The history of this legislation is interesting. Similar acts are in force in many jurisdictions,

but their validity has in several instances been subjected to vigorous attack. In fact an earlier New York statute which, except for being held to apply to merchants only, was identical to the present act, was declared unconstitutional on the two distinct grounds that it limited the liberty to contract and denied to merchants the equal protection of the laws. Wright v. Hart, 182 N. Y. 330, 75 N. E. 404. Other states, however, held such statutes unconstitutional solely on the ground that a special small class was benefited. McKinster v. Sager, 163 Ind. 671, 72 N. E. 854; Off & Co. v. Morehead, 235 Ill. 40, 85 N. E. 264. When such statutes therefore were amended to a form similar to that of the present New York statute, limiting the effect of the act to no special class, they were upheld in the very jurisdictions which formerly condemned them. Hirth, Krause Co. v. Cohen, 177 Ind. 1, 97 N. E. 1; Johnson v. Beloosky, 263 III. 363, 105 N. E. 287. except in Utah, such an act is uniformly he objectionable. Lemieux v. Young, 211 U. S. 489; Kidd, Dater & Price Co. v. Musselman Grocery Co., 217 U. S. 461; Squire Co. v. Tellier, 185 Mass. 18, 69 N. E. 312; McDaniels v. J. J. Conelly Shoe Co., 30 Wash. 549, 71 Pac. 37; Kett v. Masker, 86 N. J. L. 97, 90 Atl. 243. But see Block v. Schwartz, 27 Utah 387, 76 Pac. 22. The objection that this is class legislation seems accordingly to be effectively silenced, but the New York court had also decided that it unduly limited the right to contract. In order to uphold the validity of the present act, therefore, the court was forced to reverse itself, which it very frankly did.



[ocr errors]

CORPORATIONS · RIGHT OF TRUSTEE IN BANKRUPTCY AGAINST TRANS FEREE OF STOCK ISSUED FOR OVERVALUED PROPERTY “ACTUAL FRAUD" CONTRACT BY CORPORATION TO BUY BACK THE STOCK. — A., B. and C. were the incorporators of a company with a capital stock of $60,000, promoted by A., B., C. and D. Stock to the par value of $21,900 was issued as fully paid up to A. and B. in return for a secret process received from them. Neither A., B., C. nor D. believed the process to be worth $21,900 at the time; but all of them believed the corporation could pay dividends on the total capital stock. D. contracted to buy of A. and B. 300 shares, or half the capital stock, for $15,000, reserving an option to return the shares and receive the money back at any time. After paying in $13,600, he exercised the option and the corporation executed a mortgage to him to secure the indebtedness. The trustee in bankruptcy petitioned to have the mortgaged property applied to the payment of the general creditors who had become such after D. filed his mortgage. Held, that the property could not be applied to their benefit. Durant v. Brown, 236 Fed. 609.

For a discussion of the case, see Notes, P. 503.

DIVORCE – ALIMONY - REFUSAL TO PAY ALIMONY PUNISHED AS CONTEMPT. - In divorce proceedings, the court ordered the husband to pay alimony pendente lite. On his failure to pay he was ordered to show cause why he should not be committed for contempt. He answered that he had no property and was unable to procure employment. After jury trial with verdict finding the defendant guilty of contempt, an order of commitment was made from which the defendant appeals. Held, that the commitment was proper. Fowler v. Fowler, 161 Pac. 227 (Okla.).

The Oklahoma constitution expressly forbids imprisonment for debt. OKLA. Const., Art. 2, § 13. The obligation to pay alimony is an expression of a social duty, and that it is not a debt is shown by the fact that the amount may be varied in the discretion of the court granting it. Cox v. Cox, 3 Add. Ecc. 276. See Amos v. Amos, 4 N. J. Eq. 171; Moe v. Moe, 39 Wis. 308. As a result the great weight of authority is to the effect that commitment for failure to pay alimony is not imprisonment for debt. Andrew v. Andrew, 62 Vt. 495, 20 Atl.


