ADRIOAN LOAN &TRuBT CO.
v. TOLEDO, others.
((Jircuit Oourt, N.D., ,Ohio. December 6,1886.)
R.ur..ROAD CoMPANIEs-FoRECLOSURE OF MoRTGAGE-APPOINTING RECEIVE:Re.
Although there has been default in the payment of the interest coupons secured b:y & railroad mortgage, yet"if it appear that there is a fair and reasonable claIm by the defendant company, growing out of contemporaneous contracts, that the time oJ payment has been extended, or that the plaintiffs are precluded from relying on the default,-a receiver will not be appointed, until the court shall determine that the right of exists. The mere disagreements of the parties as to the management of the property furnish no foundation for the appointment of a receiver. That can only be done as an incident to some relief falling within the jurisdiction of the court in relation to the contracts of the parties. The appointment of a receiver simply to manage the property is not within the power of a court of equity.
SAME-MISMANAGEMENT OB' PROPERTY BY MORTGAGOR.
InEquity. On motion for the appointment of receivers. The defendant Brown, being largely interested in a railroad then undergoing foreclosure in this court, entered into negotiations in New York with the American Finance Company, J. B. Mason, and F. Jillson for the purpose of raising the money to re-establish the enterprise. These negotiations resulted in a contract between Brown and the American Finance Company whereby the hitter undertook, for certain considerations, to raise the necessary funds to relieve the property, reorganize it under a new company which should operate the road already built, connect it with another road near to it, secure certain terminal facilities, and extend it to the Ohio river. The scheme comprehended the issuance of stock and bonds at so much of eaeh per mile, a mortgage to secure the bonds, etc. Mason and Jillson agreed to lend the money immediately required to relieve the property from the pending suit to foreclose. This transaction, by what is called a tripartite agreement between Brown, the American Finance Company, and Mason and Jillson, took the form of a loan by the latter to Brown upon his notes, secured by the deposit as collateral, of his securities in the old company, to be substituted however by the securities in the new company when organized. In this way over $300,000 was realized in cash, and, the parties proceeded to carry out the scheme of reorganization. Brown went into control of the new enterprise, as it was contemplated he should, but subsequently the parties disagreed, and a struggle commenced for a control of the directory. Injunction suits were instituted, and Brown maintained his control, the bill charges, by fraudulent practices. This struggle depended upon a disputed right on each side to vote the collateral stock. Subsequently this bill was filed by the trustee in the mortgage, and asked the appointment of a receiver, and an injunction against negotiating any further bonds. It charges Brown and his assooiates with fraudulently obtaining control of the election
AMERICAN I.OAN & TRUST 00. t7. TOLEDO, C. & S. RY. 00.
for directorS',' with fraudulent traffic mismanagement in the interest of rival 'companies, with neglect to secure the terminal facilities and to extend the road; with misappropriation of the earnings, with making default in ,the. payment oftha interest coupons, and that he is wholly insolvent and unreliable. The answers of Brown and the company deny all these charges, set up counter-allegations of bad faith, and rely upon the contracts accompanying the mortgage to show that there has been under them no default in the payment of interest,:and cannot be until his' notes become due to Mason and Jillson. Numerous affidavits on both sides are filed relating to the management of the road and the conduct of the parties under these contracts. The case was heard before WELKERand HAMMOND, J J ., on a motion to appoint a receiver. S. A. Bowman and R. A. fla,rrison, for plaintiff. , Doyle if, Scott and, Burke, Ingersoll d; Sanders, for defendants. HA1lnrOND,J. The impressions made at the argument that this case does not present a state of, facts justifying the appointment of areceiver, have not been removed by a more careful consideration of the subject u,pon the elaborate printed briefs which have been filed. Undoubtep.ly there are cases where a court of equity may take hold of mortgaged property before default in the condition of the mortgage and pro,tect the security against impending danger from fraudulent but this is not: One of them. It would be intolerable to extend that principle so as to transfer to a court of equity every controversyover the management of mortgaged property, or to convert thosecoul'ts into the supervisors of the control of every corporation where property is pledged to secure its mortgage debts. Takeone feature of this case, dependent on the question whether it be wise to construcUhat extension of the railroad which was in contemplation of the parties to this mortgage and the other oontracts connected with it, as a simple ,example. That involves a matter of discretion in the judicious management of the property which properly belongs to the directors in charge of the company, and it is not the function of a court of equity to direct the exercise of that discretion upon any judgment of the court that the extension should or should not be made. The court, as to that, maybe no wiser than the directors, and the oomplainants no wiser than either. If loss occurs to the mortgagees from unwise action in that regard, it is one of the inevitable results of the mismanagement of property by its owners, and the remedy is not, certainly, t.() be found in .usurpations of control by the court, through a receiver or otherwise. But it is said the management is influenced improperly by the persuasive manipulations of a rival enterprise. This is a suspicion of bad faith thai may be well or ill founded, but we do not see why a court of equity should, even if it be true, assume to determine either tha,t the extension should or should not be made through the process v.29F.no.10-27
