McLean v. Meek - 59 U.S. 16 (1855)


U.S. Supreme Court

McLean v. Meek, 59 U.S. 18 How. 16 16 (1855)

McLean v. Meek

59 U.S. (18 How.) 16

Syllabus

The record of a debt against an administrator in one state is not sufficient evidence of the debt against an administrator of the same estate in another state.

The case of Stacy v. Thrasher, 6 How. 44, examined and affirmed.

In this case, even if there were other evidence of a demand, it would be for a debt upon open account, which would be barred by the statute of limitations in Mississippi, and therefore the decree of the circuit court, dismissing the bill, is affirmed.

The case was this.

Joseph Meek, a citizen and resident of Davidson County, State of Tennessee, died on the 12th of February, 1838, leaving property in the States of Tennessee and Mississippi. He left three children, namely: James L. Meek, Joseph Meek, and a daughter, who was married to John Munn.

Jesse Meek, the brother of the deceased, was appointed his administrator in both states, namely, in Mississippi on the 30th February, 1838, and in Tennessee in September, 1838.

The estate in Tennessee was insolvent, and in November 1840, a bill was filed in the Chancery Court at Franklin, in the State of Tennessee, by Jesse, the administrator, and by John Munn and wife, alleging the insolvency of the estate and praying for its administration according to the laws of that state in case of insolvent estates. To this bill the creditors were made parties defendants. The minor sons were also made defendants by their guardian.

Jesse Meek's letters of administration in Mississippi were revoked on 28th December, 1841, and John Munn appointed

Page 59 U. S. 17

on the same day administrator de bonis non. He continued to administer until 12th February, 1849, and on the next day James L. Meek was appointed in his place.

In the progress of the administration in insolvency in Tennessee, the claim of N. and J. Dick and Co., the surviving partners of which firm were the appellants, for $21,460.80 was presented to the clerk and master, who had been directed by the court to report on the debts filed against the estate. The claim was allowed for $20,445.67, which report was confirmed by the court. Upon this claim, Dick and Co. received two sums -- namely one of $300 and the other of $1,987.13.

On the 29th of August, 1850, Hill and McLean as surviving partners of the firm of Dick and Co., filed their bill in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Mississippi against James L. Meek, as administrator, which was afterwards so amended as to be against said Meek in his individual capacity, and also against Joseph Meek, one of the heirs.

The only evidence relied upon by the complainants was a transcript of the record from the chancery court of Tennessee.

The circuit court dismissed the bill, and the complainants appealed to this Court.



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