Hills v. Ross - 3 U.S. 331 (1796)
U.S. Supreme Court
Hills v. Ross, 3 U.S. 3 Dall. 331 331 (1796)
Hills v. Ross
3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 331
A libel was filed against Hills, May & Woodbridge, merchants in partnership under that firm, and John Miller. Hills, one of the partners, pleaded "in behalf of himself and his said co-partners," and concluded with a prayer, "on behalf aforesaid, to be dismissed, as far as respects Hills, May & Woodbridge." There was a replication and a rejoinder which was signed by the "proctor for the defendants." Held that there was a sufficient legal appearance for all the defendants.
The plaintiffs in error, as agents of a French privateer, had sold a vessel and cargo illegally captured, and which were restored to the British owners by the decree of the District Court of the United States for the District of South Carolina, and damages were assessed in that court in relation to the value of the captured goods. Held that the agents were not liable for more than actually came into their hands as proceeds of the sales made by them, and that they were not trespassers ab initio.
This cause came again before the Court (see ante, p. 3 U. S. 184) and after a discussion upon the merits, it became a question whether there had been a regular appearance of the parties to the suit below? The libel was filed by the British consul, on behalf of Walter Ross, against Hills, May & Woodbridge (who formed a partnership in Charleston under that firm) and John Miller. The plea was headed, "the plea of Ebenezer Hills, one of the company of Hills, May & Woodbridge, in behalf of himself and his said co-partners, who are made defendants in the libel of Walter Ross," and concluded with praying, "on the behalf aforesaid, to be dismissed, as far as respects the said Hills, May & Woodbridge." The replication regarded the plea of Hill as the plea of all the company, and the rejoinder was signed by "Joseph Clay, Jr., proctor for the defendants." The decree below was against all the defendants, and the writ of error was issued out in all their names, but there was evidence on the record that May had been in Europe during the whole of the proceeding, and no warrant of attorney or other authority to appear for him was produced.