Browning v. De Ford,
178 U.S. 196 (1900)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Browning v. De Ford, 178 U.S. 196 (1900)

Browning v. De Ford

No. 245

Argued April 16-17, 1900

Decided May 21, 1900

178 U.S. 196


General creditors attaching the goods of an insolvent debtor upon the

ground that they had been purchased under fraudulent representations, when sued by chattel mortgagees of said debtor, may attack the mortgage by showing that the mortgagees knew that the goods had been fraudulently purchased.

This was an action in the nature of trover by the surviving partners of the firm of Henry W. King & Company, and four other creditors, as chattel mortgagees, against Charles H. DeFord, Sheriff of Oklahoma County, to recover the value of a stock of goods seized by the defendant and sold under writs of attachment issued against the property of the firm of W. F. Wolfe & Son in suits instituted by general creditors of that firm.

Defendant justified under these writs of attachment, and alleged that the indebtedness of each of the attaching plaintiffs was procured by W. F. Wolfe & Son by means of false and fraudulent representations as to their financial standing and credit, that the mortgage was executed by such firm in pursuance of a conspiracy between the firm and the mortgage creditors, who had knowledge of the fraudulent acts of the firm and knew that the mortgage was given with intent to hinder, delay, and defraud their general creditors, that the mortgage was neither given nor accepted in good faith for the purpose of securing a bona fide indebtedness, but that the indebtedness was in part, if not wholly, false, fictitious, and trumped up to suit the occasion, and that the real intent of Wolfe & Son in executing the mortgage was to place their property beyond the reach of their creditors.

The case was tried before a jury, and resulted in a verdict and judgment for the defendant, which was affirmed by the

Page 178 U. S. 197

supreme court of the territory, whereupon plaintiffs brought the case to this Court both by writ of error and appeal. Another suit in attachment brought by E. S. Jaffray & Co. against Wolfe & Son, in which the mortgage was set up as a defense and the facts were the same, also resulted in a judgment that the mortgage was fraudulent. Jaffray v. Wolfe, 4 Okl. 303.

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