Blease v. Gerlington - 92 U.S. 1 (1875)
U.S. Supreme Court
Blease v. Gerlington, 92 U.S. 1 (1875)
Blease v. Gerlington
92 U.S. 1
1. Cases in equity come here from the circuit courts and the district courts sitting as circuit courts by appeal, and are heard upon the proofs sent up with the record. No new evidence can be received here.
2. So much of the Judiciary Act of 1789 as relates to the oral examination of witnesses in open court in causes in equity was not expressly repealed until the adoption of the Revised Statutes, sec. 86l of which provides that "the mode of proof in causes of equity and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction shall be according to the rules now or hereafter prescribed by the Supreme Court, except as herein specially provided."
3. While this Court does not say that even since the Revised Statutes, the circuit courts may not in their discretion, under the operation of existing rules, permit the examination of witnesses orally in open court upon the hearing of cases in equity, it does say that they are not now by law required to do so, and that if such practice is adopted in any case, the testimony presented in that form must be taken down, or its substance stated in writing and made part of the record or it will be entirely disregarded here on an appeal.
4. If testimony is objected to and ruled out, it must still be sent here with the record, subject to objection, or the ruling will not be considered. A case will not be sent back to have the rejected testimony taken, even though this Court might, on examination, be of opinion that the objection ought not to have been sustained.
5. As this cause is in equity, the Act of 1872, 17 Stat. 197; Rev.Stat., sec. 914, has no application to it.
6. Where a party, knowing the pecuniary condition of a debtor, purchased a claim against him of an ascertained amount, an opinion, however erroneous, expressed by the seller as to the value of the claim does not affect the validity of the sale. Under such circumstances, each party is presumed to rely upon his own judgment.