127 US 484 Jenkins v. International Bank of Chicago

8 S.Ct. 1196

127 U.S. 484

32 L.Ed. 189


May 14, 1888.

[Statement of Case from pages 484-487 intentionally omitted]

W. T. Burgess, for plaintiff in error.

Geo. W. Smith, and A. M. Pence, for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice MATTHEWS, after stating the facts as above, delivered the opinion of the court.

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Section 5057 of the Revised Statutes provides that 'no suit either at law or in equity, shall be maintainable in any court between an assignee in bankruptcy and a person claiming an adverse interest, touching any property or rights of property transferable to or vested in such assignee, unless brought within two years from the time when the cause to action accrued for or against such assignee. And this provision shall not in any case revive a right of action barred at the time when an assignee is appointed.' It is contended by the plaintiff in error that the supreme court of Illinois erred in giving effect, in this suit, to the decree of February 28, 1878, in the Wilshire suit, as set up by the International Bank in its supplemental bill filed herein November 26, 1883, more than two years after July 31, 1878, when the assignee in bankruptcy succeeded to the title of the bankrupt, Walker. This contention is based upon the proposition that the filing of that supplemental bill in this proceeding was the commencement of a new suit against the assignee in bankruptcy by a person claiming an advers interest touching rights of property vested in him. This is the only federal question presented by the record. In support of this proposition, it is argued, on behalf of the plaintiff in error, that the supplemental bill set out, and sought a recovery upon, a cause of action distinct from that stated in the original bill. The original bill prayed for a decree against Walker upon his notes held by the bank, and for the satisfaction thereof a sale of the property held as security therefor. During the pendency of that bill precisely the same matters were put in issue in the Wilshire suit between Walker and the bank, and in that suit a decree was rendered finding the amount due. That decree in the Wilshire suit stands unreversed, and operates as an estoppel by way of res adjudicata between the parties. By way of proof or in pleading, it would be good as a bar in any subsequent suit between the same parties upon the same issues. Having been rendered after the institution of the present suit, it was competent for the complainant to bring it forward, by a supplemental bill, as conclusive evidence of the amount due, for which it was entitled to take a decree, and as a complete answer to the defense set up by the plaintiff in error, as the assignee of the bankrupt, to the relief prayed for in the original bill, and to the relief sought by the cross-bill. It was strictly new matter arising after the filing of the bill, properly set up by way of supplemental bill, in support of the relief originally prayed for. It can in no sense be considered as a new cause of action. It was not a bill to enforce the decree, nor was the complainant obliged to rely upon it as the sole ground of recovery, on the ground that the original cause of action had become merged in it. If the notes were merged in the decree, it was simply a change in the nature of the evidence to support the complainant's title to relief. The indebtedness remained the same, and the equity of the complainant to a foreclosure and sale of the securities remained unchanged. The statute of limitations, therefore, invoked by the plaintiff in error, has no application. This being the only federal question arising upon the record, and having, in our opinion, been decided correctly by the supreme court of Illinois, it is not within our province to consider any other question in the case. The judgment of the supreme court of Illinois is therefore affirmed.