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Opinion of the Court.
contend that his specification and claims are to be interpreted so as to cover a construction which has an extended bottom plate. By his patent, as issued, he dispenses with the extended bottom plate, and confines his claim to a lock-case with sides notched near its ends to receive and hold the handlerings -- an arrangement not found in the defendants' structure. In that, the lock and the handle-fastenings are combined with the extended bottom plate, as in the Simon patent of May 2, 1876. The lock-case of the defendants does not have notches in its sides, but the notches are in the sides of an extended struck-up bottom plate, such extended bottom plate being expressly excluded from the construction by the specification of the plaintiff's patent.
This court has often held that when a patentee, on the rejection of his application, inserts in his specification, in consequence, limitations and restrictions for the purpose of obtaining his patent, he cannot, after he has obtained it, claim that it shall be construed as it would have been construed if such limitations and restrictions were not contained in it. Leggett v. Avery, 101 U. S. 256; Goodyear Dental Vulcanite Co. v. Davis, 102 U. S. 222, 228; Fay v. Cordesman, 109 U. S. 408; Mahn v. Harwood, 112 U. S. 354, 359; Cartridge Co. v. Cartridge Co., 112 U. S. 624, 644; Sargent v. Hall Safe & Lock Co., 114 U. S. 63; Shepard v. Carrigan, 116 U. S. 593, 597; White v. Dunbar, 119 U. S. 47; Sutter v. Robinson, 119 U. S. 530; Bragg v. Fitch, 121 U. S. 478; Snow v. Lake Shore Railway Co., 121 U. S. 617; Crawford v. Hleysinger, 123 U. S. 589, 606, 607.
It is contended by the defendants, that, in view of the prior state of the art, the patent is invalid. We do not consider it necessary to examine that question, because, for the reasons before assigned, we are of opinion that the decree must be affirmed; and as, in each of the other three cases, there is a stipulation that the suit may be argued here, on appeal, on the record in the Peddie suit, and abide the result of that suit, and as the decree in each of those other three cases was a decree dismissing the bill with costs, each of such decrees is
Statement of the Case.
CLEAVELAND v. RICHARDSON.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT
OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS.
No. 125. Argued November 21, 1889. – Decided December 9, 1889.
A creditor made a compromise with his debtor for sixty cents on the dollar,
and subsequently sued him to recover the balance of the claim, on the ground of fraudulent action by the debtor in obtaining the compromise, and that the debtor had violated his agreement not to voluntarily pay any other creditor more than sixty per cent: Held, that he could not recover because (1) There was no breach of good faith on the part of the debtor, and no
misrepresentation as to his assets, and no false answer made by
him to any question; (2) The payment of more than sixty per cent to another creditor having
been made when the latter had an attachment suit against the debtor, which was about to be tried, was not a voluntary payment within the meaning of the agreement.
This was an action of assumpsit, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois, in September, 1884, by George C. Richardson, Charles S. Smith, George K. Guild, Ralph L. Cutter and Harrison Gardner, partners composing the firm of George C. Richardson & Co., against James 0. Cleaveland, Cornelius B. Cummings, Charles W. Woodruff and Washington Libbey, partners composing the firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff.
The declaration contained the money counts, and annexed to it is a copy of an account showing various items of merchandise sold by the plaintiffs to the defendants, in August, September and October, 1883, amounting in debit items to $12,125.25, with a credit item of cash, December 31, 1883, amounting to $7275.15, leaving a balance due to the plaintiffs, on the lastnamed day, of $4850.10.
The defendants were served with process and put in various pleas, and there were replications and rejoinders, raising issues covered by the findings of the court on the trial. The defendant Woodruff having died, it was ordered that the suit proceed
Statement of the Case.
against the surviving defendants. A trial before a jury was commenced, but a juror was withdrawn, and the parties duly waived a trial by jury and consented that the case be tried by the court.
The court filed special findings as follows:
“1. James 0. Cleaveland, Cornelius B. Cummings and Washington Libbey, three of the defendants, with one William F. Shelley, on the 31st of December, 1881, formed a limited copartnership under the statute of the State of Illinois in that behalf, under the name of 'Cleaveland, Cummings & Shelley,' to do a wholesale business in merchandise in Chicago, in which the said Washington Libbey was a limited partner, having put in $50,000 of capital.
