Laflin v. Herrington,
66 U.S. 326 (1861)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Laflin v. Herrington, 66 U.S. 1 Black 326 326 (1861)

Laflin v. Herrington

66 U.S. (1 Black) 326


The sheriff sold land under an execution against the representatives of the deceased owner, the heirs having a right to redeem in one year. The agent of the purchaser, within the year, assigned the certificate of sale to one of the heirs, who was acting for the rest, and who gave his note for the amount, but did not pay it at maturity. The transaction, though it was not approved, was not disaffirmed by the purchaser within the period allowed for redemption.

Held: that a person who bought the title of the original purchaser several years afterwards, when the land had greatly risen in value, could not recover it as against the heirs or their vendees.

Walter Laflin filed his bill in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois against the widow and heirs of James Herrington and the Illinois Central Railroad company, complaining that one William Stuart obtained judgment in the Circuit Court for Kane County, Illinois, 9 June, 1837, against James Herrington, for $646.72, and issued execution thereon within one year thereafter, which was returned by the sheriff nulla bona; that afterwards James Herrington died, leaving a widow and ten children, the defendants, the widow becoming his administratrix; that James Herrington died seized of certain described lands; that afterwards Stuart notified the administratrix of the judgment and of his intention to issue an alias execution; that he did issue such execution, levied upon the land, and after due advertisement it was sold to William H. Adams for $1,378.42; that Adams being a friend and relative of Stuart, made the purchase for him; that Augustus M. Herrington, one of the heirs of the deceased James Herrington, proposed to redeem the land for himself and the other heirs, but in order to overreach an outstanding title for a fractional interest, requested an assignment of the certificate of sale to be made by Adams; that Adams made an assignment with a blank for the name of the assignee, and instructed his attorney, Burgess, to deliver it to Herrington when the money was paid; that Herrington (though he knew that Adams had bought for Stuart) got the assignment

Page 66 U. S. 327

from Farnsworth, the partner of Burgess; that he got the paper by falsely representing that the land had been incorrectly described, and gave his notes for $2,378.42, payable to Burgess & Farnsworth, agreeing, that if the arrangement should not prove satisfactory to Stuart, it should be void, and the certificate, with the assignment, be returned to Farnsworth; that Adams repudiated the arrangement as soon as he heard of it, and wrote to Stuart, who immediately replied, expressing his disapproval in a letter which was read to Herrington before the expiration of the time for redemption; that afterwards, on the 9th of October, 1856, Adams sold and transferred the certificate of sale to Julius Smith, who, on the 20th of November, 1856, conveyed to the complainant; and that the heirs of Herrington in December, 1856, conveyed an undivided interest to the Illinois Central Railroad company. The bill prays that the defendants be required to deliver up the certificate of sale so that the assignment may be cancelled; that they be restrained by injunction from placing the certificate on record, from filling up the blank in the assignment, from making any claim to the lands, or from demanding a deed of the sheriff; that the sheriff be directed to make a deed to the complainant; that the defendants be decreed to have no title, and required to release all title which they may appear to have.

The facts, as they appeared from the answer and the evidence, are set forth in the opinion of Mr. justice Wayne too fully to need repetition here.

Page 66 U. S. 328

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