817; Wightman v. Wightman, 45 Ill. 167; Chase v. Ingalls, 97 Mass. 524. Contra, Coughlin v. Ehlert, 39 Mo. 285; Steller v. Steller, 25 Mich. 159. Cf. Haines v. Haines, 35 Mich. 138. See Murray v. Murray, 84 Ala. 363, 4 So. 239; 11 Harv. L. REV. 552. Granting that imprisonment for failure to pay alimony is constitutional, some cases hold that a court of equity is without power to punish a defendant for failure to pay alimony. Ex parte Todd, 119 Cal. 57, 50 Pac. 1071; Messervy v. Messervy, 85 S. C. 189, 67 S. E. 130. However, the objection does not rest in lack of power, but rather in the practical difficulty of requiring a person to find work while imprisoning him during the period in which he is supposed to find it. Webb v. Webb, 140 Ala. 262, 37 So. 96. But the application of pressure in such a case will often energize a defendant without ambition, or bring a contumacious one to terms. So the balance of convenience would seem to favor commitment in this class of cases. Lester v. Lester, 63 Ga. 356; Lansing v. Lansing, 41 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 248.

DUTY OF CARE — TRESPASSERS - MISFEASANCE AND NONFEASANCE MORAL Duty. — Plaintiff's intestate, while riding as a trespasser on the top of a freight car of a railroad company, was struck by a wire of the defendant company, which a storm had caused to sag so low as to endanger the safety of all persons on cars of that character and which the defendant had failed to repair. As a result he was thrown to the ground and killed. There was evidence tending to show that the defendant was a trespasser in carrying its wires over the railroad company's line. Held, that the plaintiff may recover. Ferrell v. Durham Traction Co., 90 S. E. 893 (N. C.).

As the deceased was a trespasser and the death was occasioned by a mere condition of the premises, it seems clear that no recovery could be had against the railroad company. See Jeremiah Smith, “Landowners' Liability to Children,” 11 Harv. L. REV. 349. Now a landowner, or those claiming under him, may recover from one having a right to use the premises for nonfeasance as to a condition of the premises over which he has been given control. Hawkin v. Shearer, 56 L. J. (Q. B.) 284. Cf. Elliott v. Roberts & Co., 32 Times L. R. 478. See 30 Harv. L. REV. 186. So it would seem, on a doctrine akin to estoppel, that recovery might also be had from a trespasser under similar circumstances. Hence, in the principal case, if the deceased had been an employee of the railroad company, the defendant would be liable. But, as both the deceased and the defendant were trespassers upon the premises of another, its liability must be determined upon elementary principles. Where there is foreseeability of danger to others, one must modify his conduct accordingly. See Garland v. B. & M. R. Co., 76 N. H. 556, 86 Atl. 141. So if the death had been caused by a continuously active force, such as electricity, the defendant would be liable. See 28 Harv. L. Rev. 818. But here there was no action by the defendant; its liability, if any, must be founded upon nonfeasance. But there was no legal relation between the defendant and the deceased from which a duty to act would arise. It would seem that the case is another instance of liability founded upon moral duty. See 30 HARV. L. REV. 289. But it is of especial significance, as hitherto the so-called “humanitarian doctrine” has been applied only to railroads and other inherently dangerous instrumentalities.

EVIDENCE OPINION EVIDENCE NON-EXPERT OPINION AS TO AGE. — In a prosecution for selling liquors to minors, non-expert witnesses were allowed to give their opinions, based upon the appearance of the vendees, that the vendees were under eighteen years of age. Held, that the evidence was improperly admitted. State v. Koettgen, 99 Atl. 400 (N. J.).

