Haydel v. Girod - 35 U.S. 283 (1836)
U.S. Supreme Court
Haydel v. Girod, 35 U.S. 10 Pet. 283 283 (1836)
Haydel v. Girod
35 U.S. (10 Pet.) 283
ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
By the Civil Code of Louisiana, a time or delay for the payment of debts, called a respite, is granted by the proper court on petition of a debtor who is unable to pay his debts, &c., but notice of the proceeding must be given to every creditor on whom notice could be served or he is not bound by the same.
The District Court of the United States, of Louisiana properly overruled a defense set up to an action on a promissory note against a debtor who had not given notice to his creditors of the proceedings for a respite. The creditor was in no sense a party to the proceedings, and his rights were in no sense affected by them.
The defendant in error instituted a suit in the district court on a promissory note, and the defendant having applied, after the suit was brought, to a court of Louisiana for the benefit of the insolvent law of that state, pleaded a respite obtained in those proceedings against his creditors.
In the proceedings of the court of Louisiana in the petition of the plaintiff in error, it nowhere appears that any notice of the same was given to Francois Girod; on this ground the district court decided against the plea, and gave judgment for the plaintiff in that court.
The defendant prosecuted this writ of error.
MR. JUSTICE McLEAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The plaintiff in the district court filed his petition representing that Haydel, the defendant, was indebted to him in the sum of $2,189, being the amount of a certain promissory note drawn 17 July, 1833, by J. J. Haydel, payable in all the month of February, 1834, to the order of M. Belfort Haydel, by whom it was endorsed to the plaintiff. That when the note became due, demand was made and notice given, &c.
On 17 May 1834, the defendant, Haydel, filed an answer in which he states for exception to the petition that by a decree of the First District Court of the First Judicial District of Louisiana, all proceedings against his property and person have been stayed upon the application of the respondent for a respite under the provisions of the law of the State of Louisiana.
"That the note or instrument upon which he is sued being made in said state and payable there, the said Girod, having before and since the making of said note resided within the said state, is bound by the laws thereof and cannot, because of the decree aforesaid, further prosecute his said suit in this court until the creditors of your respondent shall have refused the respite demanded by him or until the period thereof, should the said creditors accord a respite, has expired."
Afterwards the defendant applied for leave to file a supplemental answer, which was refused under the rule of the court.
And on 14 January, 1835, a judgment was entered for the plaintiff.
By the Civil Code of Louisiana, it is declared, Article 3051,
"A respite is an act by which a debtor who is unable to satisfy his debts at the moment transacts with his creditors and obtains from them time or delay for the payment of the sums which he owes them. "
And in Article 3054.
"But in order that a respite may produce that effect, it is necessary,"
"1. That the debtor should deposit in the office of the clerk of the court of his domicile, to whom he presents his petition for calling his creditors, a true and exact schedule, sworn to by him, of all his movable and immovable property, as well as of his debts."
"2. That a meeting of the creditors of such debtor domiciliated in the state shall be called on a certain day at the office of a notary public by order of the judge, at which meeting the creditors shall be summoned to attend by process issued from the court if the creditors live within the parish where the meeting shall take place, or by letters addressed to them by the notary if they are not residing in the parish,"
It was under this law that the matters in the defendant's answers were pleaded, and it was insisted that the district court should have suspended all proceedings in the suit.
The defendant, it appears, exhibited his schedule, as stated in the state court, but it nowhere appears in the record that notice was given to the plaintiff either by the notary or otherwise, as the law requires. Without deciding what effect these proceedings in the state court, if regular, could have on the suit in the district court, it is enough to say that as the plaintiff had no notice, he was in no sense made a party to the proceedings, and consequently his rights are in no respect affected by them. The district court therefore did not err in overruling this defense and giving a judgment for the plaintiff.
This point was decided in the case of Breedlove and Robeson v. Nicolet and Sigg, 7 Pet. 434. The judgment of the district court is
This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana and was argued by counsel, on consideration whereof it is adjudged and ordered by this Court that the judgment of the said district court in this cause be and the same is hereby affirmed with costs and damages at the rate of six percentum per annum.