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U.S. Supreme Court

Dewey v. West Fairmont Gas Coal Co., 123 U.S. 329 (1887)

Dewey v. West Fairmont Gas Coal Company

Submitted November 9, 1887

Decided November 11, 1887

123 U.S. 329


A New York corporation contracted with a partnership consisting of citizens of West Virginia to furnish a specified quantity of coal within a fixed time at an agreed rate. After delivery of a portion of the coal, the partnership refused to receive more, whereupon the corporation sued the partners in a state court of West Virginia to recover damages for a breach of the contract. On the motion of the defendants, this action was removed from the state court to the circuit court of the United states on the ground that the parties were citizens of different states. The partners then, in conformity with the provisions of a statute of West Virginia which authorizes a creditor, before obtaining judgment, to institute any suit to avoid a conveyance of the estate of his debtor which he might institute after obtaining judgment, and to have the relief in respect to said estate which he would be entitled to after judgment, filed a bill in equity in the circuit court of the United States to set aside an assignment of the property of the corporation as fraudulent and to subject that property in the hands of the assignee to the payment of their debt. It was objected to this bill that the court was without jurisdiction, as the assignee, who was one of the respondents, was a citizen of West Virginia, of which the complainants also were citizens. Held that the objection was not well taken, the equity suit being an exercise of jurisdiction in the circuit court ancillary to that which it had already acquired in the action at law, and which it might entertain according to the rule in Krippendorf v. Hyde, 110 U. S. 276, and Pacific Railroad Co. v. Missouri Pacific Railway Co., 111 U. S. 505.

From a careful examination of all the evidence in this case, the Court is satisfied with the action of the circuit court dismissing the bill and the cross-bill as dependent upon the bill.

In equity to set aside an assignment by an insolvent debtor as fraudulent, and to subject the assigned property to the payment of the complainants' debt. The respondents filed a cross-bill. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 123 U. S. 330

The decree dismissed the bill for want of equity and the cross-bill as dependent upon it. The case is stated in the opinion.

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