Whether appearance may be used to prove age, is a matter to be determined, like all questions of relevancy, by a balance of convenience; the probative value of the evidence must outweigh any tendency to prejudice or confuse the jury. Clearly the probative value of the appearance of a grown person is high — the counterbalancing tendencies are slight. Accordingly, the courts usually allow the jury to consider the appearance of the person whose age is in question. Commonwealth v. Hollis, 170 Mass. 433,49 N. E.632; State v. Thomson, 155 Mo. 300, 55 S. W. 1013. See WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, § 222. Contra, Ihinger v. State, 53 Ind. 251. But the fact that appearance is clearly relevant is not decisive of the question whether opinion of non-experts based upon appearance is competent. The general rule for the admission of non-expert opinion is that the facts upon which it is based must be such that they cannot adequately be described to the jury, and they must be such as can be readily comprehended by an ordinary observer. See Commonwealth v. Sturtivant, 117 Mass. 122, 133; WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, S 1924. Such testimony is really a necessary summary of facts. Under this rule, non-experts have been allowed to give their opinions that a person was insane, or scared, or intoxicated, or even that a spot was made by blood. Connecticut Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Lathrop, 111 U. S. 612; State v. Ramsey, 82 Mo. 133; People v. Eastwood, 14 N. Y. 562; Greenfield v. People, 85 N. Y. 75. Opinion as to age, based on appearance, meets these conditions, and so most courts have admitted it. State v. Bernstein, 99 Iowa 5, 68 N. W.442; Jones v. State, 32 Tex. Cr. App. 108, 22 S. W. 149. Cf. Commonwealth v. O'Brien, 134 Mass. 200. See Elsner v. Supreme Lodge, 98 Mo. 640, 645, 11 S. W.991, 992; WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, 1974. Contra, Marshall v. State, 49 Ala. 21. Moreover, the application of the rules governing this sort of evidence should rest in the discretion of the trial court, and its decision ought not, ordinarily, to be reversed by a reviewing court. See THAYER, PRELIMINARY TREATISE ON EVIDENCE, 516.

EVIDENCE TESTIMONY OF PARTIES IN SUIT FOR DIVORCE - MUTUAL CORROBORATION. - In a suit for divorce on the ground of adultery, the petitioner testified to the fact and another witness testified to a full confession by the respondent. By the settled law of the state neither the uncorroborated confession of the defendant nor the uncorroborated testimony of the petitioner is sufficient to warrant a decree. Held, that a divorce cannot be granted on mutual corroboration. Garrett v. Garrett, 98 Atl. 848 (N. J.).

The law of the state in the principal case that a decree of divorce will not be granted upon the uncorroborated testimony of the petitioner is supported by numerous other jurisdictions. Reid v. Reid, 112 Cal. 274, 44 Pac. 564; Grover v. Grover, 63 N. J. Eq. 771, 50 Atl. 1051. See MINN. GEN. STAT. 1913, $ 8465. See 3 WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, $ 2046. Contra, Baker v. Baker, 195 Pa. St. 407, 46 Atl. 96. So likewise the rule that a decree will not ordinarily be granted upon the uncorroborated confession of the respondent has much support. Betts v. Betts, 1 Johns. Ch. (N. Y.) 197; Kloman v. Kloman, 62 N. J. Eq. 153, 49 Atl. 810. See 3 WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, $ 2067. But it cannot be laid down as either logically or legally impossible that two pieces of evidence, either insufficient alone, should be mutually corroborative. See Joy, EVIDENCE OF ACCOMPLICES, 100 ff. Whether mutual corroboration is equivalent to corroboration aliunde must depend upon the reason why corroboration is required in each case. The requirement that the petitioner's testimony be corroborated is merely a survival, in large part, of the ancient rule of the Roman and Canon law that more than one witness is necessary to prove any fact. See 3 WIGMORE, EVIDENCE, 88 2032, 2046. Therefore, since the respondent is a second witness, his confession is sufficiently corroborative. But the reason for refusing to grant a decree on the uncorroborated confession of the respondent is more than merely quantitative; it is the danger of collusion. It should not be within the power of the parties to sever the marriage relation at will. Holland v. Holland, 2 Mass. 154. Corroboration by the petitioner cannot, therefore, satisfy this rule. And, since both rules must be satisfied to warrant a decree, the decision in the principal case must follow. Such is the conclusion reached in other cases. Johnson v. John


son, 182 S. W. 897 (Ark.); Rie v. Rie, 34 Ark. 37; Hayes v. Hayes, 144 Cal. 625, 78 Pac. 19. But if the confession is made in open court the danger of collusion is lessened. So some courts have held that the petitioner's testimony is then sufficient corroboration. Smith v. Smith, 119 Cal. 183, 48 Pac. 730; Hague v. Hague, 95 Atl. 192 (N. J.).

