Wylie v. Coxe
56 U.S. 415 (1853)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wylie v. Coxe, 56 U.S. 15 How. 415 415 (1853)

Wylie v. Coxe

56 U.S. (15 How.) 415

Syllabus

Where a contract was made with an attorney for the prosecution of a claim against Mexico for a stipulated proportion of the amount recovered, and services were rendered,

Page 56 U. S. 416

the death of the owner of the claim did not dissolve the contract, but the compensation remained a lien upon the money when recovered.

A court of equity can exercise jurisdiction over the case if a more adequate remedy can be thus obtained than in a court of law.

The want of jurisdiction should have been alleged in the court below, either by plea or answer, if the defendant intended to avail himself of it. It is too late to urge it in an appellate court, unless it appears on the face of the proceedings.

This was a bill filed by Mr. Coxe under the circumstances stated in the opinion of the Court.

The circuit court passed the following decree.

"In equity. -- This cause having been set down for hearing, by consent upon the bill, answer, general replication, and the testimony filed in the case, and having been argued by counsel, and having been fully and materially considered by the court, it is thereupon, on this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred any fifty-two, ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the averments in said bill contained are fully established and sustained, and that complainant is justly and truly entitled to the relief which he prays, and inasmuch as it is thus shown and established that said respondent, as administrator of Samuel Baldwin, did obtain an award, as averred, for the sum of seventy-five thousand dollars, which said sum it is admitted that he has received from the government of the United States, and that he holds the same free and clear of all debts due by said intestate; and it being fully shown and established that, by and under the contract made in the lifetime of said Samuel Baldwin between the said Samuel and said complainant, said complainant is justly and equitably entitled to have and receive out of said fund, so in the hands of said defendant, as administrator as aforesaid, at the rate of five percentum on the said sum of seventy-five thousand dollars."

"Whereupon, it is now further ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that said defendant, as administrator as aforesaid, do forthwith pay over to said complainant the sum of three thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars."

"And whereas it further appears, and it is admitted, that said award became and was payable to said defendant, as administrator as aforesaid, on the sixteenth day of May, eighteen hundred and fifty-one, it is further ordered, decreed, and adjudged, that said defendant, as administrator as aforesaid, do further pay to said complainant interest on said sum of three thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars, to be calculated and estimated

Page 56 U. S. 417

from said 16th May, 1851, until paid, together with the costs of this suit."

From this decree, Wylie, the administrator appealed to this Court.

Afterwards he filed a petition to the circuit court to set aside the decree for reasons which it is unnecessary to state, but the court overruled the motion, from which judgment also Wylie prayed an appeal to this Court. This is mentioned in order that the case in 55 U. S. 14 How. 1, may be understood.

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