Railroad Company v. James
73 U.S. 750 (1867)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Railroad Company v. James, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 750 750 (1867)

Railroad Company v. James

73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 750

Syllabus

In Wisconsin, a judgment is a lien from the time it is rendered upon a railroad, and upon the rolling stock which is a fixture by statute, and upon a bill in equity a decree for a sale to satisfy the judgment passed title to the purchaser.

On the 7th October, 1857, Cleveland recovered judgment for $111,727 against the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad Company. The Legislature of Wisconsin, incorporating the road, provided that the title to lands which it might take in building its road should, on its payment for them, "vest in the said company in fee," and provided also by general statute that rolling stock should be a fixture on any railroad in connection with which it was used. Cleveland assigned his judgment to James. Subsequently to the entry of this judgment,

Page 73 U. S. 751

the company mortgaged its road to one Barnes, and under this mortgage the Eastern Division of the road was sold (a Western Division having been sold under liens prior to either Barnes' mortgage or Cleveland's judgment). The purchasers of this Eastern Division organized a new company under the name of the Milwaukee & Minnesota Company, and took possession of the road. James now filed his bill in the Circuit Court for Wisconsin against the Milwaukee & Minnesota Company for the purpose of having his judgment declared a lien on the Eastern Division of the road and the same sold in order to obtain satisfaction.

The court decreed that the judgment was a lien from the time of its rendition, and that the sum of $98,901.51 was due thereon, that the La Crosse Company had ceased to exist as a corporation, and that the Milwaukee & Minnesota Company had succeeded to its rights as to the Eastern Division, subject to all prior liens, and directed a sale by the marshal of the road from Milwaukee to Portage. A sale was made accordingly, and on a report to the court, was duly confirmed.

The three appeals now taken to this Court were:

One on a petition of two stockholders in the Minnesota Company, Bright and Gunneseon, asking that the decree might be vacated, and they let in to defend;

One on a petition of the Minnesota Company to stay sale and open and vacate the decree, which was denied;

One, an appeal by the same company from the order confirming the sale.

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