Cross v. Allen
141 U.S. 528 (1891)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Cross v. Allen, 141 U.S. 528 (1891)

Cross v. Allen

No. 23

Argued October 13, 1891

Decided November 16, 1891

141 U.S. 528

Syllabus

The transfer of an overdue note and mortgage for a valuable consideration to a bona fide purchaser is not a collusive transaction which prevents the transferee from maintaining an action upon them under the provisions of the Act of March 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 470, c. 137, § 1, although made to make a case to be tried in a federal court.

It being conceded that this case comes within the rules laid down in Ackley School District v. Hall,113 U. S. 135, and in New Providence v. Halsey,117 U. S. 336, this Court adheres to the doctrines enunciated in those cases.

The payment by the principal debtor, after the death of his wife, of interest upon a note, signed by him alone but secured by a mortgage upon her separate real estate executed by her, operates in Oregon to keep alive the lien upon the property for the security of the mortgage debt as against the statute of limitations of that state.

So long as demands secured by a mortgage are not barred by the statute of limitations, there can be no laches in prosecuting a suit upon the mortgage to enforce them.

While adhering to the rule that any material change in a contract made by the principal without the assent of the surety discharges the latter, the Court is of opinion that the changes set up in this case as a reason for the discharge of the property of the surety were not material and did not operate to discharge it.

Under the Constitution and laws of Oregon in force when these contracts were made, a married woman could bind her separate property for the payment of her husband's debts.

This Court is bound to assume that decisions of state courts on matters of state law have been made after thorough consideration and that they embody the deliberate judgment of the court.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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