Ridgely, petitioning creditor, that an order be made herein consolidating the two peti
tions filed herein against said Charles E. Haff, and that the petition filed on February 2, 1904, be made to conform, by proper amendment and additions pursuant to general order 7 (89 Fed. v), to the petition filed in behalf of Edward Ridgely, in that there be inserted therein the acts of bankruptcy referred to in the petition of Charles E. Haff, to which this affidavit is an answer."
April 25th the court indorsed on Haff's petition the following memorandum:
"If an intervening creditor wishes to rely on additional acts of bankruptcy, I think he has a right to do so. The better practice is, perhaps, to enter an order to intervene, and then apply to amend, but I see no objection to alleging the additional acts in the petition to intervene. If a formal order to amend is preferred in this case, it will be granted, and may be deemed granted. I think, however, that the additional acts of bankruptcy must have occurred as early or before the act alleged in the original petition. The acts alleged. therefore, in paragraphs 'c' and 'e' of the intervening petition, should be disallowed."
April 30th the following order was entered:
"Ordered, that the petition_filed herein on the 2d day of February, 1904, by Thomas Lenane, Theodore F. Hoffman, and Oscar J. Dennis to have Charles E. Haff adjudicated an involuntary bankrupt, be, and the same hereby is, amended so that the same shall in all things conform, nunc pro tunc, with the petition filed herein on March 25, 1904, by said Edward Ridgely, as receiver, as hereinafter modified."
The order further provided that the allegations of acts of bankruptcy in February, 1904, in the Ridgely petition, be stricken therefrom.
This petition seeks to review said order on the ground that: “Said District Court erred in permitting an application to be made on the 18th day of April, 1904, to amend the original petition, filed as aforesaid on the 2d day of February, 1904, by inserting therein allegations of additional acts of bankruptcy occurring more than four months prior to the date of said inotion to amend."
The date of the additional acts of bankruptcy inserted by amendment in the original petition was December 3d. More than four months had elapsed, therefore, before the application of April 18th for the amendment.
The general rule seems to be that an original petition cannot be amended by setting out therein acts of bankruptcy not referred to in the original petition, and occurring more than four months before the application for an order allowing the amendment. In re Crowley & Hoblitzell, 1 N. B. R. 516; In re Craft, 2 N. B. R. 111, 6 Blatchf. 177, Fed. Cas. No. 3,317; In re Leonard, 4 N. B. R. 562, Fed. Cas. No. 8,255; White v. Bradley Timber Co. (D. C.) 116 Fed. 768; Stern v. Schonfield, 22 Fed. Cas. 1310; In re Alfred Stevenson, 2 Am. Bankr. Rep. 66, 94 Fed. 110. See, also, In re Maund, 1 Law Reps. Queen's Bench Div. p. 194 (1895).
Counsel for respondent does not deny that the law is as thus stated, but he asserts that the Ridgely petition also was an original petition, and that the application to intervene was merely for the protection of his client's rights by a participation in the proceedings under the earlier petition, in so far as such proceedings might apply to the administration
and preservation of the estate. The Ridgely petition appears to have been framed as an original petition, and, as such, as already shown, it contains the general allegations of an original petition, and a prayer for subpoena. It is conceded that such an original petition might have been subsequently filed, setting up additional acts of bankruptcy within four months from its date. General order No. 11 (89 Fed. vii); White v. Bradley Timber Co., supra. General order No. 7 (89 Fed. v) contemplates independent proceedings, and provides for their disposition. In re Mammouth Pine Lumber Co. (D. C.) 109 Fed. 308.
There is, however, one defect in the Ridgely petition, considered as an original petition. It fails to allege that the creditors are less than 12 in number. Section 59b of the bankruptcy act of July 1, 1898, c. 541, 30 Stat. 561 (U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3445), provides as follows:
"Three or more creditors who have provable claims against any person which amount in the aggregate, in excess of the value of securities held by them, if any, to five hundred dollars or over; or if all of the creditors of such persons are less than twelve in number, then one of such creditors whose claim equals such amount may file a petition to have him adjudged a bankrupt."
Under this section, Collier on Bankruptcy, at page 405, and Loveland on Bankruptcy, at page 199, state-citing In re Brown (C. C.) 111 Fed. 979—that, if only one creditor petitions, he must aver that the alleged bankrupt has less than twelve creditors in all. The case, however, does not state that such averment must be made, but that, where the claims are more than twelve, there must be three petitioning creditors.
Is said averment necessary in order to enable the court to entertain jurisdiction, or is the defect one which may be cured by amendment or subsequent proceedings? “The general rule is that, while the pleader is not bound to negative a proviso, he is bound to aver that the defendant is not within any of the exceptions contained in the enacting clause of the statute." Ledbetter v. United States, 170 U. S. 606, 611, 18 Sup. Ct. 774, 776, 42 L. Ed. 1162. It is held in Re Bellah (D. C.) 116 Fed. 69, that such a defect may be cured by amendment. General order 11 (89 Fed. vii) provides that “the court may allow amendments to the petition
on application of the petitioner.” Section 59f, 30 Stat. 562 [U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3445], provides that creditors, other than original petitioners, may at any time enter their appearance and join in the petition. Section 59d, 30 Stat. 561 [U. S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3443), provides as follows:
"If it be averred in the petition that the creditors of the bankrupt are less than twelve in number, and less than three creditors have joined as petitioners therein, and the answer avers the existence of a larger number of creditors, there shall be filed with the answer a list under oath of all the creditors, with their addresses, and thereupon the court shall cause all such creditors to be notified of the pendency of such petition and shall delay the hearing rpon such petition for a reasonable time, to the end that parties in interest shall have an opportunity to be heard ; if upon such hearing it shall appear that a sufficient number have joined in such petition, or if prior to or during such bearing a sufficient number shall join therein, the case may be proceeded with, but otherwise it shall be dismissed."
We concur in the conclusion reached by Judge Bradford in Re Mackey (D. C.) 110 Fed. 355, that this clause clearly shows the intent