Lukins v. Aird - 73 U.S. 78 (1867)
U.S. Supreme Court
Lukins v. Aird, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 78 78 (1867)
Lukins v. Aird
73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 78
A debtor in failing circumstances cannot sell and convey his land, even for a valuable consideration, by deed without reservations, and yet secretly reserve to himself the right to possess and occupy it, for even a limited time, for his own benefit. Nor will this rule of law be changed by the fact that the right thus to occupy the property for a limited time is a part of the consideration of the sale, the money part of the consideration being on this account proportionably abated.
Appeal (submitted) from the District Court of the United States for Western Arkansas. Aird being indebted and having subsequently failed, either sold or conveyed under a pretense of a sale certain town lots at Fort Smith, Arkansas, which he owned, and which had cost him, it seemed, $1,900, to one Spring. Spring paid him $1,200 in money, agreeing that Aird should have the use of two of the lots for one year free of rent, and with a privilege, so long as Spring did not desire to make any use of them himself or to sell them, of renting them at $100 a year -- the money paid being made less on account of this right to use the lots rent free for the year. Aird was at this time a single man, but was married directly afterwards and occupied the two lots from November 23, 1853, till the spring of 1856. Lukins, one of his creditors, now filed a bill against both Aird and Spring, alleging that the transaction was fraudulent in fact and in law and praying that the conveyance might be declared void and the property subjected to the claims of creditors. The court below, conceiving that the proofs established no fraud in fact, and apparently that the interest reserved was a part of the consideration, and not of great value, dismissed the bill. Lukins appealed, and the case was now here for review.