Basket v. Hassell - 107 U.S. 602 (1883)
U.S. Supreme Court
Basket v. Hassell, 107 U.S. 602 (1883)
Basket v. Hassell
March 26, 1883
107 U.S. 602
1. A certificate of deposit in these terms:
"EVANSVILLE NATIONAL BANK"
"EVANSVILLE, Ind, Sept. 8, 1875"
"H. M. Chaney has deposited in this bank twenty-three thousand five hundred and fourteen 70/100 dollars, payable in current funds, to the order of himself on surrender of this certificate properly endorsed, with interest at the rate of six percent per annum, if left for six months."
"$23.514.70 HENRY REIS, Cashier"
may, as a subsisting chose in action, be the subject of a valid gift if the person therein named endorse and deliver it to the donee and thus vest in him the whole title and interest therein or so deliver it without endorsement as to divest the donor of all present control and dominion over it and make an equitable assignment of the fund which it represents and describes.
2. A donatio mortis causa must, during the life of the donor, take effect as an executed and complete transfer of his possession of the thing and his title thereto, although the right of the donee is subject to be divested by the actual revocation of the donor or by his surviving the apprehended peril, or by his outliving the donee, or by the insufficiency of his estate to pay his debts. If by the terms and condition of the gift it is to take effect only upon the death of the donor, it is not such a donatio, but is available, if at all, as a testamentary disposition. Where, therefore, during his last illness, and when he was in apprehension of death, the person named in the above certificate made thereon the following endorsement:
"Pay to Martin Basket, of Henderson, Ky.; no one else; then not till my death. My life seems to be uncertain. I may live through this spell. Then I will attend to it myself."
"H. M. CHANEY"
and then delivered it to Basket, and died at his home in Tennessee.
Held that Basket by such endorsement and delivery acquired no title to or interest in the fund.
3. An appeal will not be dismissed by reason of the omission of certain persons who were parties to the suit in the court below if they have no interest in maintaining or reversing the decree.
This is a bill in equity filed by the appellee, a citizen of Tennessee, to which, besides the appellant, a citizen of Kentucky, the Evansville National Bank of Evansville, Indiana, Samuel Bayard, its President, and Henry Reis, its cashier, and James W. Shackelford and Robert D. Richardson, attorneys for Basket, citizens of Indiana, were made parties defendant.
The single question in the case was whether a certain fund, represented by a certificate of deposit issued by the bank to Chaney in his lifetime, belonged to Basket, who claimed it as a gift from Chaney, having possession of the certificate, or to the appellee as Chaney's administrator. Basket asserted his title not only by answer, but by a cross-bill. The final decree ordered the certificate of deposit to be surrendered to the complainant, and that the bank pay to the complainant, as its holder, the amount due thereon. The money was then tendered by the bank in open court, and the certificate was deposited with the clerk. It was thereupon ordered, Basket having prayed an appeal, that until the expiration of the time allowed for filing a bond on appeal, the bank should hold the money as a deposit at four percent interest, but if a bond be given, that the same be paid to the clerk, and by him loaned to the bank on the same terms. Basket failed to give the bond required for a supersedeas, but afterwards prayed another appeal, which he perfected by giving bond for costs alone. To this appeal Basket and the appellee are the parties respectively, the codefendants not having appealed or been cited after severance. And, on the ground that they are necessary parties, the appellee has moved to dismiss the appeal.
The fund in respect to which the controversy has arisen was represented by a certificate of deposit, as follows:
"EVANSVILLE NATIONAL BANK"
"EVANSVILLE, IND., Sept. 8, 1875"
"H. M. Chaney has deposited in this bank twenty-three thousand five hundred and fourteen 70-100 dollars, payable in current funds, to the order of himself, on surrender of this certificate properly endorsed, with interest at the rate of six percent per annum, if left for six months."
"$23,514.70 HENRY REIS, Cashier"
Chaney, being in possession of this certificate at his home in the County of Sumner, State of Tennessee, during his last sickness and in apprehension of death, wrote on the back thereof the following endorsement:
"Pay to Martin Basket, of Henderson, Ky.; no one else; then, not till my death. My life seems to be uncertain. I may live through this spell. Then I will attend to it myself."
"H. M. CHANEY"
Chaney then delivered the certificate to Basket and died without recovering from that sickness in January, 1876.