of appointing a reoeiver.and undertaking the control of the property. This is,anextension of the uses of courts beyond any reasonable liIl14 its,and'.a dangerous applioationof ,their power. Under that dootrine the whole business of building railroads might be readily committed to theconrts of eqnity, and in the end, perhaps, be more disastrously managed. But if it be conceded that a court of equity .should interfere for relief in such cases, it seems to us that the pro.per remedy would 6e by 81 ,bill either to resoind the oontract for the fraudulent breach of it, or else to compel its specific,performance, if, that were possible, This bill as originally construoted did not pray for any such relief or make any other appeal to the equitable considerationstbat govern t;herights. of the plaintiff in relation to its contracts with the defendants, It simply asked fOl' the appointment of a receiver who should manage the property and pay the mortgage debt according to the terms of the oontracts. It did not ask us. 1;0 complete the extension, or to execute the other stipulations of the contract, or to compel the defendant company to ,do so; nor did it ask to rescind· it,. nor yet to sell the road and foreclose the mortgage·. It seemed to proceed on the theory that it is the right of dissatisfied creditors to have a receiver whenever the management property does 'Dot suit them. We do not understand the law to be so. Whatever may be the powers 01 a .courtof eqoity to construct railroads or to manage them through receivers, inform at least, powers must be exercised as an adjunct to the jurisdiction of enforcing: some of the well understood equitable rights .of the parties in relation to their contracts, . There is no such branch of equitable jurisprudence. as the appointment of railroad reo ceivers for the managementoHhe property upon any and every disagreement of those interested as to the proper conduct of the business. It is not wonderful that creditors imagine they are entitled to such relief, nor that disappointed: speoulators suppose there is such a method of mitigating their losses or correcting their mistakes of contract, considering the strides that have been made in using the courts for suchscbemes; but the case must fall within some one of the depsrtmentsof equitable jurisprudence to entitle us to entertain it, whatever we may do after we get hold of it. On ihis suggestion of a defect in the bill the prayer was amended, and it now assumes the form of a bill to foreclose a mortgage upon default of payment of interest. Now, in this form, we cannot and should not proceed to rescind the contract, or to reform it, or to specifically execute it,or.to substitute .one board of directors for another, or .to give guidance to: the existing directory, or to transfer the management of the property to others who wouldlike to be in charge, or, indeed, t6 do anything concerning it-appointing a receiver in the mean time.... which the plaintiff would like to have done with it. We can only look at the suit as a bill to foreclose a mortgage, and nothing else, whatever the facts might, on a bill filed for some other purpose, justify. The difficnltyof maintaining any other relief than
AMERICAN r,OAN &I 'lRUST CO·.'I7.WJ,EDO, C. &: S. RY. CO.
to the alleged hatids is manifest in' re3ld.. ing allElgations of ',the: biltandthe oontractsofthe parties.. As a bill to foreclose a t;Ilo-rtga.ge the,circumstance' appears that, stantially, that not really the gro.undof complaint, but dissatisfaction with the management of the road,disappointment in not being able to control the directory, or further back, a ·realization that the contract may not be as wise asit was supposed to have been, nor as carefully guarded to secure the interests of plaintiff's beneficiaries, as, perhaps, it might have been. But it is plain that a court of equity will not on such grounds as those take control of the property,and manage it through a receiver. If plaintiff has been ovel'reachedhy fraud, possibly a bill to cancel the transaction would lie, possibly a bill to control the action of the company's directory, if there be any ground for that, but certainly not a bill to foreclose a mortgage not broken'in its conditions when the bill was filed. And, as to occurrences since, there have been filed affidavits and counter-affidavits concerning tbe non-payment of Brown's notes in New York, but they do not alter the situation, since, if anything can be asked because of these occurrences, they must be pleaded by amended or supplemental bill. This requirement of the case relieves us largely of the necessity of considering the force of the allegations of the bill in respect of any other relief than that which is asked, and confines us to those which are material to the subject of a foreclosure of the mortgage, and the determination of the dispute whether, as a fact, there has been such a breach of its conditions as entitles the plaintiff to a foreclosurQ, But before going to that we may say that, while we have the gener,al proposition that a court of equity will sometimes interfere by injunction to prevent a waste or destruction of the mortgaged property before the conditions of the instrument have been broken and a right to foreclose. accrued, it does not thereby result that the court will appoint a receiver to manage the property until the mortgage can be foreclosed. That would come to the assumption of the management by the court of all mortgaged property where there was deterioration or fear of it. But in this case it is sufficient to say that, aside from disagreements as to the best mode of managing the property, there,is no substantial charge of a waste of it; the controversy about the cross-ties, like the others, being a mere suggestion as to the better management of the affairs of the company, and at most too iusignificlltnt in its character to be applicable in support of this motion for a receiver. All this character of allegations in the bill amount to protests against the management of the company under its present and are such as a critical business judgment might make against the management of almost any railroad enterprise,-a mere conflict of opinions as to business operations. ' We come now to the question whether there has been a breach of the conditions of the so that the plaintiff is entitled to fore-
