Canal Bank v. Hudson
111 U.S. 66 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Canal Bank v. Hudson, 111 U.S. 66 (1884)

Canal Bank v. Hudson

Submitted February 12, 1884

Decided March 29, 1884

111 U.S. 66

Syllabus

The plaintiffs, as creditors whose debts were secured by a deed of trust on land in Mississippi, having brought a suit in equity to enforce the trust and to sell the land, joined as defendants, by a supplemental bill, persons in possession, who claimed to own the land under a title founded on a sale made under a judgment recovered prior to the execution of the deed of trust, but which judgment had been held by this Court, in the same suit (Bank v. Pence,99 U. S. 325), before the filing of the supplemental bill, to be void, as against the plaintiffs. The defendants in possession set up a claim to be allowed for the amount they had paid in discharge of a lien or charge on the land created by a will devising the land to the original grantor in the deed of trust, and for taxes paid, and for improvements. These claims were allowed.

A devise of land was made by a will, upon specified conditions, "under the penalty, in case of noncompliance, of loss of the above property," the conditions being to pay certain money legacies, and a life annuity in money. Then other legacies in money were given. Then there was a provision, "that all the legacies which I have given in money and not charged upon any particular fund" should not be payable for two years "after my decease," followed by a provision as to the payment by the devisee of interest on the first-named money legacies after she should come into possession of the land devised. No other money legacies were given payable by any person on conditions, and there were no other legacies in money which could answer the description of legacies in money charged on a particular fund. Held that the life annuity was a charge on the land devised.

The statute of Mississippi, Revised Code of 1857, c. 57, article 15, p. 401, which provides, that

"No judgment or decree rendered in any court held within this state shall be a lien on the property of the defendant therein for a longer period than seven years from the rendition thereof,"

does not apply to a decree of a court of chancery in Mississippi establishing the arrears due on such life annuity as a specific lien on such land by virtue of such will in a suit in chancery brought by the life annuitant.

The will being proved and recorded in the county where the land was situated, it was not necessary, in such suit in chancery by the life annuitant, to make as defendant the trustee in a deed of trust made by the devisee under the will, provided, in a suit to enforce the deed of trust, brought by the beneficiaries under it, they were given the right to contest the validity of the lien claimed by the life annuitant and to redeem the land from such lien, when established.

Page 111 U. S. 67

The defendants claiming title under the devisee, and she being entitled to a distributive share of the entire estate of the life annuitant, who died during the pendency of such suit in chancery, it is not proper to abate from the allowance to the defendants of the amount paid by them to discharge the decree in such suit, any sum on account of the distributive share of such devisee in the amount so paid.

The defendants having acquired their title under a deed of trust executed after the original bill in this suit was filed and before the grantor in such deed was served with process in this suit, it was held that they, being in fact purchasers in good faith, were not chargeable with notice of the intention of the plaintiffs to bring this suit within the provisions of the Revised Code of Mississippi of 1871, c. 17, article 4, § 1667, in regard to allowances for improvements on land to purchasers in good faith, until they were served with process on the supplemental bill.

The meaning of the words "good faith" in the statute, and as applicable to this case, defined.

The amount allowed by the circuit court for improvements, upheld as proper under the special circumstances.

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