Smith v. Union Bank of Georgetown - 30 U.S. 518 (1831)
U.S. Supreme Court
Smith v. Union Bank of Georgetown, 30 U.S. 5 Pet. 518 518 (1831)
Smith v. Union Bank of Georgetown
30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 518
Robertson was domiciliated at Norfolk in Virginia, and there contracted a debt on bond to T. He was also indebted to the Union Bank of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, on simple contract. He died intestate at Bedford in Pennsylvania, leaving personal estate in the City of Washington in the District of Columbia, of which administration was there granted. By the laws of Maryland, all debts are of equal dignity in administration, and by the laws of Virginia, where R. was domiciliated, debts on bond are preferred. The assets in the hands of the administrator were insufficient to discharge the bond and simple contract debts. Held that the effects of the intestate, in the hands of the administrator, are to be distributed among his creditors according to the laws of Maryland, and not according to the laws of Virginia.
This case came before the circuit court on the following case agreed.
"Samuel Robertson, a native of the State of Maryland, a purser in the Navy of the United States, and as such purser, for several years before his death, stationed and domiciliated at Norfolk, in the State of Virginia, died, in the year 182_, at Bedford in Pennsylvania, intestate, insolvent, whither he had gone on a visit for the benefit of his health. He was at the time of his death indebted to the plaintiffs, residing in the District of Columbia, on simple contract, not under seal, entered into here in the sum of $2,228, with legal interest thereon from 3 November, 1818 till paid, which sum of money and interest still remain due and unpaid, and the said Robertson, at the time of his death, was also indebted to Thompson, residing in Virginia, upon contracts and bonds under seal, entered into in the State of Virginia, in a sum exceeding the whole amount of assets in the hands of the defendant, as administrator as aforesaid. The said Robertson, at the time of his death, was possessed of personal assets in Washington County, in this district. The defendant, Clement Smith, took out letters of administration
upon his estate in this county, and has collected in this county, and now holds in his hands as administrator, the sum of $8,390.015."
"The plaintiffs claim a dividend of the assets according to the laws of administration in force in this county. The defendant resists payment upon the ground of the debt due to said Thompson, who claims a priority as creditor upon the said sealed contracts, and that the assets must be paid away to the creditors pursuant to the laws in force in Virginia. If the court is of opinion that the assets are to be administered, as to creditors according to the laws in force in this county, then judgment to be entered for the plaintiffs for the amount of their debt aforesaid, to bind assets in the hands of defendant, C. Smith, the administrator: if otherwise, then judgment of non pross."
Upon this case the circuit court gave judgment for the plaintiff and the defendant prosecuted this writ of error.