Mangus v. Miller
317 U.S. 178 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Mangus v. Miller, 317 U.S. 178 (1942)

Mangus v. Miller

No. 74

Argued November 17, 1942

Decided December 7, 1942*

317 U.S. 178

Syllabus

1. The interest of one of two joint tenants in a contract to purchase land payable in installments, where, under state law, it is an interest which may be alienated and subjected to execution and separate sale, is property which may be administered in farmer-debtor proceedings under § 75 of the Bankruptcy Act, as amended, although, subsequent to the filing of the petition, the interest of his co-tenant has been forfeited by default in payment of the installments of the purchase price. P. 317 U. S. 183.

2. The farmer-debtor in this case, who was a joint tenant of a land purchase contract, his wife being the other joint tenant, but, so far as appears, not a farmer-debtor, was authorized to file his petition under § 75 of the Bankruptcy Act, and thus to subject his interest to the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court, and he thereupon became entitled to the benefit of the moratorium afforded by § 75(o) for the purpose of enabling him to effect a composition with his creditors, failing which he was entitled to proceed under § 75(s). P. 317 U. S. 184.

In advance of an authoritative determination by the state courts of the rights of purchasers of land as joint tenants when the interest of one of them has been forfeited for nonpayment of purchase money, this Court cannot say that the difficulties of administering the interests of the parties under § 75(s) of the Bankruptcy Act are insurmountable. P. 317 U. S. 185.

3. The court of bankruptcy, having control under § 75(e) of the Bankruptcy Act of the farmer's property, is free to permit and to facilitate proceedings in the state courts to adjudicate the interests of the parties to the contract, subject to the stay directed by § 75(o) of any cancellation of the contract or foreclosure of the farmer-debtor's interest in it. P. 317 U. S. 185.

4. In the event that no composition is effected, the farmer-debtor may ask to be adjudicated a bankrupt and, as such, to be placed in possession of the property under the provisions of § 75(s) upon terms which will enable him, by paying a suitable rental, to redeem the property unless he is sooner able to finance himself. If his interest is

Page 317 U. S. 179

found to be such that it is impracticable to place him in possession or otherwise to administer the property as provided by § 75(s), he is entitled to petition the court for leave to redeem the property, and if he is unable to redeem it, a sale of his interest may be ordered as directed by § 75(s)(3). P. 317 U. S. 186.

5. In proceedings for a stay under § 75(s)(2) of the Bankruptcy Act as an incident to which petitioners made a deposit of rental, they withdrew the deposit when the court rendered a judgment, denying its jurisdiction to review; for review of which they obtained a writ of certiorari.

Held:

(1) That whether the withdrawal of the amount deposited is so inconsistent with further proceedings for the three-year stay authorized by § 75(s) upon payment of a prescribed rental could not be determined on the record brought to this Court, and should, in any case, be determined in the first instance by the bankruptcy court having jurisdiction of the cause. P. 317 U. S. 187.

(2) The withdrawal is not inconsistent with other remedies which the bankruptcy court has jurisdiction to give under § 75, or with recourse to measures which the court may take to permit an adjudication of the rights of the parties in the property involved. P. 317 U. S. 187.

(3) Since deposit of rental is not prerequisite to jurisdiction, recall and receipt of the money, whatever effect it may have had on the right to the three-year stay authorized by § 75(s), involved no inconsistency with the assertion in this case of the court's jurisdiction to make an adjudication of the rights of the parties as a basis for composition and afford other relief. P. 317 U. S. 187.

125 F.2d 507, reversed.

Certiorari, 316 U.S. 657, to review a judgment of the court below which reversed orders of the court of bankruptcy denying motions by the present respondent to strike from the debtor's schedules of property certain land which respondent had contracted to sell to the farmer-debtor and another in joint tenancy.

Page 317 U. S. 180

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