Shelton v. Van Kleeck
106 U.S. 532 (1883)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Shelton v. Van Kleeck, 106 U.S. 532 (1883)

Shelton v. Van Kleeck

Decided January 8, 1883

106 U.S. 532

Syllabus

1. The only questions open for examination on a bill of review for errors of law appearing on the face of the record are such as arise on the pleadings, proceedings, and decree, without reference to the evidence in the cause.

2. The truth of matters of fact alleged in such a bill is not admitted by a demurrer thereto if they are inconsistent with the decree.

3. Where the decree in a foreclosure suit adjudged the sale of the mortgaged lands, the alleged new matter discovered, if it relates to the proceeding in selling them, can have no effect on the decree.

Van Kleeck filed his bill Nov. 18, 1877, against Shelton and others, praying for the foreclosure of a deed of trust in the nature of a mortgage upon certain lands in Illinois, executed by Shelton and wife Sept. 21, 1872, to secure the payment to Van Kleeck of the sum of $9,000. Shelton and wife answered. Elizabeth Blue filed a separate answer setting up, among other

Page 106 U. S. 533

defenses, usury, partial payment of the mortgage debt, and insisting that other land should be subjected to the payment of a part of the amount claimed in the bill. All the other defendants failed to answer, the cause was referred to a master, who submitted his report April 28, 1879. Exceptions were taken thereto and overruled. Upon final hearing, a decree was rendered declaring that $12,667.23 was due to Van Kleeck and ordering a sale of the lands by a master. He sold them Sept. 30, 1879, and on the 10th of the following month he reported the sale. No exceptions were filed, and it was confirmed by an order entered on the 15th of December, 1880. On the 31st of that month, Shelton entered a motion to set aside the sale. The motion was overruled, to which an exception was taken and an appeal allowed. The master executed a deed to Van Kleeck, who was thereupon put in possession of the premises by the marshal.

Shelton and wife then filed this bill of review, in which they set out the pleadings in the original suit, and the decree there rendered, and specify the following errors as appearing upon the face of the record:

1. At the time of rendering the decree, the indebtedness of the petitioners to Van Kleeck did not exceed the sum of $4,000, and the amount decreed is unjust, oppressive, and inequitable.

2. The amount of the decree is unjust, exorbitant, and a great oppression on your petitioners.

3. The decree is not consistent with the evidence in the case, and is contrary thereto.

4. The decree is usurious -- large usurious interest, to-wit, about $5,000, being duly incorporated in and forming part of the amount for which it was rendered.

5. The decree unjustly and oppressively discriminates against the petitioners by arbitrarily providing that their homestead be first sold, thereby exposing it to sacrifice, and that the farm and homestead of Elizabeth Blue shall not be sole for more than $5,000, thereby arbitrarily compelling a sale of the petitioners' homestead for $8,667.25 and the costs of the sale.

6. The decree does not determine the rights or interests of any of the defendants except your petitioners and said Elizabeth Blue.

7. The decree was only entered against a part of the defendants, leaving the suit still pending as to the others.

8. The decree is contradictory, and shows that the

Page 106 U. S. 534

same defendants made default, and answered the bill and defended at the same time.

9. The decree is against the law, and contains divers other errors and imperfections.

The bill then alleges that since the rendition of the decree, certain new matter has been discovered. It is sufficiently stated in the opinion of the Court.

A demurrer to the bill was sustained. The complainants thereupon appealed here.

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