HALSTED V. STRAUS.
HALSTED and others v. STRAUS.
(Circuit CQurt, D. N(J'IJ) Jersey. October 5, 1887.}
ASSIGNMENT FOR BENEFIT OF CREDITORS-PREFERENCES.
Under the statute of New Jersey (Revision, p. 36,) declaring void all pref· in assignments for the benofit of creditors, an assignment for the benefit of creditors containing preferences, made in New York by a firm doing busmess in New business there, is not void agamst a firm of creditors York, one of whose members is a resident of New Jersey)
i Where 'one made an assignment for the benefit of creditors in New York, thes)Jbsequent attachment in New Jersey by a New York creditor of a debt owing to the assignor is not of itself a defense to an action by the assignee for the recovery oithe debt.
"2. SAME-ATTAOHMENT IN ANOTHER STATE.
attachment of a debt in New Jersey by a resident of New York·.after the execution in New York,. by the owner of the debt, of an assignment for the benefit 'of creditors, will not prevent the federal courts from entertaining a suit .by the assignee for the recovery of the debt. '
WiUi:amson & McCarter, for plaintiffs. R. 13yirtgtonand Edward M. Celie, for defendant.
Thilda an action of indebitatua a#umpBit, brought iby plaintiffs for the use of their assignee, J..ewis May, all citizens of New York, against Straus, a citizen of New Jersey. .The defendant in abatement that, before the bringing of this suit, debt sued for waS att!tched by writ of attachment issued out of the supreme court .-of NewJersey, at the suit of certain persons trading under the firm name .of Deering, Milliken ;&00;, (one of whom was a citizen of New Jersey, the others n<;>t,) creditors of Halsted, Haines & 00., the plaintiffs in suit; and that the attachment had gone to judgment by default .against the latter, and a scire facia8 against the defendant, to show cause why he should not pay the debt involved in this suit to the said plaintiffs in attachment. The plaintiffs replied that before the executi<:m of .said attachment Halsted, Haines & 00., who were doing business in .New York, .made a general deed of assignment of all their property and both partnership and personal, including the debt nQW in dispute, to the said Lewis May,ill trust for the creditors of said firm of Halsted, Haines & 00., and of the individual members of. said firm, in the manner and proportions set forth in said deed, which is fully set outin the replication; that May accepted said trust, and proceeded to execute the same; that the attachment referred to in the plea was issued to recover a debt incurred by Halsted, Haines & Co. in New York, where said firm of Deering, Milliken & Co. transacted business, and that they ha.ve never .()arriedon business in New Jersey. It appeared by: the deed of assign:plent set out in the, replication that the assignors made preferences in
lA voluntary general assignment for the benefit of creditors. if valid where, made, will be valid to ttansfer persolial property wherever situated, except as it conflicts with
.:the rights ofresident credi'tor.v Schuler v. Israel, 27 Fed. Rep. 851.
