Krippendorf v. Hyde - 110 U.S. 276 (1884)
U.S. Supreme Court
Krippendorf v. Hyde, 110 U.S. 276 (1884)
Krippendorf v. Hyde
Submitted January 2, 1884
Decided January 28, 1884
110 U.S. 276
A bill filed on the equity side of the court to restrain or regulate judgments or suits at law in the same court, and thereby prevent injustice or an inequitable advantage under mesne or final process, not being an original suit, but ancillary and dependent, supplementary merely to an original suit out of which it arose, can be maintained without reference to the citizenship or residence of the parties. Freeman v. Howe, 24 How. 450, followed, and the language of NELSON, J., in the opinion of the Court adopted.
The powers both of courts of equity and courts of law over their own process to prevent abuse, oppression, and injustice are inherent and equally extensive and efficient, as is also their power to protect their own jurisdiction and officers in the possession of property that is in the custody of the law.
When property in the possession of a third person claiming ownership is attached by a marshal on mesne process issuing out of a circuit court of the United States as the property of a defendant, citizen of the same state as the person claiming it, such person has no adequate remedy against the marshal in the state court, and may seek redress in the circuit court having custody of the property by ancillary proceedings; as, for instance, if the original proceeding is in equity, by a petition pro interesse suo, or by ancillary bill, or by summary motion, according to circumstances; or if it is at common law, by a summary motion or by a proceeding in the nature of an interpleader; or if proceedings authorized by statutes of the state in which the cause is pending afford an adequate remedy, by adopting them as part of the practice of the court.
In equity. In September, 1882, two of the defendants, partners as Hyde & Brothers, brought an action at law in the circuit court against Lewis C. Frey and Jacob C. Maag, partners as Frey & Maag, to recover an amount alleged to be due for goods and merchandise sold, and levied a writ of attachment issued therein on a stock of goods in the City of Indianapolis, as the property of Frey & Maag, which was in the possession of the appellant, and of which at the time, as he alleges, he was owner. The property was appraised as required by the statutes of Indiana, and its value returned at the sum of $13,165.64. The goods were returned to the appellant on his
giving to the marshal a delivery bond, conditioned to properly keep and take care of the property, and deliver the same to the marshal on demand, of so much thereof as might be required to be sold on execution to satisfy any judgment which might be recovered against the defendants in the action, or to pay the appraised value of the property, not exceeding the amount of the judgment and costs. The appellant was made on his own motion a party defendant to the suit in order to assert his title, but on motion of the plaintiff, his name was stricken from the record without prejudice to his right to enforce his claim in some other form. Such further proceedings were then had that, as provided by the statute, a large number of the creditors of Frey & Maag came into the attachment suit for the purpose of obtaining judgments and participating in the distribution of the fund arising from the sale of the attached property. Judgment was subsequently rendered therein in favor of the original plaintiffs, and of these several creditors respectively, and it was ordered that the attached property be sold by the marshal for the satisfaction thereof. The appellant, as required by the condition of his bond, not being able to return the specific property attached, paid to the marshal the full amount of its appraised value. He thereupon, the money being in the marshal's hands, undistributed, filed this bill, to which all the parties in the attachment suit, and the marshal, are made defendants, praying that the marshal be restrained from paying the said fund, or any part thereof, to the creditors in the attachment suit, and that the same be adjudged to belong to the appellant, and paid to him accordingly.
It is alleged that all the attachment creditors are nonresidents of the State of Indiana; but it does not appear from the record what is the citizenship of any of the parties to the bill.
The circuit court dismissed the bill for want of equity on the ground that the complainant had a plain and adequate remedy at law, from which decree and appeal was taken.