Lord v. Veazie - 49 U.S. 251 (1850)
U.S. Supreme Court
Lord v. Veazie, 49 U.S. 8 How. 251 251 (1850)
Lord v. Veazie
49 U.S. (8 How.) 251
Where it appears to this Court from affidavits and other evidence filed by persons not parties to a suit that there is no real dispute between the plaintiff and defendant in the suit, but, on the contrary, that their interest is one and the same and is adverse to the interests of the parties who filed the affidavits, the judgment of the circuit court entered pro forma is a nullity and void, and no writ of error will lie upon it. It must therefore, be dismissed.
A motion was made by Mr. Moor, upon his own account and also as counsel for the City Bank, at Boston, to dismiss the appeal, upon the ground that it was a fictitious case, got up between said parties for the purpose of settling legal questions upon which he, the said Moor and the City Bank, had a large amount of property depending. The motion made by Mr. Moor upon his individual account was to dismiss the appeal; that made by him as counsel for the City Bank was in the alternative, either to dismiss the suit, or order the same back to the circuit court for trial, and allow the said City Bank to be heard in the trial of the same.
It appeared upon the documents and affidavits filed, that in 1842, the Bangor & Piscataquis Canal and Railroad Company, in the State of Maine, which had been chartered by the state, executed a deed to the City Bank, at Boston, by virtue of which that bank claimed to hold the entire property of the company.
In 1846, the Legislature of Maine granted to William Moor and Daniel Moor, Jun., their associates and assigns, the sole right of navigating the Penobscot River.
In July, 1847, an act was passed additional to the charter of the first-named company, by virtue of which a reorganization took place. The City Bank claimed to be the sole proprietors
or beneficiaries under this new charter, and John W. Veazie, who held a large number of shares in the original company, claimed that the management and control were granted to the stockholders.
In August, 1848, John W. Veazie and Nathaniel Lord executed a written instrument, which purported to be a conveyance by Veazie to Lord of 250 shares of the stock of the railroad company, for the consideration of $6,000. This deed contained the following covenant:
"And I do hereby covenant and agree to and with the said Lord, that I will warrant and defend the said shares, and all property and privileges of said corporation incident thereto, to the said Lord, his executors, administrators, and assigns, and that the said shares, property, and privileges are free and clear of all encumbrances; and I further covenant with said Lord that the stockholders of said company have the right to use the waters of the Penobscot River within the limits mentioned in their charter for the purposes of navigation and transportation by steam or otherwise."
In September, 1848, this action on the above covenant was docketed by consent, and a statement of facts agreed upon by the respective counsel, under which the opinion of the court was to be taken, viz., that if the claim of the City Bank was valid, then the plaintiff was entitled to recover; or if the canal and railroad company, or the stockholders thereof, had not a right to navigate the river, then the plaintiff was also entitled to recover. This last prayer involved Moor's right.
In October, 1848, the court, held by Mr. Justice Ware gave judgment for the defendant pro forma, at the request of the parties, in order that the judgment and question might be brought before this Court, and the case was brought up by writ of error, as before mentioned.
On 31 January, 1849, the record was filed in this Court, and on 2 February, printed arguments of counsel were filed, and the case submitted to the court on the 5th. It was not taken up by the court, but continued to the next term.
On 28 December, 1849, Mr. Wyman B. S. Moor filed, with the motion to dismiss, as above mentioned, an affidavit, stating the pendency of a suit by him against Veazie in the courts of Maine, which involved the same right of navigating the river which was one of the points of the present case. He further stated his belief, that this case was a feigned issue, got up collusively between the said Lord and Veazie, for the purpose of prejudicing his (Moor's) rights, and
obtaining the judgment of this Court upon principles of law affecting a large amount of property, in which he and others were interested.
When the motion came on for argument, a number of affidavits were filed in support of and against the motion. It is unnecessary to state their contents, as they were not particularly commented on by the court. They proved that none of the persons whose interest was adverse to that of the plaintiff and defendant had any knowledge of these proceedings, until after the case was removed to this Court, and submitted for decision on printed arguments, although one or more of those most deeply interested resided in the town in which Lord, one of the parties, lived.