U.S. Supreme Court
Gregory v. Stetson, 133 U.S. 579 (1890)
Gregory v. Stetson
Submitted January 6, 1890
Decided March 3, 1890
133 U.S. 579
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
A circuit court can make no decree in a suit in the absence of a party whose rights must necessarily be affected thereby.
Two attorneys representing two separate parties delivered a promissory note to a third person as bailee and took his receipt therefor, in which he stated that he held it subject to their joint order, and to be dealt with as they might jointly direct. One of the separate parties filed a bill in equity against the bailee to compel him to deliver up the proceeds of the note (which had been paid) without making parties to the bill the two attorneys and the other party, claiming that he was entitled to do so by reason of an award in an arbitration that had taken place by which it had been decided that he should become the owner of the note on the performance of certain conditions which he had performed. Held that they were necessary parties to the bill and that no decree could be made by the court in their absence.