Rosenthal v. Walker,
111 U.S. 185 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rosenthal v. Walker, 111 U.S. 185 (1884)

Rosenthal v. Walker

Argued March 21, 1884

Decided March 31, 1884

111 U.S. 185


Where an action by an assignee in bankruptcy is intended to obtain redress against a fraud concealed by the party, or which from its nature remains secret, the bar of the statute of limitations, Rev.Stat. § 5057, does not begin to run until the fraud is discovered. Bailey v. Glover, 21 Wall. 343, cited and affirmed. Wood v. Carpenter, 101 U. S. 135, and National Bank v. Carpenter, 101 U. S. 567, distinguished.

It is competent, as tending to prove a fraudulent transfer of property in contemplation of bankruptcy, to show a prior valid sale from the bankrupt to the same party if it can be connected with evidence tending to show a secret agreement by which the bankrupt acquired an interest in the goods sold.

Evidence that a letter properly directed was put in the post office is admissible to show presumptively that the letter reached its destination, and if the party to whom the letter was addressed denies its receipt, it is for the jury to determine the weight of the presumption.

Proof that a bankrupt, when being examined respecting his property, refuses to answer questions on the ground that the answers might criminate him, as an indictment was pending against him for a criminal offense under the bankrupt laws, does not so put the assignee on inquiry as to fraudulent transfers of the bankrupt's property as to deprive him of the benefit of the rule respecting the statute of limitations laid down in Bailey v. Glover, 21 Wall. 342, and affirmed in this case.

This was an action brought by the assignee of a bankrupt to recover the value of property alleged to have been fraudulently transferred by the bankrupt in violation of the provisions of the Bankrupt Act. The defendant below resisted the recovery

Page 111 U. S. 186

on the ground that the action was not brought within two years from the time when the cause accrued, and also on the merits. The plaintiff below replied as to the statute of limitations that the facts were fraudulently concealed, and that the suit was brought within two years after they came to his knowledge. Some exceptions were taken to the rulings of the court on the admission of evidence, all of which more fully

appear in the opinion of the Court. Verdict for the plaintiff. The defendant sued out this writ of error.

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