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Opinion of the Court.
personally in any particular to comply with any laws of the order, present or future. The only failure was that of the secretary of the Section, who, to say the least, was as much the agent of the order as he was of Withers, although the latter is sought to be charged with his dereliction by a clause inserted in the general laws, long after the certificate was issued. The decisive consideration is this : Chadwick was the agent of the defendant, and of the defendant only, after the receipt of the money from Withers. Under section 10 he then became responsible for it to the Board of Control. In rendering his monthly accounts and paying over the money he acted solely for the defendant. From the time he paid the money to Chadwick the insured had no control over him, and was not interested in its disposition. Unless we are to hold the insured responsible for a default of this agent, which he could not possibly prevent, we are bound to say that his payment to this agent discharged his full obligation to the defendant. That it should have the power of declaring that the default of Chadwick, by so much as one day, and it did not exceed four days in this case, to pay over this money, should cause a forfeiture of every certificate within his jurisdiction, is a practical injustice too gross to be tolerated.
Without indorsing everything that is said in the cases above cited, we should be running counter to an overwhelming weight of authority, were we to hold that the agency clause should be given full effect regardless of other clauses in the certificate or the by-laws, indicative of an intention to make the officers of subordinate lodges agents of the supreme or central authority. We should rather seek to avoid as far as possible any injustice arising from a too literal interpretation, and only give the clause such effect as is consistent with the other by-laws and with the manifest equities of the case. We are, therefore, of opinion that in this case the secretary of the Section was in reality the agent of the Supreme Lodge from the time be received the monthly payments, and that the insured was not responsible for his failure to remit immediately after the tenth of the month.
We have not overlooked in this connection the case of Camp
Statement of the Case.
bell v. Knights of Pythias, 168 Mass. 397, in which a different conclusion was reached upon a similar state of facts. In that case plaintiff put his right to recover upon the theory that the mailing of the remittance was a compliance with the requirement of section six that such payments and dues should be received on or before the last day of the month. This position was held by the court to be untenable. It was said that the money must have been actually received at the office of the Board of Control before the end of the month. The question of agency was not considered, and the trend of the argument is so different that the case cannot be considered an authority upon the propositions here discussed. The cases of Peet v. Knights of Maccabees, 83 Michigan, 92, and McClure v. Supreme Lodge, 59 N. Y. Sup. 764, are not in point.
The judgments of the Circuit Court and of the Court of Appeals were right, and they are therefore
ARNOLD v. HATCH.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH
No. 183. Argued March 14, 1900. – Decided April 9, 1900.
A farmer made an arrangement with his son under which it was agreed
that the latter should undertake the management of the farm, farm implements and live stock, make all repairs, pay all taxes and other expenses, sell the products of the farm, replace all implements as they wore out, keep up all live stock, and have as his own the net profits. It was further agreed that each party should be at liberty to terminate the arrangement at any time, and that the son should return to his father the farm with its implements, stock and other personalty, of the same kind and amount as was on the farm when the father retired, and as in good condition as when he took it. Held, that no sale of the farm property was intended; that the title to the same remained in the father, and that the property was not subject to execution by creditors of the son.
This was an intervening petition by the defendant in error,
Opinion of the Court.
Lewis Hatch, filed in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in the case of Joseph G. Heim, Receiver, v. Frank W. Hatch, praying for the release by the marshal and a return to petitioner of a large amount of cattle and other farm property alleged to belong to him, and levied upon by the marshal as the property of Frank W. Hatch.
The cause originated in an action begun in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Joseph G. Heim, as receiver of the First National Bank of Southbend, Washington, against Frank W. Hatch, to enforce against the defendant an individual liability as a stockholder of the bank, which had become insolvent. Defendant having made default, a judgment was rendered against him in the sum of $1351.09 and costs, for which an execution was issued and levied upon the cattle and other farm property in dispute. Whereupon Lewis Hatch, the father of Frank W. Hatch, filed this petition, to which the plaintiff in error, John W. Arnold, marshal for the Northern District of Illinois, made answer, denying the petitioner's ownership of the property, and admitting his levy upon it as the property of Frank W. Hatch.