“2. About the 1st of May, 1883, the said Shelley went out of the firm, and Charles W. Woodruff, the other defendant in this cause, came into the firm, which assumed the name of * Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff,' and continued to do business until as hereinafter stated.
“3. Said firm of 'Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff' intended, as between themselves, to do business as a limited partnership, but they did not take the steps required by law to make said firm a limited partnership under the statute of Illinois in that behalf.
“4. The plaintiffs sold to the firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, upon the 28th, 29th and 30th of August, 1883, and upon the 14th and 15th of September, 1883, merchandise to the amount of $8064.03, payable by the said firm in sixty days from September 15th; and on the 24th of October sold to Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff merchandise to the amount of $1291.83, payable in sixty days from November 1st; and the plaintiffs were also the holders of two notes of said Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, dated Chicago, September 15, 1883, due in four months from the date thereof, payable to the order of the defendants and endorsed by them, one for $1347.99 and one for $1421.40, which two notes matured January 18, 1884; said several amounts aggregating $12,125.25.
“5. On the 30th of October, 1883, Washington Libbey paid
Statement of the Case.
to James 0. Cleaveland $1000 for his interest in the firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, and said James 0. Cleaveland, Cornelius B. Cummings, Charles W. Woodruff and Washington Libbey signed and delivered to James 0. Cleaveland an instrument in writing as follows, viz. :
“. The copartnership heretofore existing between James O. Cleaveland, Cornelius B. Cummings, Charles W. Woodruff and Washington Libbey, under the firm name of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent, and such dissolution to take effect Nov. 1, 1883. All accounts and indebtedness due the late firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff must be paid to Cummings, Woodruff & Brown, successors to Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, by whom all liabilities of the late firm must be paid and said Clea veland held harmless therefrom. “Dated Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 30, A.D. 1883.
“JAMES 0. CLEAVELAND.
“6. It was contemplated, October 30, 1883, that a new firm would be formed, composed of Cornelius B. Cummings, Charles W. Woodruff and Swan Brown, as general partners, and Washington Libbey, as special partner, but said firm was never formed, but the said Cleaveland supposed it was so formed when he sold out his interest to the said Libbey.
“7. The firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff stopped business on or before November 14, 1883. Said firm owed for borrowed money about $179,000 which was unsecured, and for merchandise about $461,000; and the assets of said firm were sufficient to pay the borrowed money in full and not quite sixty per cent on the dollar upon the mercantile debts. The said Washington Libbey was reputed to be a man of large wealth.
“8. On the 14th of November, 1883, all the bills receivable, notes and accounts of Cleaveland, Cummings and Woodruff
Statement of the Case.
were sold to Columbus R. Cummings for his two notes for $ 201,110.43, one for $110,000, which was delivered to the Union National Bank in full payment of borrowed money due by said firm to said bank. The other, for $91,110.43, was delivered to a member of said firm of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff. Columbus R. Cummings was a brother of Cornelius B. Cummings, and a director in the Union National Bank, to which he had introduced said firm, and felt in honor bound to see that the bank suffered no loss.
"9. Immediately thereafter, Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff sent J. J. Knickerbocker, as their attorney, to New York, and proposed to the mercantile creditors of that firm to pay them sixty cents on the dollar of their respective claims. When application to the plaintiffs was made to accept sixty cents on the dollar of their claims, some had settled at that rate and some bad not. The attorney of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff explained the situation of the assets of Cleaveland, Cummings & Woodruff, saying that the borrowed money was to be paid in full, which would not leave enough to pay quite sixty per cent of the remaining indebtedness. Libbey's liability as a member of the firm was spoken of, when said attorney stated to the plaintiffs that he had not had opportunity to examine into the question and was not in possession of information to know whether Libbey could make a successful defence or not, but that it was a question they could investigate for themselves. One of said plaintiffs said to said attorney they had sold no goods to the defendants on the strength that Libbey was more than a special partner; that no credit had been given to the firm on the faith that Libbey sustained any other relation to it; that Libbey had lost his special capital; and that they had no desire to make him pay more. It does not appear, however, from the evidence, that the defendants, or their attorney, communicated to the plaintiffs the fact that Libbey had signed the instrument in writing referred to in the fifth finding, or that he made any statement as to Libbey's financial ability to pay the debts of said firm. The plaintiffs at first refused, but about the 29th of December, 1883, upon the receipt of the sum of