Taylor v. Davis' Administratrix - 110 U.S. 330 (1884)
U.S. Supreme Court
Taylor v. Davis' Administratrix, 110 U.S. 330 (1884)
Taylor v. Davis' Administratrix
Argued January 21-22, 1884
Decided February 4, 1884
110 U.S. 330
Real estate and personal property were held in trust by two trustees. One trustee, at the request of the other and of a third person, resigned his trust without requiring previous payment of his demands against the trust estate, and the third person was appointed trustee in his place. The two trustees then executed a written agreement with the outgoing trustee, undertaking to apply to the payment of his said claims
"all the moneys which shall come into our hands as trustees as aforesaid after first paying therefrom all taxes and current expenses of said property and trust."
Held that this was a contract to be enforced at law against the parties individually, and not a trust to be enforced in a court of equity, and that the current expenses of the trust did not include the construction of fire-proof buildings and unusual expenditures for protecting the property.
The defendant in error, administratrix, devisee, and legatee of Charles Davis, deceased, was plaintiff in the court below. The declaration alleged that on October 4, 1861, the defendants, S. Staats Taylor and Edwin Parsons, trustees of the Cairo City property, executed and delivered to Charles Davis, then in life but since deceased, a contract in writing, of which the following is a copy:
"Whereas Charles Davis, late one of the trustees of the Cairo City property, has agreed to transfer to the present trustees of said property, S. Staats Taylor and Edwin Parsons at their request, all of said property remaining in his hands, without requiring previous payment of his demands against said property, now, in consideration of the premises, and of one dollar to us in hand paid, we, S. Staats Taylor and Edwin Parsons, trustees of the Cairo City property, hereby promise and agree to and with the said Charles Davis, his executors, administrators, or assigns that we will apply, from time to time, to the payment of all the just claims and demands of said Charles Davis against said Cairo City property, including the sum of $7,382.60, audited October 1, 1860, until the same shall be fully paid, all the moneys which
shall come and remain in our hands as trustees as aforesaid, after first paying therefrom all taxes and current expenses of said property and trust actually imposed or incurred. But said claims and demands of said Davis, his executors or administrators, shall not be preferred to like claims of his co-trustee, John H. Wright."
"October 4, 1861."
"S. STAATS TAYLOR"
"Trustees of the Cairo City Property"
The declaration further alleged that at the date of the execution and delivery of the contract, there was due to Davis on just claims and demands against the Cairo City property, which had been audited and allowed, the sum of $7,382.60; that on March 1, 1867, Davis departed this life, leaving a last will and testament, which was afterwards duly proven, whereby he devised and bequeathed all his estate to the plaintiff; that afterwards, on September 30, 1867, the defendants, in consideration of the premises, executed and delivered to the plaintiff another contract, whereby they renewed and confirmed the contract of October 4, 1861, between them and Davis, and agreed to pay the plaintiff, as his administratrix, the amounts due his estate in the same manner and form as in the instrument of October 4, 1861, is particularly set forth, and that although large sums of money had come into the hands of the defendants as such trustees, over and above the amounts necessary to pay all the taxes and current expenses of the property and trust actually imposed or incurred, they had neglected and refused to pay said sum of money or any part of it.
The defendants pleaded nonassumpsit. The parties waived a trial by jury and submitted the issues of fact as well as of law to the court, which made a special finding of facts upon which it rendered judgment against the defendants in the sum of $12,957.67, that being the principal sum due Davis from the Cairo City property on October 4, 1861, with interest from that date. To reverse that judgment the present writ of error is prosecuted.