Adair v. Bank of America Assn.
303 U.S. 350 (1938)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Adair v. Bank of America Assn., 303 U.S. 350 (1938)

Adair v. Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association

No. 365

Argued February 2, 1938

Decided February 28, 1938

303 U.S. 350

Syllabus

1. Subdivisions (e) and (n) of § 75 of the Bankruptcy Act, which provide for exercise of such control over the property of the farmer-debtor as the court deems in his best interest and in that of his creditors, look to the maintenance of the farm as a going concern and authorize, in a proper case, the continuance of the farm operations after the filing of the petition. P. 303 U. S. 354.

2. A conciliation commissioner, appointed pursuant to § 75 of the Bankruptcy Act and Rule L of the General Orders in Bankruptcy, exercises judicial powers like those of a referee in bankruptcy; his acts in authorizing expenditure of funds in his charge, if performed in good faith and not in violation of any rule or positive enactment, are judicial acts for which he cannot be held personally liable. P. 303 U. S. 357.

3. In a proceeding under § 75 of the Bankruptcy Act, proceeds of the sale of a crop of grapes were spent by the conciliation commissioner in harvesting the crop and in work for the preservation of the vineyard and cultivation of the crop for the next year. Part of the disbursements were made before the farmer-debtor was adjudged a bankrupt, and part thereafter by direction of the referee. A creditor claimed the gross proceeds of the sale under a mortgage of the crop sold and future crops. The same creditor had a mortgage on the farm.

Held:

(1) That, as the commissioner acted either judicially, as conciliation commissioner, or ministerially, as an arm of the court by authority of the referee, he was not personally liable to the creditor. P. 303 U. S. 358.

(2) Expenditures, reasonable in amount, for gathering the crop sold, and also those in preparation for the next year's crop and for maintenance of the property, were proper charges on the fund, being for its protection and in the interest of the mortgagee. P. 303 U. S. 360.

90 F.2d 750 reversed.

Page 303 U. S. 351

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 674, to review a judgment which reversed an order of the district court settling the final account of the present petitioner as a conciliation commissioner in a bankruptcy proceeding.

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