Casey v. Galli - 94 U.S. 673 (1876)
U.S. Supreme Court
Casey v. Galli, 94 U.S. 673 (1876)
Casey v. Galli
94 U.S. 673
1. When a national banking association is insolvent, the order of the Comptroller of the Currency, declaring to what extent the individual liability of the stockholders shall be enforced, is conclusive. Kennedy v. Gibson, 8 Wall. 498, cited and approved.
2. When his order is to collect an amount equal to the full par value of the stock, the suit by the receiver against the stockholder must be at law, and that amount will bear interest from the date of the order.
3. In such a suit, the stockholder is estopped from denying the existence or the validity of the corporation.
4. No authority other than that conferred by Congress is required to enable a bank existing under a special or a general state law to become a national banking association. The certificate of the Comptroller is conclusive as to the completeness of the organization under the act of Congress in a suit against a stockholder to enforce his liability, or a party upon his contract with the bank.
5. A plea is bad which sets up that the Comptroller has decided to pay a large amount of claims for which the bank is not responsible, and that, aside from these claims, there are means enough to meet the just liabilities of the bank.
This was an action at law, brought in this Court by the receiver of the New Orleans National Banking Association to enforce the individual liability of the defendant as a stockholder of that institution.
The defendant is a subject of the Kingdom of Italy, and its vice-consul at the City of Philadelphia.
By agreement, and in order to present for the consideration of the Court several of the grounds of defense, the defendant filed a demurrer to the declaration and also pleas in abatement, without reference to the order of pleading them, and subject to the future direction of the Court in disposing of them. The plaintiff joined in demurrer to the declaration, and demurred to the pleas in abatement, and the defendant joined in demurrer.
The questions thus presented by defendant's demurrer are:
1. Whether the proceeding to enforce the liability of the defendant should not be in equity, and not at law.
2. Whether to sustain the action at law it is sufficient to aver the necessity of enforcing the liability, and that such necessity has been declared by the Comptroller of the Currency without stating facts from which the Court can determine the necessity.
3. Whether the order by the Comptroller to collect from each stockholder the entire amount for which he is liable is conclusive upon the defendant without the allegation of any facts showing the amount which he is liable to contribute.
The questions raised by the plea in abatement are:
4. Whether a majority of the directors, with the authority of the owners of two-thirds of the stock of a state bank, can change its organization into that of a national banking association
without any authority given by the state law in its charter or otherwise to make the change.
5. Whether the certificate of the Comptroller is conclusive as to the organization and existence of the association.
The pleadings are set out in the opinion of the Court.