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U.S. Supreme Court

United States Mortgage Co. v. Matthews, 293 U.S. 232 (1934)

United States Mortgage Co. v. Matthews

No. 441

Argued November 12, 1934

Decided December 3, 1934

293 U.S. 232


A Maryland mortgage contained the assent of the mortgagor to the passing of a decree for a sale of the property in accordance with designated statutory provisions "or any amendments or additions thereto." The effect would have been to permit the mortgagee, or any owner of any fraction of the mortgage interest, to obtain a decree in a summary proceeding for a sale of the property in the event of default or forfeiture, through the medium of a trustee to be appointed by such decree. Before such proceedings were attempted, a new law was passed so amending the statute as to suspend the summary remedy during a period of declared emergency unless the application for the decree were made or concurred in by the record holders of not less than 25% of the entire unpaid mortgage debt.

As applied to a holder of less than this percentage, held:

1. The amendment does not offend the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 293 U. S. 236.

2. Where the contract clause is invoked, this Court must determine for itself the nature and effect of the alleged agreement and whether this has been impaired. P. 293 U. S. 236.

3. The assent in the mortgage contract embraced not only the statutory provisions therein designated and such amendments or additions as might have been made prior to the execution of the mortgage (of which in fact there were none), but also future amendments or additions, including that which suspended the summary remedy. P. 293 U. S. 237.

4. Therefore, the amendatory Act did not impair the obligation of the contract. P. 293 U. S. 237.

167 Md. 383, 173 Atl. 903, reversed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 293 U. S. 233

Certiorari to review the affirmance of a decree for the sale of mortgaged property in summary proceedings brought by holders, by assignment, of an undivided 500/2950 share of the mortgage and debt. The owner of the equity of redemption and the holder or representative of approximately 83% of the unpaid debt defended by intervention, and brought the case to this Court.

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