Combs v. Hodge - 62 U.S. 397 (1858)
U.S. Supreme Court
Combs v. Hodge, 62 U.S. 21 How. 397 397 (1858)
Combs v. Hodge
62 U.S. (21 How.) 397
The pleadings in another suit, where the parties were different, and the petition and answer signed by counsel cannot be resorted to for admissions of the respective parties.
Where certificates of the public debt of Texas were transferable only by the owner or his legal representative or attorney, and there is no sufficient evidence of the existence of a power of attorney, a mere endorsement in blank by the owner is not sufficient to justify a purchaser in drawing a conclusion that the holder is entitled to sell or discount it.
The difference between this and negotiable instruments explained, and the authorities examined.
But as the circumstances attending the purchase are not well disclosed in the record, the court will remand the case to the circuit court with directions to allow the parties to amend the pleadings, and to take testimony if they should be so advised.
The chronological history of the case was this:
In 1839, Combs was the proprietor of a large amount of bonds issued by the State of Texas for various sums, which certificates concluded in this way:
"This certificate is transferable by the said Leslie Combs
or his legal attorney or representative on the books of the stock commissioner only."
Two of these certificates -- viz., No. 5219, for five thousand dollars, and No. 5229, for one thousand dollars -- were the subjects of the present suit. No notice will be taken in this report of the other bonds.
In 1840, Combs endorsed these certificates in blank and placed them in the hands of James Love, of Galveston, Texas, for the purpose, as he alleged, of enabling Love to receive payment, which was then expected but which was not made.
In 1846, one Josiah Lee brought a suit in the Commercial Court of New Orleans against William L. Hodge to recover back money which he had paid to Hodge for the purchase of Texas bonds. Hodge took defense upon two grounds, viz., 1. that it was supposed that there was a power to transfer in the hands of a Mr. Love, of Galveston, which plaintiff was bound to refer to; 2. that the blank endorsement of the owner authorized plaintiff to write over it the necessary authority. The court, however, gave judgment for Lee against Hodge.
By subsequent legislation of Congress and of Texas, the bonds became payable at the Treasury of the United States, where payment of them was claimed by J. Ledgear Hodge, a resident of Pennsylvania, administrator with the will annexed of Andrew Hodge, deceased, in whose name the bonds had been deposited at the Treasury. Whereupon Combs filed a bill against J. L. Hodge, the administrator as aforesaid, William L. Hodge, and James Love. An injunction was obtained to stay the payment of the money until the determination of the suit. The record of the suit in New Orleans and copies of letters were attached to the bill as exhibits.