favor of certain of their creditors. The defendant demurred to this replication on the following grounds: (1) That the assignment was immaterial; the mere existepce of the attachment was sufficient to protect ihe defendant from paying the debt to Halsted, Haines & Co., or their assignee. (2) That the state court having assumed jurisdiction of the subject-matter. and impounded the debt by attachment, the federal couri will not entertain a suit for the same debt. (3) That the deed of assignment, not being for the equal benefit of all the creditors, is void in New Jersey as against Deering, Milliken &; Co., one of whose partners was a citizen of New Jersey. Taking up the last point first, it is trne that the statute of New· Jersey .declares that assignments in trust for the benefit of creditors shall qe for their equal benefit, in proportion to their several demands, and that all preferences, shall be deemed fraudulent and void. But this lawapplies only to New Jersey assignments, and not to those made in other states, which affect property or creditors in New Jersey. It has 'been distinctly' held by the courts of New Jersey that a voluntary assignment made by a non-resident debtor, which is valid by the law of the place where made, cannot be impeached in New Jersey, with regard to property situaied there, bynon-resident debtors. Bentley v. Whittemore,19 N. J. Eq. 462; Moore v. Bonnell, 31 N. J. Law, 90. The execution of foreign assignments inNew Jersey will be enforced by its courts as a matter of comity, except when it would injure its own citizens; then it will not. If Deering, Milliken & Co. were a New Jersey firm, they could successfully resist the execution of the assignment in this case. But they are not; they are a New York firm. New York is their business residence and domicile. The mere fact that one of the partners resides in New Jersey cannot alter the case. The New Jersey courts, in carrying out the pQlicy of its statute for the protection of its citizens, by refusing to carry into effect a valid foreign assignment, will be governed by reasonable rules of general jurisprudence; and it seems to me that to refuse validity to the assignment in the present case. would be unreasonable and uncalled for. As to the first point, that the mere existence of an attachment is a . sufficient defense against the payment of a debt. it seems to me that the defendant has' confounded things that are different. The attachment of the goods of A., orofa debt due to A. bya creditor of A., of course'protects the garnishee from delivering the goods or paying the debt to A. But if they are the goods of B., or the debt sought to be attached is due to B., and not to A., the attachment in such case is no excuse to the garnishee for not delivering to B. his goods, or paying to him his debt. The calling of the goods or debt A.'s, does not make them so,and does not bind B. in the slightest degree. It is an inbontrovertible rule of law that no man can take my property on the plea that it belongs to hillior to another against whom he has a process, without being liable to me in an action.for its recovery. If a sheriff takes it on execution or attachment againstanother, I may sue him in trespass or trover. 'Where there can be no actual taking, as the attachment or sequestration of a debt,
HICKS 11. BEARDSLEY.
my position is not changed by serv}c? of the w:it. I cannot, sue 'the officer, for he has taken nothmg belongmg to me; but nmther can he prevent me from suing my debtor. It is the latter's lookout to see that he does not have to pay the debt twice. And, as bearing on the second point, such a suit may be brought in a United States court as well as a state court, except when the suit is brought for goods in the hands of a state officer. In such a case, to prevent an unseemly conflict, the federal courts will not entertain j:urisdiction; nor, for the same reason, .will the state courts entertain jurisdiction of a suit for goods in the hands of a United States officer. . As to an attachment being a proceeding in rem, it is only suet. in a modified sense. A personal judgment cannot be obtained, but only a judgment that will affect the thing attached. Also, when goods are attached, they may be held by the officer to await the result of the litigation; and when debts and credits are attached, the debtor cannot pay them to the person who is defendant in attachment at the time the attachment is levied. In these respects, the proceeding is a proceeding in rem. But there is nothing in the nature of an attachment to prevent a man, who has nothing to with it, from recovering his goods or collecting his p.ebts against any person who is liable to him for them. Judgment will be entered for the plaintiffs.
HICKS 11. BEARDSLEY
(Oircuit Oourt, 8. D. Net/) York. September 21, 1887.)
PATENTS FOR INvENTIONS-INFRINGEMENT-PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION.
On motion for preliminary injunction to restrain the infringement of letters patent No. 126.347, granted to D. W. Thompson,ln 1872, for fire-kin dIers, held. that in view of the fact that in another action pending in another district of the same circuit. brought by complainant against the manufacturers from whom defendants obtain the article alleged to infringe. a similar motion had been made and denied. with leave to renew, and in view of the fact that defendants vigorously assail the validity of complainant's patent. the motion should be denied, with leave to renew when an injunction is obtained against the manufacturers.
Wm. H. King, for complainant. M. B. Andrus and Jamea A. Whitney, for defendants.
LACOMBE, J. The complainant moves for a preliminary injunction to restrain infringement ofacertain patent (No. 126,347) for fire-kindlers. The patent was granted to D. W. Thompson, in 1872, and assigned to complainant in August last, a few days befOl'e the bringing of this suit. Defendants do not manufacture the articles which it is claimed infringe the Thompson patent; they obtain them from one George S. Geer, against "hom complainant has a suit pending in the Northern district of this