Bank of the United States v. Moss - 47 U.S. 31 (1848)


U.S. Supreme Court

Bank of the United States v. Moss, 47 U.S. 6 How. 31 31 (1848)

Bank of the United States v. Moss

47 U.S. (6 How.) 31

Syllabus

Where a declaration contained special counts upon promissory notes, and also the common money counts, although the jurisdiction of the court was not apparent upon the special counts, yet the money counts, sustained by evidence, might have been sufficient to sustain it, and this Court will presume such evidence to have been given if the record is silent upon the subject and if no objection was made to the jurisdiction in the progress of the trial.

Judgment having been rendered for the plaintiffs, it was not competent for the court below to strike out the judgment at the next term on the ground of supposed want of jurisdiction.

The power of a court over its records and judgments examined and stated.

In 1838, the two following notes were executed, viz.:

"$10,715 53/100 Brandon, March 17, 1838"

Nine months after 1 April, 1838, we, or either of us, promise to pay to Briggs, Lacoste & Co., or order, for value received, ten thousand seven hundred and fifteen 53/100 dollars, payable and negotiable at the Commercial Bank in Natchez.

"H. K. Moss"

"W. H. SHELTON, Sec'y"

"R. A. PATRICK"

"CHARLES LYNCH"

"Endorsed, 'Briggs, Lacoste & Co.'"

"$10,876 92/100 Brandon, March 17, 1838"

"Eleven months after 1 April, 1838, we, or either of us, promise to pay to Briggs, Lacoste & Co., or order, for value received,

Page 47 U. S. 32

ten thousand eight hundred and seventy-six 92/100 dollars, payable and negotiable at the Commercial Bank in Natchez."

"H. K. Moss"

"W. H. SHELTON, Sec'y"

"R. A. PATRICK"

"CHARLES LYNCH"

"Endorsed, 'Briggs, Lacoste & Co.'"

In March, 1840, the Bank of the United States brought suit in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Mississippi, against Henry K. Moss, William H. Shelton, Robert A. Patrick, Charles Lynch, and Charles A. Lacoste. On the same day, a declaration was filed consisting of five counts, in which all the defendants were averred to be citizens of Mississippi. The first two counts were upon the notes, each count being upon one note. In the first count, the endorsement is thus averred:

"And the said Charles A. Lacoste, together with Charles Briggs and Louis Hermann, who are not sued in this action, not being citizens of this state, by the name and style of Briggs, Lacoste & Co., being partners in trade, using the name and style of Briggs, Lacoste & Co., to whom or to whose order the payment of the sum of money in the said note,"

&c., and in the second count, upon the other note, it is thus stated:

"And then and there delivered the same to said Briggs, Lacoste & Co., and the said Briggs, Lacoste & Co, of which firm the said defendant, Charles A. Lacoste, is a partner, the rest not being citizens of this state, to whom or to whose order the payment of the sum of money in the said note specified was by the same to be made, after the making of the said note, and before the payment of the said sum of money therein specified, to-wit, on the day and year last aforesaid, and at the district aforesaid, endorsed the same note in writing, by the name of Briggs, Lacoste & Co.,"

&c.

The other three counts in the declaration were the common money counts.

The defendants all appeared, and pleaded the general issue.

At November term, 1841, on motion of the plaintiffs' attorney, the suit was discontinued as to Lacoste, and a jury, being empanelled, found a verdict for the plaintiffs, assessing the damages at $26,485.66, for which sum judgment was entered up.

At May term, 1841, the defendants, by their counsel, moved the court to set aside the verdict and judgment rendered in the cause because the court had not jurisdiction, which motion was sustained. The verdict and judgment were set aside and the case dismissed for want of jurisdiction, to which decision the plaintiffs filed the following bill of exceptions.

Page 47 U. S. 33

"Be it remembered, that at the present term of this Court, the defendants in the above case came into court and moved the court to set aside the verdict and judgment in this case rendered at the last term of this Court, and to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction of the court; which motion is in the words and figures following:"

"The defendants by their attorney move the court to set aside the verdict and judgment rendered in this cause, and to dismiss the suit, because the court had not jurisdiction of the cause."

And thereupon came the plaintiffs and objected to said motion, but the court, without any evidence other than the record in said cause, sustained the said defendants' motion, and ordered said verdict and judgment rendered in this case at the last term of this Court to be set aside, and the suit dismissed, to which opinion of the court in sustaining said motion, and setting aside said verdict and judgment, and dismissing said suit, the plaintiffs by their counsel except, and pray that this their bill of exceptions be signed, sealed, enrolled, and made a part of the record in this cause, which is done accordingly.

"J. McKINLEY [SEAL]"

Upon which exception, the cause came up to this Court.

Page 47 U. S. 36



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