Wilson v. Seligman - 144 U.S. 41 (1892)


U.S. Supreme Court

Wilson v. Seligman, 144 U.S. 41 (1892)

Wilson v. Seligman

No. 177

Argued and submitted March 1-2, 1892

Decided March 14, 1892

144 U.S. 41

Syllabus

Under the statute of Missouri authorizing execution upon a judgment against a corporation to be ordered against any of its stockholders to the extent of the unpaid balance of their stock "upon motion in open court, after sufficient notice in writing to the persons sought to be charged," a notice served in another state upon a person alleged to be a stockholder, and who has never resided in Missouri, is insufficient to support an order charging him with personal liability.

Page 144 U. S. 42

This was an action brought by Wilson, a citizen of Missouri, against Seligman, a citizen of New York, in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis and duly removed by the defendant into the circuit court of the United States. The action was upon an order or judgment of the state court under section 736 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri of 1879, which is copied in the margin, * by which execution was awarded against the defendant as a stockholder in the Memphis, Carthage and Northwestern Railroad Company, a corporation of Missouri, upon a judgment recovered by the plaintiff against the corporation. The defendant answered denying that he was a stockholder and averring that the order or judgment against him was void for want of jurisdiction of his person. The present case was submitted, a jury being duly waived in writing, to the court, which found the following facts:

The plaintiff's judgment against the corporation was recovered in the state court on April 2, 1883, for $72,799.38 and interest. Upon that judgment, executions against the corporation were issued to the sheriffs of the several counties in Missouri through which it had built its road, and were returned unsatisfied, and the corporation was then, and has been ever since, insolvent. On July 9, 1883, the plaintiff filed a motion in the same court for an order that execution for the amount of that judgment issue against the defendant as the alleged holder of stock in the corporation on which more than the amount of the judgment against the corporation was still unpaid. Notice of this motion was served on him personally at his domicile in New York, and was posted in the clerk's

Page 144 U. S. 43

office of the state court. No notice was served on him within the State of Missouri, and he never was a citizen or a resident of this state. At the hearing of the motion on December 3, 1883, the defendant did not appear, and the court entered an order finding that he was a stockholder as alleged, and was liable to execution for the amount of the judgment against the corporation, and granting the motion and ordering execution to issue against him accordingly. This was the order or judgment upon which the present action was brought.

Upon these facts, the court below gave judgment for the defendant. 36 F. 154. The plaintiff sued out this writ of error.



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