« ForrigeFortsett »
National Bank, and in addition gave a check drawn on the Capital City Bank for $1,161.74, the exact amount of the clearing house check which had been thrown out of the clearings.
Analyzing these facts for the purpose of arriving at the inferences which may reasonably be deduced from them, this plainly results: When on the morning of April 10, 1900, as the result of the failure of Reinhard & Company, the clearings of that day required revision, the clearing house having received back the checks drawn on Reinhard & Company which it had cleared for its members that morning: made new settlements with those members based upon deductions from the original settlements of the sum of the checks which had been put in the clearings on that morning and were afterwards dishonored. The result of each new settlement was that the amount due to the member was reduced or the indebtedness shown on the original settlement was increased, according as by the original settlement the member was a creditor of or a debtor in the clearing; and, as a nécessary consequence of the new settlements having eliminated all the clebits against Reinhard & Company, the clearing house held, as the property of that firm, the proceeds of the checks on other banks which that firm had sent for clearing on that morning.
The statements of the manager as to what was done with the clearing house check which had been put in the clearings by the City Deposit Bank are not perfectly clear. In one aspect he returned that check to the City Deposit Bank as he had returned the other dishonored checks, and then gave to the City Deposit Bank a check for the amount due it on the revision of the clearing ($3,714.24), and also delivered a check for $1,161.74, to take up the dishonored clearing house check. In another aspect the same result was brought about without any return of the dishonored check. The mere form of the transaction, however, does not affect its nature. The payment out of this fund by the manager, in part to the City Deposit Bank and in part to another bank, therefore amounted simply to
this, that in the revision of the clearings, although the clearing house eliminated, and returned the checks which had been debited against Reinhard & Company, and were subsequently dishonored, it retained and appropriated the credits arising from the checks put in by Reinhard & Company for the purpose of the clearing of the morning. Having thus appropriated those credits, it used them pro tanto to pay the clearing house check on Reinhard & Company held by the City Deposit Bank as the result of the clearings of the previous day. But as the clearing house had received the checks from Reinhard & Company on the morning of April 10, 1900, for the purpose of making the clearing on that day, such agent was without power, after returning to the banks which had presented the same, the checks debited against the firm, to hold on to the credits of Reinhard & Company, and treat them as subject to be appropriated. Indeed when the inferences from the proof are thus accurately fixed it is apparent that the transaction was in substance like the one which was held by this court in Yardley v. Philler, 167 U. S. 344, to be a misappropriation and besides to constitute a fraudulent preference within the meaning of the National Banking Act.
The result, however, of the proof would not be different, even if it be conceded that under the rule, as to clearings, which we have quoted, the clearing house would have had the power, upon the default of one of its members, simply to call upon the other members to pay in a pro rata proportion of the amount of the check or checks which had been drawn upon the defaulting member, and to treat the credit standing in the clearing in favor of the defaulting member as belonging proportionately to the contributing members. We say this because even under such hypothesis the clearing house check held by the City Deposit Bank would not have been entitled to so participate. That check was the result of the clearings of the previous day, and, under the hypothesis as to the meaning of the rule in which we have indulged, the holder was only entitled to obtain payment, pro rata, from those who had presented checks
Opinion of the Court.
against Reinhard & Company in the clearing wherein the check was given.
200 U. S.
Was the receipt and appropriation of the $1,161.74 by the City Deposit Bank a preference within the bankruptcy law is, then, the question. It is said that it was not, because to constitute a preference under that law the transfer or payment must have been the act of the bankrupt. Western Tie & Timber Co. v. Brown, 196 U. S. 502. Here it is insisted that it cannot be so held, because there was nothing in the proof warranting the implication that the firm authorized or ratified the misappropriation or that the clearing house was the agent of the firm when it made such misappropriation. The latter proposition rests on the contention that whatever agency the association possessed in virtue of its authority to make clearings was revoked by the fact of the voluntary assignment made by Reinhard & Company before the money was appropriated to the City Deposit Bank. Whilst it may be conceded that these propositions are well founded, it does not follow that the inferences deducible from the evidence did not warrant the conclusion that under the bankrupt law of the United States there was a duty on the part of the City Deposit Bank to pay over to the trustee the sum received by it of the funds of Reinhard & Company deposited on April 10, 1900, with the clearing house for the purposes of the clearing of that date. From the inferences which we have stated were properly deducible from the evidence, it follows that the jury would have been amply justified in finding that the clearing house had made a wrongful disposition of a trust fund in favor of the City Deposit Bank, which institution had notice, either actual or constructive, of the misappropriation. Western Tie & Timber Co. v. Brown, supra.
We interpret the certificate of the Supreme Court of Ohio as establishing that that court did not rest its affirmance of the judgment rendered by the trial court against the trustees upon the mere technical ground that the petition counted upon a voidable preference, and there could not be a recovery unless
the facts constituted such preference, even although the evidence justified the inference that the money which the City Deposit Bank received from the clearing house association, under the circumstances we have stated, was the property of Reinhard & Company, which the bank by operation of the bankrupt law was obliged to account for to the bankrupt esstate. We so conclude, because the Supreme Court of Ohio not only certified that its decision "was adverse to the claims and contentions of the said plaintiffs in error, in this, that said court decided that said assignment and transfer of said sum of $1,161.74 was not an unlawful preference, in violation of the said provisions of the bankrupt law," but in addition, moreover, certified that the case was decided against the trustees, because under the facts proved the trustee "was not deprived of any right under said (bankrupt) law, and was not entitled to have said assignment and transfer set aside, and to recover the said sum of $1,161.74 from said defendant in error." The judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio must be reversed and the cause be remanded to that court for further proceedings, not inconsistent with this opinion.
RECTOR v. COMMERCIAL NATIONAL BANK.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OHIO.
No. 138. Submitted December 12, 1905.-Decided February 19, 1906. Rector v. City Deposit Bank, ante, p. 405, followed.
THE facts are stated in the opinion.
Mr. D. F. Pugh and Mr. Fred C. Rector for plaintiff in error.
Mr. F. F. D. Albery for defendant in error.
Opinion of the Court.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.
This case is governed by the principles which controlled the decision just announced in the case of the same plaintiff in error against the City Deposit Bank Company, No. 137.
In the trial court judgment was prayed for $970.45, on the ground that on April 10, 1900, that amount of money, the property of Reinhard & Company, had been by that firm transferred to the defendant in error, and that the transaction constituted a voidable preference. The answer was in substance a general denial of the allegations of the petition in the particulars just stated.
The case was submitted to the court upon the pleadings and the following agreed statement of facts:
"For ten years or more prior to April 10, 1900, Reinhard & Company kept an open account with the Commercial National Bank, depositing their outside items on places where they had no correspondent, for the purpose of saving themselves the exchange or collection charges on some of these items. The balance with the Commercial National Bank on the morning of April 10, 1900, was ten hundred and sixty-seven and 76-100 dollars ($1,067.76). On that morning John G. Reinhard came to the Commercial National Bank with Reinhard & Company's draft on New York for two thousand ($2,000.00) dollars, for which the Commercial National Bank gave him the currency. This money was used by Reinhard & Company to pay checks drawn on them, and was paid out over their counter on April 10 to their customers.
"At 12.15 o'clock, P. M., on said day, Reinhard & Company, a partnership, composed of John G. Reinhard and Henry A. Reinhard, said partnership and each of said partners being then insolvent, filed a deed of assignment in the probate court of Franklin County, Ohio, and at about the same hour and afternoon of said day their banking house was closed, at the same time each of said partners filed deeds of assignment.
"The following day a petition was filed in the District Court