Bridges v. Armour - 46 U.S. 91 (1847)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bridges v. Armour, 46 U.S. 5 How. 91 91 (1847)
Bridges v. Armour
46 U.S. (5 How.) 91
A party upon the record, although divested of all interest in the event of the suit, is not a competent witness in a cause.
If a person be declared a bankrupt at a time when a suit is pending to which he is a party, his discharge would not be a bar to his liability for costs upon a judgment obtained subsequently to his discharge. His liability for costs, therefore, excludes him as a witness upon the ground of interest.
If the event of the suit may increase the effects of the bankrupt in the hands of the assignee, and thus increase the surplus which would belong to him, he is an incompetent witness.
On 26 September, 1840, Bridges, Mabray & Co., gave their promissory note to Armour, Lake & Walker, or order, payable one day after date, for $3,158.69, being balance of book account, bearing interest at eight percent per annum, from 1 August, 1840, until paid.
The note not being paid, a suit was commenced on 12 of November following. As no question arises upon the pleadings, it will be unnecessary to refer to them. They resulted in several issues of fact.
On the trial, in June term, 1844, the plaintiffs offered in evidence the deposition of Walker, a co-plaintiff on the record, taken in answer to interrogatories and cross-interrogatories before a commissioner in New Orleans, in pursuance of a stipulation between the attorneys, and in which the attorney for the defendants agreed to waive any exception for want of issuing a commission, in due form, to take the testimony, or for want of notice of its execution to the defendants.
It appeared on the trial that Walker had obtained a discharge under the bankrupt act, by which he was discharged from all his debts owing by him at the time of presenting his petition, to-wit, on
30 December, 1842. The discharge was granted on 12 May, 1843.
In one of the interrogatories in chief the question was put to the witness whether or not he had any interest in the event of the suit, and, if none, in what manner his interest had ceased. To which he answered, that he had none, and that his interest ceased on obtaining his discharge.
The counsel for the defendants objected to the admission of the deposition, on the ground that Walker was a party to the record, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, but the objection was overruled, and the evidence admitted, to which the counsel excepted. The plaintiffs had a verdict.