FEDERAL COURTS - JURISDICTION BASED ON DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP INTERPLEADING A CLAIMANT WHO IS A CITIZEN OF THE SAME STATE AS THE PLAINTIFF. - The plaintiff bank, a New York corporation, was sued for a deposit, in a federal court, by a New Jersey corporation. The plaintiff, thereupon, brought a bill in the nature of an interpleader in the same court, praying that two citizens of New York and a New York corporation, claimants for the same fund, interplead in the suit. The original claimant contended that the bill, if all d, would eprive the court of its jurisdiction, which was based on diversity of citizenship. Held, that the bill be granted. Sherman Nat. Bank v. Shubert Theatrical Co., 56 N. Y. L. J. 1087 (Dist. Ct., S. D., N. Y.).

Diversity of citizenship, sufficient to create federal jurisdiction, is only achieved when all parties plaintiff are citizens of different states from all parties defendant. Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 3 Cranch (U. S.) 267. Yet actions may be“controversies between citizens of different states,” even though parties not from different states are, at various times, involved in the determination of the suit. Thus, a bill to set aside a fraudulent conveyance which would, if unhampered, defeat an original decree over which the federal court had jurisdiction has been sustained without regard to the citizenship of the parties. Hobbs Mfg. Co. v. Gooding, 164 Fed. 91. See 22 Harv. L. Rev. 304. So any proceeding which may be truly considered ancillary to an original proceeding, in which the court has jurisdiction, has been held maintainable without reference to citizenship. Root v. Woolworth, 150 U. S. 401. See New Orleans v. Fisher, 180 U. S. 185, 196. It is true that from the point of view of the old chancery courts, any bill to enjoin a suit at law was an original bill. The federal courts, however, regard such as merely supplementary to the original suit. Freeman v. Howe, 24 How. (U. S.) 450, 460; Minnesota Co. v. St. Paul Co., 2 Wall. (U.S.) 609, 633. But an interpleader involves not alone an injunction

- it involves the determination of the true owner of the claim. Can it be said that the determination of whether two strangers to the original suit are the owners of the claim, even though it involves the determination of whether the original claimant is the owner or not, is truly ancillary to the original proceeding? An early case has so held without discussion. Stone v. Bishop, 4 Cliff.

4 (U. S.) 593. While the result may be desirable, the logic is not conclusive.

INJUNCTIONS — ACTS RESTRAINED PUBLICATION OF PHOTOGRAPH WHEN EXCLUSIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRIVILEGES HAVE BEEN GRANTED TO ANOTHER. The promoters of a dog show purported to assign the sole photographic rights in connection with the show to the plaintiffs. The defendants who had knowledge of the concession took photographs of the show and published them in their magazine. The plaintiffs seek an injunction restraining the further publication of the photographs. Held, that the injunction do not issue. Sports & General Press Agency v. "Our DogsPublishing Co., (1916) 2 K. B. 880.

