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STATE-PLANTERS BANK & TRUST CO. ET AL. v. PARKER ET AL.

decided: April 20, 1931.

STATE-PLANTERS BANK & TRUST CO. ET AL
v.
PARKER ET AL., TRUSTEES IN BANKRUPTCY



CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.

Hughes, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts

Author: Roberts

[ 283 U.S. Page 332]

 MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The facts stated in the certificate follow.

July 1, 1925, Edwards-Slaughter Co., Inc., executed a deed of trust to State-Planters Bank and Trust Company to secure $60,000 in bonds, the payment of which was guaranteed by First National Company. It also executed and delivered to the bank its promissory note in the sum of $20,000, secured by a preferred maritime mortgage on

[ 283 U.S. Page 333]

     one of its vessels, to be held under the terms of the trust instrument as security for the bonds. In accordance with article ten of the deed, which required that, so long as any of the bonds should be outstanding, the bankrupt should carry fire and marine insurance on its steamers, endorsed to the trustee, policies upon the vessel in the amount of $60,000, payable to the bankrupt and to the bank as trustee, were duly delivered to the latter. Subsequently, when these policies were about to lapse for nonpayment of premiums, the bank paid the same and renewed the policies with funds furnished to it upon demand by the guarantor.

The steamship was destroyed by fire on September 18, 1927, and the net sum of $58,256.67 was collected on the policies. A controversy arose as to whether the whole fund or only $20,000 thereof was applicable to the bonds secured by the deed of trust, the bank contending that it was entitled to apply the entire amount to this purpose, because of a provision of the deed to the effect that all proceeds of insurance should be treated in the same manner as those from a sale by foreclosure and should be applied in payment of bonds. For the purpose of determining this dispute the bank filed its bill in the state court, against the bankrupt and others, in which it alleged that the holders of the bonds and coupons were entitled to the entire proceeds of the policies, but that, as certain claims had been asserted thereagainst by others than the bond and coupon holders, it desired to have the guidance and protection of the court, and therefore requested it to supervise the distribution of the fund. The bankrupt and the guarantor filed answers alleging that the whole of the insurance moneys should be applied to the payment of the bonds and coupons, and praying that they be so used.

The suit was instituted February 8, 1928, and on May 24 was referred to a master in chancery, who filed his report

[ 283 U.S. Page 334]

     on September 29. Prior thereto, on August 8, Edwards-Slaughter Co., Inc., had been adjudged a bankrupt. Upon the filing of the master's report the district judge issued a rule against the bank and its attorneys, Leake and Buford, to show cause why they should not be enjoined from further prosecuting the suit in the state court. This rule was made absolute, and an order was entered directing the bank to pay the fund in its hands into the bankruptcy court. From this order the bank and its attorneys appealed. Pursuant to the order the fund was paid over to the trustees and is now held by them.

First National Company, not having been made a party to the rule, filed its petition challenging the jurisdiction of the court to interfere with the state court proceedings, or summarily to require an adverse claimant of the fund in controversy to pay the same into court, and praying that the injunction and order be set aside and the money returned to the bank. Upon objection by the trustees in bankruptcy ...


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