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facts affecting the rights of the parties. The case is like that of any mortgagor who improves the property while the mortgage subsists.
The decree is criticised as directing a sale of all the land, instead of only the one-fourth covered by the mortgage of Yates. The language of the decree is not the aptest in this regard, but it is nevertheless sufficiently clear that it directs the sale of only an undivided one-fourth. Affirmed.
LEFFERTS v. BELL et al. (Supreme Court of Nebraska. Dec. 22, 1898.) CHANGE OF VENUE - JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT COCRT-DISMISSING ACTION IN ANOTHER
COURT- DECREE. 1. A district court has no jurisdiction, on its own motion, to transfer for trial a case from one county to another.
2. A district court has no jurisdiction to render a judgment, in an action pending in one county, dismissing such action from the district court of another county.
3. Douglas and Sarpy counties are in the same judicial district. An action to quiet title to real estate was brought in the district court of Sarpy county, the petition alleging that the real estate was situate in that county. The defendants answered. averring that the real estate was situate in Douglas county. The parties stipulated in writing that the evidence in the case should be taken before the judge of the district court at a certain time and place in Douglas county, and counsel there submit their arguments, and that then the cause should he treated as fully submitted to the district court of Sarpy county for final determination. The evidence was so taken, and the arguments so had; and thereupon the district court of Douglas county made an order transferring the record, pleadings, and proceedings of the case on file in Sarpy county to the district court of Douglas county, made an order dismissing the case pending in Sarpy county, caused the case to he docketed in Douglas county, and on the evidence taken under the stipulation entered a decree in the case. Held: (1) That the order made in Douglas county, by the district court thereof, transferring the case from the district court of Sarpy county to the district court of Douglas county, was void; (2) that the order made in Douglas county, by the district court thereof, dismissing the action from the district court of Sarpy county, was void; (3) that the decree pronounced in the case by the district court of Douglas county was void.
(Syllabus by the Court.)
Appeal from district court, Douglas county; Ambrose, Judge.
Action by Charles S. Lefferts against Hiram Bell and others. J. J. Brown filed a cross petition. Judgment for plaintiff, and cross petitioner and Charles S. Lefferts ap peal. Reversed.
Geo. W. Cooper and Ross & Ross, for appellanis. Gregory, Day & Day, Emmet Tinley, S. B. Snyder, 0. D. Wheeler, and E. E. Aylesworth, for appellees.
ers. In his petition, Lefferts alleged that he was the owner of certain described real estate, situate in said Sarpy county; that each of the parties made defendants set up or claimed title to said real estate, or some part thereof. The prayer of Leffert's petition was that his title to the lands described therein might be quieted in him. One J. J. Brown was made a defendant to this action. He filed an answer denying Leffert's title to the real estate described in his petition, and by way of cross petition claimed title in himself to said land, or a part thereof; averring that said land was situate in said Sarpy county. The other parties made defendants, who answered Leffert's petition, in addition to a general denial of Leffert's title pleaded, among other things, that the land described in his petition was situate in the county of Douglas, and not in the county of Sarpy. After the issues had been made up, all the parties to the action entered into a stipulation in writing, and filed the same as one of the papers in the case. This stipulation provided that the evidence in the case should be taken before the Honorable G. W. Ambrose, judge of the district court of Sarpy county, in the district court room, in the Bee Building, in the city of Omaha, in Douglas county. at a certain time; that, upon the completion of the taking of the evidence, counsel for the respective parties might submit their arguments to said judge; and that "the cause shall be treated as fully submitted to the district court of said Sarpy county for the final determination of said court." Douglas and Sarpy counties are both in the saine judicial district. In pursuance of this stipulation the evidence in the case was taken and the argument of counsel had before the said judge at the time and place mentioned in said stipulation, and afterwards, at the September, 1895, term (to wit, on the 19th day of December, 1895) of the district court of Douglas county, the said judge made an order transferring the record, pleadings, and proceedings of the case at bar from the district court of Sarpy county to the district court of Douglas county, and ordering this case to be docketed in said latter court, all of which was done, and also, as a part of said order, dismissed this case from the district court of Sarpy county, and subsequently, at the same term of the district court of Douglas county, entered a decree in the case, which is before us on appeal.
We learn from the record that the learned judge made the order transferring this case from the district court of Sarpy to the district court of Douglas county because he had reached the conclusion, after hearing the evidence, that the real estate in controversy was situate in Douglas county. We think that the order made by the learned judge, transferring this case from the district court of Sarpy to the district court of Douglas county, and docketing it in the latter county, was absolutely void; and the order made by the judge,
RAGAN, C. This record presents some unusual features. Charles S. Lefforts brought this action in the district court of Sarpy county against Hiram Bell and a number of oth
in Douglas county, dismissing the action from and transfers to the payee, as collateral securithe district court of Sarpy county, was like
ty thereto, a note then held against a third per
son secured by a real-estate mortgage, a decree wise void. Johnson v. Bouton (Neb.) 77 N.
foreclosing such mortgage will not bar an acW. 57. If the district judge had jurisdiction tion at law on the first note, since it did not -and we do not discuss or decide that ques- evidence the debt the mortgage was previously tion-to hear the evidence in this case, and
given to secure.
3. In an action upon a promissory note, when the arguments therein, in Douglas county, it is disclosed that one maker is the principal while the action was pending in the district debtor and the other signed as surety merely, a court of Sarpy county, and if he had jurisdic
judgment for the plaintiff should, under sec
tion 511 of the Code of Civil Procedure, state tion to decide the case in Douglas county
which defendant is the principal debtor and upon the termination of the argument, and which is surety. if bis conclusion that the situs of the real (Syllabus by the Court.) estate involved was in Douglas county was
Error to district court, Douglas county; correct, then he should have entered a decree
Ferguson, Judge. in the district court of Sarpy county dismiss
Action by the Home Fire Insurance Coming Leffert's action. But he had no jurisdic
pany against William J. Maxwell and John tion to transfer the case from Sarpy county
T. Clark. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendto Douglas county for the purpose of a trial
ants bring error. Reversed. or decision. Fisk v. Thorp, 51 Neb. 1, 70 N. W. 498. The record shows that no trial of Duffie & Van Dusen, for plaintiffs in error. this case ever took place in the district court W. H. De France, for defendant in error. of Douglas county, but by the order of the judge, as already stated, the case was docket- NORVAL, J. This was an action by the ed there, and there decided; and, since the Home Fire Insurance Company of Omaha order of the court docketing the case in against William J. