Burdon Central Sugar Ref. Co. v. Payne
167 U.S. 127 (1897)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Burdon Central Sugar Ref. Co. v. Payne, 167 U.S. 127 (1897)

Burdon Central Sugar Refining Company v. Payne

No. 722

Submitted April 12, 1897

Decided May 10, 1897

167 U.S. 127

Syllabus

P. and P., owners of three sugar plantations in Louisiana, leased the sugar house on one of them with all its machinery and such defined land in that plantation as might be found necessary for its use, to F. and F. for a term of years. The lessees agreed to buy during the term, and the lessors agreed to sell and deliver to them during that time, the sugar cane grown on the three plantations. Elaborate provisions were made respecting the conduct of the business and the manner of fixing from time to time the price of the cane. The thirteenth article was as follows:

"The price of cane as above determined shall be paid as follows: two and 75/100 dollars per ton shall be paid every Monday for the cane delivered during

Page 167 U. S. 128

the preceding week, until the delivery is completed. The balance, if any, per ton, shall operate as a lien and privilege to the full extent of such balance on the first bounty money received by the parties of the second part on sugar produced from cane ground at the Barbreck sugar house, and the said parties of the second part covenant and agree to consecrate solely to the payment of such balance all bounty payments so received by them, until the whole of the said balance shall have been paid."

The twentieth article was as follows:

"The parties of the first part agree to keep all such books and records as are required by the United States government in relation to the bounty, and to furnish to the parties of the second part all the details which may be necessary to enable them to effectuate their bounty rights."

The lessees, with the consent of the lessors, transferred their rights and their interests under the lease to a corporation which assumed their obligations thereunder. This corporation became involved, and a receiver was appointed in an equity suit brought by the Burdon Company. The lessors intervened in this suit, claiming that their claim for the balance due on the purchase price and also their claim for cane delivered to the lessees were secured by a lessor's privilege, under Louisiana law, on the property of the lessees at the sugar house, and the latter also by an equitable lien on any bounty that might thereafter be collected by the receiver. The circuit court decided that the intervenors were entitled to the lessor's privilege, and to an equitable lien on the bounty. An appeal having been taken from this decision, the circuit court of appeals certified the facts to this Court and propounded the following questions:

"First. It being shown that the cane sold by appellees, J. U. Payne & Company et als., to the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited, pursuant to the contract between the parties, was grown on lands not embraced within the limits of the premises leased to the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited, are appellees, under the laws of Louisiana, considered in connection with the provisions of the contract, entitled to the lessor's privilege to secure the payment of the purchase price of such cane?"

"Second. Under the terms of the thirteenth article of the contract between the Paynes and the Ferrises, and to secure the payment of the price of the sugar cane sold and delivered under said contract, have the appellees H. M. Payne, J. U. Payne and the members of the firm of J. U. Payne & Company an equitable lien upon the bounty money collected from the United States by the receiver in this suit?"

"Third. If the second question shall be answered in the affirmative, can such equitable lien, under the laws of Louisiana, be so enforced in the present suit as to appropriate the bounty money to the payment of the claim of the Paynes, to the exclusion of the general creditors of the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company?"

To these several questions, the Court now make answer as follows:

(1) The first question is answered in the negative.

(2) The second question is answered in the affirmative.

(3) The third question is answered in the affirmative.

Page 167 U. S. 129

The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, desiring the instruction of this Court for the proper decision of certain questions arising in the above-entitled cause, certified the statement of facts set out in full in the margin, * and thereon propounded the following questions:

Page 167 U. S. 130

"First. It being shown that the cane sold by appellees, J. U. Payne & Co. et al., to the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited, pursuant to the contract between the parties, was grown on lands not embraced within the

Page 167 U. S. 131

limits of the premises leased to the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company, Limited, are appellees, under the laws of Louisiana, considered in connection with the provisions of the contract, entitled to the lessor's privilege to secure the payment of the purchase price of such cane? "

Page 167 U. S. 132

"Second. Under the terms of the thirteenth article of the contract between the Paynes and the Ferrises, and to secure the payment of the price of the sugar cane sold and delivered under said contract, have the appellees, H. M. Payne, J. U.

Page 167 U. S. 133

Payne, and the members of the firm of J. U. Payne & Company, an equitable lien upon the bounty money collected from the United States by the receiver in this suit?"

"Third. If the second question shall be answered in the

Page 167 U. S. 134

affirmative, can such equitable lien, under the laws of Louisiana, be so enforced in the present suit as to appropriate the bounty money to the payment of the claim of the Paynes, to the exclusion of the general creditors of the Ferris Sugar Manufacturing Company? "

Page 167 U. S. 136

Official Supreme Court caselaw is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia caselaw is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.