Taylor v. Voss,
271 U.S. 176 (1926)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Taylor v. Voss, 271 U.S. 176 (1926)

Taylor v. Voss


Argued March 8, 9, 1926

Decided May 3, 1926

271 U.S. 176


1. The "controversies arising in bankruptcy proceedings" referred to in § 24a of the Bankruptcy Act include those matters arising in the course of a bankruptcy proceeding which are not mere steps in the ordinary administration of the bankrupt estate, but present, by intervention or otherwise, distinct and separable issues between the trustee and adverse claimants concerning the right and title to the bankrupt's estate. P. 271 U. S. 180.

2. In such "controversies," the decrees of the court of bankruptcy may be reviewed by appeals which bring up the whole matter and open both the facts and the law for consideration. P. 271 U. S. 181.

3. The "proceedings" in bankruptcy referred to in § 24b are those matters of an administrative character, including questions between the bankrupt and his creditors, which are presented in the ordinary course of the administration of the bankrupt's estate. In such administrative matters -- as to which the courts of bankruptcy proceed in a summary way in the final settlement, and distribution of the estate -- their orders and decrees may be reviewed by petitions for revision which bring up questions of law only. P. 271 U. S. 181.

4. The essential distinction between the different methods provided for reviewing the orders and decrees of the courts of bankruptcy is that "controversies" in bankruptcy proceedings, arising between the trustee representing the bankrupt and his creditors, on the one side, and adverse claimants, on the other, affecting the extent of the estate to be distributed, may be reviewed both as to fact and law, while "proceedings" in bankruptcy affecting merely the administration and distribution of the estate may be reviewed in matter of law only, except as to the three classes of such "proceedings" enumerated in § 25a, as to which a short right of appeal is given both as to fact and law. P. 271 U. S. 181.

5. Although a petition for revision cannot be treated as an appeal for the purpose of enlarging the scope of the review so as to extend to questions of fact, where a matter which is only reviewable in law is taken up by an appeal, the circuit court of appeals, if the question of law is sufficiently presented on the record, may treat

Page 271 U. S. 177

the appeal as a petition for revision, and dispose of it accordingly. P. 271 U. S. 182.

6. A petition filed by the trustee in the bankruptcy proceeding to determine an adverse claim to an interest in the bankrupt's real estate, based on the statutory rights of his wife, is a "controversy" which may be reviewed by appeal under § 24a of the Bankruptcy Act. P. 271 U. S. 182.

7. Section 4 of the Jurisdictional Act of 1916, providing that no appellate court "shall dismiss a writ of error solely because an appeal should have been taken, or dismiss an appeal solely because a writ of error should have been sued out," cannot be extended by implication to the special provisions of the Bankruptcy Act as to appeals and petitions for revision. P. 271 U. S. 182.

8. In a "controversy" in a bankruptcy proceeding, when the facts are undisputed or no longer in question, it is not necessary to resort to an appeal under § 24a, but the controlling questions of law may also be reviewed by a petition for revision under § 24b, whether they relate merely to the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court or to the merits of the controversy. P. 271 U. S. 182.

9. Such a review by petition for revision, is a concurrent remedy merely, and cannot, irrespective of any other limitation, be deemed an additional remedy which may be resorted to after the time for an appeal has expired. P. 271 U. S. 187.

10. The right of inheritance, free from demands of creditors, granted by Indiana Rev.Stats. (1881), §§ 2483, 2491, to a widow upon the death of her husband, remains contingent during his life, and cannot be held to mature at his bankruptcy upon the theory that the adjudication brings about his "civil death." P. 271 U. S. 187.

11. The adjudication of a husband as a bankrupt, followed by appointment of a trustee in bankruptcy, operates as a "judicial sale" of his real estate within the meaning of the Indiana Judicial Sales Act (Rev.Stats. 1887, §§ 2508, 2509) in virtue of which the wife's inchoate interest in his real estate (not exceeding §20,000) thereupon becomes absolute and free from the demands of creditors as, and to the extent, provided by §§ 2483-2491 in case of his death. P. 271 U. S. 188.

1 F.2d 149 reversed.

Certiorari to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which reversed, on a petition to revise, an order of the district court sustaining the claim of Taylor, a testamentary trustee of a bankrupt's deceased wife, to an

Page 271 U. S. 178

interest in her husband's real estate. The controversy was initiated by a petition filed in the bankruptcy proceedings by the trustee in bankruptcy, Voss.

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