close it. It cannot be denied that the interest due upon the oouporis has been in default, and strictly according to the terms of the mortgage there has been a breach of its conditions. But there are other facts 'connected with this, which, if they do not excuse that breach and amount to an extension of payment of the conpons, certainly furnish abundant reason fora refusal by a conrt of equity to appoint a receiver pending the dispute whether the plaintiff is entitled to a foreclosure because of it. Indeed, iheveryexistence of a reasonabledispute as to whether the conditions of the mortgage have been broken is sufficient to cause the court to refuse a receiver; for one ought not, ordinarily, to be appointed unless the right of foreclosure is clear andindisputable, and this upon the generaiground that one lawfully and by the contract of parties in possession of the property should not be disturbed in that possession except in a clear of a right to do that. These railroad mortgages provide for this, as does that in this case, by enabling the bondholders to take possession, upon default, through a trustee; and while this is only cumulative to the remedy in equity, the existence of that provision in itself furnishes the main ground for the appointment of a receiver by the court on a bill to foreclose, for otherwise it is not an absolute right to dispossess the company. pending a bill to foreclose. It is generally done because this and of the mortgage, together with the fact that defaUlt itself evidences bad management and the necessity for a change of possession, justify it; but still the appointment of a receiver is not a matter of (J'Ourse in all cases upon a default and a bill to foreclose, nor if it appear that the company may e:x:cuse' the default, ortha plaintiff be estopped by contract' or otherwise from relying on it. There, other considl:1rations come into play, and the Murt should genel"ally not disturb the possession nntiithe right of foreclosure has been established at the hearing. It is, therefore, not only unnecessary, but improper, that on this motion, upon proof by affidavits and oounter-affidavits only, we should undertake to construethese contracts, and say now that the plaintiff is entitled to a foreclosure, and by consequence of that to a receiver, preliminary to a decree of sale and foreclosure. It is sufficient here to say that by reason pf,the stipulations of the tripartite agreement, it may be f!tirly claimed by defendants that no default has taken place by the mere failure to pay the coupons, but that under those stipulations the right of payment has been ex:tended by the plaintiff, olthose it represents.. The plaintiff denies this construotion, and says that the contracts taken all together do not mean tha.t; but we think the case presents a reasonable controversy over that point, arid; until it is settled,we· E\houldnot appoint It receiver.,particnlai'}y since the plaintiff may renew-the motion at any time if ,subsequently occurring facta have made it justifiable .to do so, and the order overruling this mo· tion will reserve to plaintiff the right to renew it·. ,Wecome to tbiseQnclQsionthe more l'eadilybe'causewe can seQ
A. & W. SPRAGUE MANUF'G CO. fl. HOYT.
froro the frame-work of this bill,the absence, of any prayer to foreclose,' the course of the .argulllent, and tlie whole case, that plaintiff was driven to assume. a righ t to foreclose as the best possible ground upon ",hich to predicate the demand for a receiver; the real objection being dissatisfaction with its contract, as subsequent events developed itsweakness, and its purpose and endeavor to escape the consequences of a. misadventure in getting control of the enterprise. Railof adventroad mortgages are sometimes used as an Urous speculation rather than a safe security for money advanced, and while the courts should use every possible endeavor to save to the utthe security, when properly called on to do so, they most the should not suffer themselves to become likewise an instrumentality of adventurous speculatora seeking to use the courts as weapons of offense in the warfare that goes on among themselves. Courts should be confined strictly to the domain of courts of law and equity engaged only in the busines of settling, according to the established rules of law and equity, the controversies that arise and. come within the workshop of jurisprudence, but not those that lie outside and within the arena of gladiatol'ial strllggles for business advantages and speculations. The plaintiff here does not like-arid perhaps is alarmed, possibly, not without cause, at-the conduct of their joint enterprise by the defendants; but that dislike and alarm do not furnish any solid basis of interference by a court to appoint a receiver to quiet that alarm. We cannot look only to the mortgage, and shut our eyes to the other contracts and transactions between the parties from ;.vhich it appears that they, were joint adventurers in an enterprise of which this mortgage contains only a part of the agreements and stipulations. Looking at thero all, we do not find that the plaintiff is certainly now entitled to foreclose the mortgage, and to a receiver pending that foreclosure. Motion denied.
Co. and another
(Oirtntit OO'Urt, D. Oonnecticut
PARTNERsHIP-PARTNERSHIP PROPERTy-TITLE II!i PARTNER-HEIRS SUBJECT TO PARTNERSIItP TRUST. "