Baldwin v. Black
119 U.S. 643 (1887)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Baldwin v. Black, 119 U.S. 643 (1887)

Baldwin v. Black, 119 U.S. 643 (1887)

Argued December 2-3, 1886

Decided January 10, 1887

119 U.S. 643

Syllabus

Where, under the Code of Practice of Louisiana, a steam tug is sequestered by judicial process, and under Art. 279, the plaintiff in sequestration gives a bond, with surety, to the sheriff and takes the tug into his possession and uses her, and afterwards restores her to the sheriff, he is

Page 119 U. S. 644

not liable to the defendant in sequestration for the fruits or revenues of her use.

Being in the lawful possession of the tug, his agent is not liable to the defendant in sequestration, either in contract or tort, in respect to any earnings of the tug or any compensation for or value of her use.

The claim of the plaintiff in sequestration having been founded on a mortgage on the tug, and it appearing that on a sale of her to him, on a judgment in his favor in the sequestration suit, there was a deficiency in the net proceeds of her sale to pay the mortgage debt and certain lien and privileged debts, having precedence of the mortgage, which the plaintiff in sequestration paid, under subrogations, legal as well as express, to the rights of the creditors holding those debts between the date of the seizure of the tug and the day of her sale, no cause of action could exist against the plaintiff in sequestration in respect to any earnings received by him from the use of the tug.

This was a suit in admiralty in personam. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Article 2207 et seq. of the Louisiana Civil Code, relating to compensation, referred to at the close of the opinion, provide that, when two persons are indebted to each other in certain sums, compensation -- the extinction of the debts to the amount of their respective sums -- takes place, the debts being liquidated and demandable. The opinion states the facts.

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