Williams v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co.
236 U.S. 549 (1915)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Williams v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co., 236 U.S. 549 (1915)

Williams v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company

No. 80

Argued January 18, 1915

Decided February 23, 1915

236 U.S. 549

Syllabus

Statutes should be sensibly construed with a view to effectuating the legislative intent.

It is the purpose of the Bankruptcy Act to convert the assets of the bankrupt into cash for distribution among creditors and then relieve the honest debtor from the weight of oppressive indebtedness and permit him to start afresh free from obligations and responsibilities consequent upon business misfortunes. Within the intendment of the bankruptcy law, provable debts include all liabilities of the bankrupt founded on contract, express or implied which at the time of the bankruptcy were fixed in amount or susceptible of liquidation. Under the provisions of the Bankrupt Act, the surety of the bankrupt either shares, or enjoys due opportunity to share, in the principal's

Page 236 U. S. 550

estate, and therefore the discharge of the bankrupt acquits the obligation between them incident to the relationship.

A discharge in bankruptcy acquits the express obligation of the principal to indemnify his surety against loss by reason of their joint bond conditioned to secure his faithful performance of a building contract broken prior to the bankruptcy, although the surety did not pay the consequent damage until thereafter.

11 Ga.App. 635 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Bankruptcy Act and effect of a discharge in bankruptcy, are stated in the opinion.

Page 236 U. S. 552

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