Green v. Van Buskirk,
72 U.S. 307 (1866)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Green v. Van Buskirk, 72 U.S. 5 Wall. 307 307 (1866)

Green v. Van Buskirk

72 U.S. (5 Wall.) 307


1. Where personal property is seized and sold under an attachment or other writ issuing from a court of the state where the property is, the question of the liability of the property to be sold under such writ must be determined by the law of that state, notwithstanding the domicil of all the claimants to the property may be in another state.

2. In a suit in any other state growing out of such seizure and sale, the effect of the proceedings by which it was sold, with title to the property, must be determined by the law of the state where those proceedings were had.

3. The refusal of the state court in which such suit may be tried to give

Page 72 U. S. 308

to the proceedings of the court under which the property was sold the same effect in their operation upon the title as they have by law and usage in the state where they took place constitutes a proper case for review in this Court under the twenty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act.

The Constitution of the United States declares (Section 1, Article IV) that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state and that Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Under the power here conferred, Congress, by act of 1790, [Footnote 1] provides that records, authenticated in a way which it prescribes, shall "have such faith and credit given to them in every other court of the United States, as they have by law or usage in the court from which they are taken."

With this provision of the Constitution and this law in force, Bates, being the owner of certain iron safes at Chicago, in the State of Illinois, on the 3d day of November, 1857, executed and delivered, in the State of New York, to Van Buskirk and others, a chattel mortgage of them. On the 5th day of the same month, Green caused to be levied on the same safes a writ of attachment, sued by him out of the proper court in Illinois against the property of Bates. The attachment suit proceeded to judgment, and the safes were sold in satisfaction of Green's debt. Van Buskirk, Green, and Bates, were all citizens of New York. Green's attachment was levied on the safes as the property of Bates, before the possession was delivered to Van Buskirk and before the mortgage from Bates to him was recorded and before notice of its existence.

Van Buskirk afterwards sued Green in the New York courts for the value of the safes thus sold under his attachment, and Green pleaded the proceeding in the court of Illinois in bar of the action. In this suit thus brought by him

Page 72 U. S. 309

in the New York courts, Van Buskirk obtained judgment, and the judgment was affirmed in the highest court of the State of New York. From this affirmance Green took a writ of error to this Court, assuming the case of fall within the twenty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act, which gives such writ in any case wherein is drawn in question a clause of the Constitution of the United States and the decision is against the title, right, or privilege specially set up. His assumption was that the faith and credit which the judicial proceedings in the courts of the State of Illinois had by law and usage in that state, were denied to them by the decision of the courts of New York, and that in such denial, those courts decided against a right claimed by him under the above-mentioned Section 1, Article IV, of the Constitution, and the act of Congress of May 26, 1790, on the subject of it.

Page 72 U. S. 310

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