Freedman's Savings & Trust Co.
110 U.S. 710 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Freedman's Savings & Trust Co., 110 U.S. 710 (1884)

Freedman's Savings and Trust Company

Argued February 1, 1884

Decided March 10, 1884

110 U.S. 710

Syllabus

It was decided in Morsell v. First National Bank,91 U. S. 357, that in the District of Columbia, following the laws of Maryland, judgments at law were not liens upon the interest of judgment debtors who had previously conveyed lands to a trustee in trust for the payment of a debt secured thereby. It is now decided that the creditor of such judgment debtor, by filing his bill in equity to take an account of the debt secured by the trust deed, and to have the premises sold subject thereto and the proceeds of the sale applied to the satisfaction of the judgment, may obtain a priority of lien upon the equitable interest of the judgment debtor in the property, subject to payment of the debt.

The doctrine of equitable assets considered and the English and American cases reviewed.

The appellee recovered a judgment against Robert P. Dodge in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia on January 4, 1878, for $7,700, with interest and costs, which was revived April 2, 1879, and on which a fi. fa. was issued April 9, 1879, and returned nulla bona.

On June 1, 1877, Dodge, the judgment debtor, being then seized in fee simple of certain real estate in the City of Georgetown, in this district, conveyed the same by deed duly recorded to Charles H. Cragin, Jr., in trust, to secure to Nannie B. Blackford payment of the sum of $2,000, with interest, according to certain promissory notes given therefor, and which were endorsed to Charles H. Cragin.

On April 10, 1879, the appellee filed his bill in equity, to

Page 110 U. S. 711

which Dodge, Charles H. Cragin, Jr., Charles H. Cragin, and Nannie B. Blackford were made defendants, the object and prayer of which were to take an account of the debt secured by the trust deed, and, subject thereto, to have the premises sold and the proceeds of the sale applied to the satisfaction of the appellee's judgment.

The defendants having appeared and answered, a decree according to the prayer of the bill was rendered June 11, 1879.

On December 27, 1879, leave therefor having been obtained, the appellants filed a petition in the cause, setting forth the recovery of a judgment in their favor against the defendant Dodge, in the sum of $7,386.47, with interest and costs, on February 11, 1879, in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and that on December 2d, a fi. fa. had been issued thereon, and returned nulla bona December 19, 1879, and praying that they may be made parties complainant in the cause; that the equitable interest of Dodge in the real estate described be subjected to the satisfaction of their judgment; that the same be sold, and the proceeds of sale be brought into court and distributed according to law. To this petition Dodge answered, admitting the recovery of the judgment as alleged.

On May 25, 1880, the trustee appointed for that purpose under the decree of June 11, 1879, reported a sale of the premises for $5,525, and the same, on June 25, 1880, was confirmed. The cause was then referred to an auditor to state the account of the trustee to sell, whose report showed an appropriation of the proceeds of the sale, after payment of costs, in payment to that extent of the appellee's judgment. On exceptions to this report, a final decree confirming the same was made September 14, 1880, which decree, on appeal to the general term, was affirmed December 10, 1880. From that decree this appeal was prosecuted.

Page 110 U. S. 712

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