Wilson v. Arrick
112 U.S. 83 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wilson v. Arrick, 112 U.S. 83 (1884)

Wilson v. Arrick

Argued October 16, 1884

Decided October 27, 1884

112 U.S. 83

Syllabus

In the District of Columbia, a debt due the estate of an intestate, collected by an agent of the administrator, is an administered asset, and cannot be recovered of the agent by an administrator de bonis non of the estate, appointed by the court after removal of the administrator.

Horatio Ames, whose administrator de bonis non brought this suit, died in January, 1871. On some day not shown by the record, but prior to April, 1873, his widow, Charlotte L. Ames was appointed administratrix with the will annexed of his estate. There was claimed to be due the estate, from the United States, a large sum of money for cannon furnished, which was satisfied by payments made in April, 1871, and in January, 1873. In May, 1873, Mrs. Ames filed her account, in which she charged herself with the sum of $39,955 as received by her from the United States on account of the claim of the estate, and took credit for three payments, amounting to $33,574.36, made to Clifford Arrick, the intestate of the defendant, for which vouchers were filed, signed by him. Exceptions were filed to the account by Oliver Ames, a brother of Horatio Ames. Before the exceptions were heard, the court, on January 9, 1875, removed Mrs. Ames for having failed to comply with an order of the court requiring her to give an additional bond, and

Page 112 U. S. 84

appointed the present plaintiff, Nathaniel Wilson, administrator de bonis non in her place. On January 22, 1876, the exceptions were heard, and the credit of $33,574.36, which the administratrix claimed on account of payments made to Arrick, was reduced by the court to the sum of $2,955.56, and the commission she claimed was also reduced. The account, as filed, showed a balance in her hands of $2,260.64; as corrected by the court, this balance was increased to $34,876.75.

Disregarding this settlement of the account, this suit was brought by Wilson, the administrator de bonis non, against Arrick to recover the sum of $39,955, the whole amount with which the administratrix had charged herself in her account, the allegation of the declaration being that he had collected that sum for the estate of Horatio Ames, and refused to pay it over. Arrick having died pending this suit, it was revived against the administrator of his estate.

It appears from the bill of exceptions that warrants were issued by the Secretary of the Navy to the administratrix for the amounts due from the United States to the estate she represented; that on their delivery to her, she was required to endorse upon them her receipt for the money, which she did, and, having the warrants in her possession, she endorsed and delivered them to Arrick, who drew the money.

The court at the request of the defendant, charged the jury that

"the legal effect of the receipts, given in evidence and signed by Charlotte L. Ames, as administratrix, was to invest her with the control of the moneys mentioned in said receipts, and if the administratrix parted with said control by the endorsement of said receipts, then the plaintiff is not entitled to recover."

And the court, of its own motion, added:

"If you find, from the testimony in this case, the Mrs. Ames, administratrix of the estate of Horatio Ames, deceased, received this fund from the government for the purpose of administration, and that after receiving it she wasted it upon Arrick, or anybody else, the plaintiff in this case would not be entitled to recover; it would be the case of administration of assets, and it does not survive to the administrator de bonis non to prosecute."

Verdict for the defendant, and judgment on the verdict. To

Page 112 U. S. 85

reverse this judgment this writ of error was sued out, and this charge of the court was assigned for error.

Page 112 U. S. 86

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