McLauglin v. Swann - 59 U.S. 217 (1855)
U.S. Supreme Court
McLauglin v. Swann, 59 U.S. 18 How. 217 217 (1855)
McLauglin v. Swann
59 U.S. (18 How.) 217
The attachment law of Maryland allows an attachment by way of execution to be issued upon a judgment and levied upon the credits inter alia of the defendant. Where an attachment of this nature was laid in the hands of garnishees who were trustees, and it appeared that, after performing the trust, there was a balance in their hands due to the defendant, the attachment will bind this balance.
The defendant might have brought an action to recover it, and wherever he can do this, the fund is liable to be attached.
A bill filed in the court of chancery by another creditor against the garnishees and the defendant, filed after the laying of the attachment, and the opinion and decree of the chancellor thereon, do not change the rights of the plaintiff in the attachment. The decree was passed without prejudice to his rights. If these things were made evidence by consent in the court below, it does not so appear in the bill of exceptions.
Whatever legal or equitable defenses the garnishees might have set up in an action brought against them by the defendant to recover the balance in their hands can be set up, by bill of interpleader or otherwise, against the plaintiff in the attachment.
The different modes of presenting these legal and equitable defenses in different states referred to.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.
The instructions given by the circuit court to the jury, and which were excepted to by the plaintiff, were as follows:
"And the court directed the jury that the plaintiff was not entitled to recover, and their verdict must be for the defendants: "
"1. Because the rights of the parties claiming as cestui que trusts under the deed of April 15, 1840, and the rights of those claiming an interest in the surplus after the cestui que trusts are satisfied, cannot be adjusted and determined in the proceeding
by attachment against the trustees in a court of law, and there is no evidence that any specified sum ascertained by the accounts of the trustees, or by judicial decision, was due to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company at the time this attachment was laid, or at any time since, after satisfying all legal or equitable claims on the fund placed in the hands of the trustees."
"2. Because there is no evidence that anything remained in the hands of the trustees, after satisfying the trust mentioned in the deed, more than sufficient to satisfy the claim of the Alexandria Canal Company and others, having prior and superior claims on the fund to the plaintiff in this attachment."
"3. The plaintiff having become a party to the proceedings in the Chancery Court of Maryland in the suit in which this fund was in litigation, and the trustees in the fund being all before the court, he is concluded by its decision while the decree remains in force. "