Mead v. Thompson - 82 U.S. 635 (1872)
U.S. Supreme Court
Mead v. Thompson, 82 U.S. 15 Wall. 635 635 (1872)
Mead v. Thompson
82 U.S. 635
1. If a petition to the circuit court to reexamine a decree of the district court in bankruptcy pray the court to "review" and reverse that decree and "to grant such further order and relief as may seem just," the jurisdiction involved must be regarded as the supervisory jurisdiction which is allowed to circuit courts acting as courts of equity by the second section of the Bankrupt Act.
2. From the action of the circuit court in the exercise of such jurisdiction no appeal lies to this Court.
This was a motion of Mr. A. J. Parker, for John Thompson, a bankrupt, to dismiss two appeals by his creditors from a decree of the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York affirming a decree of discharge granted to him by the district court.
The case was thus:
The "Act to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States," approved March 2, 1867, which gives to the district courts exclusive original jurisdiction in matters of bankruptcy, enacts by its:
"SECTION 2. That the several circuit courts . . . within and
for the districts where the proceedings in bankruptcy shall be pending, shall have a general superintendence and jurisdiction in all cases and questions, arising under the act, and may . . . upon bill, petition, or other process of any party aggrieved hear and determine the case as a court of equity."
By the 8th section it is enacted:
"That appeals may be taken from the district courts to the circuit courts in all cases in equity, and writs of error may be allowed to said circuit courts in cases at law, under the jurisdiction created by this act, when the debt or damages claimed amount to more than $500; and any supposed creditor may appeal whose claim is wholly or in part rejected, or an assignee who is dissatisfied with the allowance of a claim."
And by the 9th section:
"That in cases arising under this act, no appeal or writ of error shall be allowed in any case from the circuit courts to the Supreme Court of the United States, unless the matter in dispute exceeds $2,000."
This act being in force, John Thompson applied to the District Court for the Southern District of New York to be discharged from his debts as a bankrupt. One E. F. Mead, and also the Merchants' Exchange National Bank, opposed his discharge. The district court, however, granted it. This was on the 14th June, 1869. On the 24th, following, Mead gave notice to the bankrupt that he thereby "appealed" to the circuit court from the decree of the district court granting the discharge. And on the 3d of July he entered into the usual bond (which on the same day was filed and served by a copy), reciting that whereas he had
"appealed to the circuit court &c., to reverse the decision rendered . . . by the judge of the district court &c., and the order entered thereupon in said court granting a discharge,"
and binding himself to "prosecute said appeal" to effect &c. On the 24th, he filed his petition to the circuit court, setting forth Thompson's application for a discharge, his (Mead's) opposition, setting forth also the "specification
of his objections to said discharge" -- a paper that had been put before the register in bankruptcy, and alleging fraudulent conveyances by Thompson of various items of property to his sons &c. -- representing that his (Mead's) debt, proved before the register, was more than $500, and praying the circuit judge
"to review the said decision and reverse the same . . . and decree that the said bankrupt is not entitled to his discharge . . . and for such further order and relief in the premises as to the court may seem just."
Similar proceedings, it was assumed, took place on the part of the Merchants' Exchange National Bank; though no petition appeared in the transcript of the record.
The petitions were heard together in the circuit court when, April 13, 1871, this order was there made:
"The petitions of E. F. Mead, by E. N. Taft, Esquire, his solicitor, and the Merchants' Exchange National Bank, by G. A. Seixas, Esquire, their solicitor, creditors of the said John Thompson, bankrupt, for a review of the order granted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on the 14th day of June, 1869, declaring said bankrupt forever discharged from all his debts, provable under the act of Congress entitled 'An act to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States,' approved March 2, 1867, having been brought to a hearing before this court, after hearing E. N. Taft and G. A. Seixas, in behalf of said creditors, respectively, and E. More, of counsel for said bankrupt, it is ordered and adjudged that the said order, entered in the said district court, declaring the said John Thompson, bankrupt, discharged from all his debts as aforesaid, be, and the same hereby is, in all things affirmed."
"L. B. WOODRUFF"
From this affirmation of the decree of discharge, Mead and the bank appealed to this Court, and their appeals it was that Mr. Parker moved to dismiss.