U.S. Supreme Court
Taber v. Perrott & Lee, 13 U.S. 9 Cranch 39 39 (1815)
Taber v. Perrott & Lee
13 U.S. (9 Cranch) 39
A., being sole owner of a bill of exchange, endorses it in blank and delivers it to B. to deliver to C. for collection, and when collected to place the amount to the credit of A. and B. in account. C. collects the amount but refuses to place it to the credit of A. and B., who settle their account with C. and pay him the balance. A. afterwards sues C. for the amount received upon the bills. B. is a competent witness for A.
Error to the Circuit Court for the District of Rhode Island in an action of assumpsit to recover from the defendant's Perrott & Lee the amount of certain bills of exchange put into their hands to collect by the plaintiff Taber and his deceased partner, Gardner.
At the trial below, several exceptions were taken, in which the following facts appeared.
The plaintiff produced a witness, John L. Boss, who being duly admitted and sworn, testified that Messrs. Taber & Gardner, merchants of Rhode Island, were chanrobles.com-red
holders and owners of French government bills to a large amount, which were by them endorsed in blank and given to their agent, the said John L. Boss, to take to France for collection. That he, Boss, had no interest in the bills, and received them as agent for the plaintiffs, and this was known to Perrott & Lee. That he carried them to France in 1802 in a vessel of the plaintiffs with a cargo consigned to the defendants, Perrott & Lee, of Bourdeaux in which cargo Boss had an interest. That he delivered the bills to Perrott & Lee to negotiate and receive the amount. That Boss went to Paris in October, 1802, and while there received a letter on 26 October from Perrott & Lee informing him that Hotel, Thomas & Co. of Paris, were the house to whom the bills were sent and introducing him to that house, and they wrote a letter to Hotel, Thomas & Co. directing them, when the bills were paid, to place the money to the credit of Perrott & Bineau, a banking house at Bourdeaux, which Perrott is one of the defendants. On 12 January, 1803, Boss called on Hotel, Thomas & Co. and was informed that the bills had been paid by the French government on 7 January preceding, and Boss saw the proceeds of the bills credited on the books of Hotel, Thomas & Co. to the said Perrott & Bineau, according to the directions of Perrott & Lee. That Boss, on 14 January, advised the defendants that the bills were paid, and directed the proceeds to be applied to the credit of the account of Taber, Gardner & Boss with them. On 29 January, at Paris, Boss saw bills of exchange drawn by Perrott & Bineau on Hotel, Thomas & Co. and accepted by them at 30 or 40 days' sight, which were acknowledged by the defendant, Perrott to have been drawn for the said proceeds. That the said bills so drawn and accepted were in the hands of one Charles Bodin, but whether they have been further negotiated or not or paid or not Boss could not tell. That Boss returned to Bourdeaux on 26 February, and left Bourdeaux about 6 April, 1803. That until the day before he left Bourdeaux, he had no intimation from the defendants that they would not credit the amount of the said bills to the account of Taber, Gardner & Boss. That the defendants refused to give such credit.
Perrott & Lee, who provided the return cargo, chanrobles.com-red
brought Taber, Gardner & Boss largely in their debt in account current, and Boss, on 6 April, 1803, signed the account stating that when the monies were received on the bills from Hotel, Thomas & Co. the amount should be passed to the credit of Taber, Gardner & Boss. Perrott & Lee afterwards received the whole balance of the said account from Taber, Gardner & Boss, not having credited the proceeds of the said bills, and the present suit is brought by Taber, surviving partner of Taber & Gardner, the original holders of the bills, to recover their amount.
The principal exception was to the charge of the judge who directed the jury to find for the defendants on the ground that the witness, Boss, had not been made a party plaintiff in the suit.