Gorman v. Littlefield - 229 U.S. 19 (1913)


U.S. Supreme Court

Gorman v. Littlefield, 229 U.S. 19 (1913)

Gorman v. Littlefield

No. 243

Argued April 21, 22, 1913

Decided May 26, 1913

229 U.S. 19

Syllabus

Where the trustee of a bankrupt broker finds in the estate certificates for shares of a particular stock legally subject to the demand of the customer for whom shares of that stock were bought by the bankrupt, the customer is entitled to the same although the certificates may not be the identical ones purchased for him. Richardson v. Shaw, 209 U. S. 365.

Where there are in the bankrupt's possession certificates for enough shares of a particular stock to satisfy the legal demand of a customer for whom shares of that stock were purchased, and no other customer can legally demand any shares of that stock, those certificates will be presumed to be the certificates kept by the bankrupt in accordance with his duty so to do to satisfy the demand of such customer.

It is the right and duty of the bankrupt, if he uses securities belonging to a customer, to use his own funds to replace such securities with others of the same kind, and in so doing he does not deplete the estate against his other creditors.

No creditor of the bankrupt can demand that the estate of the bankrupt be augmented by the wrongful conversion of property of another, or the application to the general estate of property which never rightfully belonged to the bankrupt.

There is no presumption that certificates of stock in the possession of the bankrupt were embezzled or stolen, but there is a presumption that such certificates were bought and paid for out of his own funds to replace those which he had used belonging to a customer.

175 F. 769 reversed.

The facts, which involve the right of a customer of a bankrupt brokerage firm to shares of stock purchased for him by the bankrupt and fully paid for by the claimant prior to the petition, notwithstanding the certificates in

Page 229 U. S. 20

possession of the bankrupt are not the identical ones purchased, are stated in the opinion.

Page 229 U. S. 21



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