Hill v. Harding
130 U.S. 699 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hill v. Harding, 130 U.S. 699 (1889)

Hill v. Harding

No. 253

Submitted April 16, 1889

Decided May 13, 1889

130 U.S. 699

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Syllabus

If an attachment of property in an action in a state court is dissolved by the defendant's entering into a recognizance, with sureties, to pay, within ninety days after any final judgment against him, the amount of that judgment, and the defendant, after verdict against him, obtains his discharge in bankruptcy upon proceedings commenced more than four months after the attachment; the Bankrupt Act does not prevent the state court from rendering judgment against him on the verdict, with a perpetual stay of execution, so as to leave the plaintiff at liberty to proceed against the sureties.

Page 130 U. S. 700

This was an action of assumpsit commenced by Harding and others against Hill in an inferior court of the State of Illinois, in accordance with the statutes of the state, by attachment of the defendant's real estate. The attachment was dissolved, in accordance with those statutes, by the defendant's giving bond or, more strictly speaking, entering into a recognizance, with sureties conditioned to pay to the plaintiffs

"the amount of the judgment and costs which may be rendered against him in this suit on a final trial hereof within ninety days after such judgment shall be rendered."

After verdict for the plaintiffs and before judgment thereon, and on proceedings in bankruptcy commenced more than four months after the attachment, the defendant was adjudged a bankrupt under the Bankrupt Act of the United States, and applied to the state court, under § 5106 of the Revised Statutes, for a stay of proceedings to await the determination of the court in bankruptcy upon the question of his discharge. The application was denied, and judgment rendered against the defendant on the verdict, and upon a bill of exceptions stating these facts, that judgment was affirmed by the supreme court of the state. 93 Ill. 77. Upon a former writ of error, this Court reversed the judgment of that court and remanded the case to it for further proceedings upon the ground that the defendant was entitled to the stay applied for without considering the question whether the court in which the suit was pending might, after the defendant had obtained his discharge in bankruptcy, render a special judgment in favor of the plaintiffs for the purpose of charging the sureties on the recognizance given to dissolve the attachment. 107 U. S. 107 U.S. 631, 107 U. S. 635.

The case was then remanded by the Supreme Court of Illinois to the inferior court with a direction that upon its satisfactorily appearing that the defendant since the verdict had obtained his discharge in bankruptcy, a judgment should be entered for the plaintiff and against the defendant upon the verdict, with a perpetual stay of execution. The inferior court thereupon denied a motion of the defendant for leave to file a formal plea setting up his discharge in bankruptcy, admitted in evidence a copy of that discharge, offered by the plaintiff

Page 130 U. S. 701

and objected to by the defendant as not duly verified, refused the defendant's request for a trial by jury on the question of his discharge in bankruptcy, denied a motion to enter a judgment in his favor releasing him from all liability subsequent to the commencement of the proceedings in bankruptcy on account of all causes of action involved in this suit, and ordered judgment on the verdict pursuant to the mandate of the supreme court of the state, with a perpetual stay of execution. Upon a bill of exceptions, the judgment and order were affirmed by the Supreme Court of Illinois. 16 Ill. 92. The defendant sued out this writ of error.

Page 130 U. S. 702

MR. JUSTICE GRAY, after stating the facts as above, delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question presented by this writ of error is quite distinct from that which arose when the case was before this Court at a former term, as reported in 107 U. S. 107 U.S. 631. The only point then decided was that the defendant, on his application made after verdict and before judgment, was entitled to a stay of proceedings to await the determination of the court in bankruptcy upon the question of his discharge. The question not then passed upon, and now presented, is whether, since he has obtained his discharge in bankruptcy, there is anything in the provisions of the bankrupt act to prevent the state court from rendering judgment on the verdict against him, with a perpetual stay of execution, so as to prevent the plaintiffs from enforcing the judgment against him and leave them at liberty to proceed against the sureties in the bond or recognizance

Page 130 U. S. 703

given to dissolve an attachment made more than four months before the commencement of the proceedings in bankruptcy.

Such attachments being recognized as valid by the bankrupt act (Rev.Stat.

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