The case came on for trial before a jury, and resulted in a verdict for the petitioner, upon which judgment was entered. On writ of error from the Circuit Court of Appeals this judgment was affirmed. 60 U. S. App. 659. Whereupon plaintiff in error, Arnold, sued out a writ of error from this court.
Mr. Kenesaw M. Landis for plaintiff in error.
Mr. George A. Dupuy for defendant in error.
MR. JUSTICE Brown, after making the above statement, delivered the opinion of the court.
This case presents the frequent question of the title and ownership of personal property, levied upon as the property of an execution debtor, and claimed by another party. The undisputed facts are that, in 1883, the petitioner, Lewis Hatch, who then and for about twenty-five years prior thereto, had re
Opinion of the Court.
sided upon and worked a large farm in McHenry County, Illinois, made a contract with his son, Frank W. Hatch, a young man just out of school, under which it was agreed that the latter should undertake the management of the farm, farm implements and live stock, make all repairs, pay all taxes and other expenses, replace all implements as they were worn out, keep up all live stock, and have as his own the net profits. It was further stipulated that each party should be at liberty to terminate the arrangement at any time, and that the son should turn back to his father the farm with its implements, stock and other personalty, of the same kind and amount as was on the farm when the father retired, and in as good condition as when he took them.
As all questions connected with the veracity of witnesses, the bona fides of this arrangement, and its exact terms, are forestalled by the verdict of the jury, we are bound to consider the case as if the arrangement had been reduced to writing, and such writing were the only evidence bearing upon the subject. As the only testimony in the case was that of the father and the son, and as their statements were entirely harmonious, we are simply to inquire as to the correctness of the charge of the court to the jury, that, if they believed the arrangement was substantially such as was stated by the petitioner and his son, it did not have the effect in law to vest the title to any of the property or proceeds of the farm in Frank W. Hatch, although he may have had power to sell the same to others without any further authority from his father. There was evidence showing, not only that the son assumed the entire management of the farm, but that he was at full liberty to sell and dispose of its products, to replace old stock and implements with new, and to appropriate the net proceeds to himself; and that his only obligation was to return the property on demand, or substituted property of the same kind and amount, whenever either party should see fit to terminate the arrangement.
We do not know that it is necessary to fix an exact definition to the relations between these parties, or to determine whether the law of master and servant, landlord and tenant, or bailor and bailee, governed the transaction. The main object is to
Opinion of the Court.
ascertain the intent of the parties with respect to the ownership of the property. There is no doubt that the title to the farm remained in the father, who continued to occupy the homestead and provided accommodations for certain of the farm hands; that the arrangement was made with his son soon after he left school, and apparently for the purpose of starting him in business. He was then unmarried, and lived in the same house with his father, who furnished the board of the hired men until after the son was married, when, after living some time with his wife in the homestead, he built at his own expense a small house for bis own use about twenty or thirty rods distant from that of his father, although some of the hired men still lodged with the latter. In 1887, the son, Frank W. Hatch, gave up the arrangement, moved with his family to Texas, and settled there with the intention of making it his home. Upon going there he left all the stock upon the farm just as he had received it from his father. He subsequently became dissatisfied, and returned to his father's farm under the same arrangement. He continued under this arrangement until 1892, when he went to the State of Washington for the purpose of locating there ; invested in real estate and apparently in bank stock, in which he appears to have been unfortunate. Again returning to Illinois, he resumed the management of the farm.
It further appeared from the tax schedules of personal property in that school district that the property in question was assessed in the name of Frank W. Hatch. While this testimony was doubtless entitled to consideration, the jury evidently did not give it great weight, as it was part of the agreement between the father and son that the latter should pay the taxes.
There was also evidence that, in the spring of 1897, the son sold to his father for $1000 a quantity of wool produced on the farm; but as it was also a part of the agreement that the son should have the product of the farm, there was nothing inconsistent with it in this sale of the wool.
It is very evident from this testimony that no sale of the farm property was intended. There was no purchase price agreed upon, no time fixed for the payment; and the reservation that the arrangement might be terminated the day after it was made,