Kimbro v. Bullitt - 63 U.S. 256 (1859)
U.S. Supreme Court
Kimbro v. Bullitt, 63 U.S. 22 How. 256 256 (1859)
Kimbro v. Bullitt
63 U.S. (22 How.) 256
Where bills of exchange were drawn by the principal acting partner of a firm in the name of the firm, all the partners were responsible.
Whenever there are written articles of agreement between the partners, their power and authority, inter se, are to be ascertained and regulated by the terms and conditions of the written stipulations. But independently of any such stipulations, each partner possesses an equal and general power and authority, in behalf of the firm, to transact any business within the scope and objects of the partnership, and in the course of its trade and business.
Where partnerships are formed for the mere purpose of farming, one partner does not possess the right, without the consent of his associates, to draw or accept bills of exchange, for the reason that such a practice is not usual, nor is it necessary for carrying on the farming business.
In the present case, the jury found that this was a trading firm, and their verdict is conclusive.
The right of the acceptors, who had paid the money, to recover from the drawers, cannot be affected by the fact that one of the drawers had applied the money to an unlawful purpose.
The suit was brought upon three bills of exchange, which were accepted and paid by Bullitt, Miller & Co., the drawees, for the accommodation of the drawers, Dement, Kimbro & Sons, of which firm Joseph Kimbro was a partner. This action was brought by Bullitt, Miller & Co., against Joseph Kimbro alone. The place of business of the firm of Dement, Kimbro & Sons, was in Mississippi. Kimbro resided in Tennessee, and therefore was sued there.
The defense set up in the court below rested on two grounds, viz.:
1. That Dement, the principal acting partner of the firm of Dement, Kimbro & Sons, had no power to draw the bills sued on.
2. That the bills were drawn for the purpose of raising money to be laid out in the purchase of slaves to be carried into Mississippi for sale, which slaves were so carried in and sold, contrary to laws of Mississippi.
On the trial, the judge charged the jury in the following words:
"The court charge the jury that Dement, the principal acting partner of the firm of Dement, Kimbro & Sons, had power to draw the bills given in evidence, according to the proof adduced to them, if true; that if the bills were accepted and paid at maturity by the plaintiffs for said firm, the defendant, Joseph Kimbro, was responsible, and it mattered nothing to the plaintiffs how the proceeds of the bills were disposed of, as this was a fact the plaintiffs could not know, and were not bound to prove."
This ruling was excepted to, upon which the case was brought up to this Court.