It is generally recognized that the literary or artistic producer has a property right in his creations. After publication such right may be protected only by copyright. Pierce-Bushnell Co. v. Werckmeister, 72 Fed. 54. But before publication, the common law will recognize and protect original literary and artistic property. So the right of a professor to restrain the publication of lectures orally delivered in his classroom, has been established. Caird v. Sime, L. R. 12 A. C. 326. An author has a similar property in his composition. Millar v. Taylor, 4 Burr. 2303, 2315; Palmer v. De Witt, 47 N. Y. 532; Macklin v. Richardson, Amb. 694. The same is true of an artist and his paintings. Prince Albert v. Strange, 2 De G. & Sm. 652, 1 Mac. & G. 25, 1 H. & T. 1; Turner v. Robinson, 10 Ir. Ch. 121, 510. Indeed, the publication of photographs taken of models grouped to imitate a painting has been enjoined at the petition of the artist. Turner v. Robinson, supra. Cf. Mansell v. Valley Printing Co., (1908) 2 Ch. 441. It would thus seem clear that in literary and artistic lines, not only are the productions themselves protected from imitation, but also the ideas which were their inspiration. In the principal case the plaintiff desires an injunction against the use of the inspiration (the dog show), produced here by physical labor and business acumen rather than by artistic thought, which caused the creation of his photographs. That the production itself, i. e., the photographs, partake rather of news than artistic achievement should not alter the rights of the parties. For the compilation of stock quotations has frequently been protected. Exchange Telegraph Co. v. Gregory, (1896] 1 Q. B. 147; Kiernan v. Manhattan Co., 50 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 194; Exchange Telegraph Co. v. Central News, (1897] 2 Ch. 48. It is difficult to see why a setting produced by labor should be entitled to less protection than one created in the mind. The case presents no difficulties on the problem of publication, for an exhibition like that in the principal case has not been deemed sufficiently public to deprive the promoters of their common-law right. Turner v. Robinson, supra; Macklin v. Richardson, supra. Nor is the assignability of the right contended for questioned. Exchange Telegraph Co. v. Gregory, supra.




JUDGMENTS FOREIGN JUDGMENTS — EQUITABLE DECREE AS A CAUSE OF ACTION IN ANOTHER STATE. — The plaintiff sued for a divorce from her husband, one of the present defendants, in Illinois, where they were both domiciled. The court granted the divorce and entered a decree directing the payment of $4000 alimony, “to be satisfied by the conveyance" of certain land in Wisconsin. He conveyed to the other defendants, who had notice. She brings this suit in Wisconsin upon the Illinois decree to set aside this conveyance and to have the land conveyed to herself. The defendants demur. Held, that the demurrer be overruled. Mallette v. Carpenter, 160 N. W. 182 (Wis.).

A decree to convey land in a foreign jurisdiction when based on a prior equity in the land, has been held a binding adjudication of the facts to which full faith and credit are due. Dunlap v. Byers, 110 Mich. 109, 67 N. W. 1067; Burnley v. Stevenson, 24 Ohio St. 474. See Winn v. Strickland, 34 Fla. 610, 630, 16 So. 606, 612. The Supreme Court, however, is apparently of the opinion that no decree for the conveyance of foreign land is within the full faith and credit clause. See Fall v. Eastin, 215 U. S. 1. For otherwise a foreign court would determine title to domestic land. See Bullock v. Bullock, 52 N. J. Eq. 561, 565-67, 30 Atl. 676, 677-78; 25 Harv. L. REV.653, 654. According to either view the decree in the principal case is ineffective, for the order to convey is not an adjudication of prior equities in the land, but only a method of satisfy. ing an unrelated judgment. Bullock v. Bullock, 52 N. J. Eq. 561, 570, 30 Atl. 676, 679; Fall v. Fall, 75 Neb. 104, 106 N. W. 412, 75 Neb. 120, 113 N. W. 175. Nor could the Winconsin court accept the Illinois decision, though not compelled to, on the ground that it has undoubtedly indicated the best method of satisfying the judgment for alimony. For the method of execution that follows a breach of a right is a matter to be determined by the law of the forum. Nevertheless, although the principal case is technically wrong, the result is substantially right. For, though the decree to convey Wisconsin land is ineffective in Wisconsin, the Illinois decree for the payment of $4000 is nevertheless binding. Sistare v. Sistare, 218 U. S. 1, 11-17; Bullock v. Bullock, 57 N. J. L. 508, 31 Atl. 1024. So the conveyance to the codefendants may be set aside as in fraud of creditors. Weeks v. Hill, 88 Me. III, 33 Atl. 778. See Wolford v. Farnham, 47 Minn. 95, 97, 49 N. W. 528, 529.


« ForrigeFortsett »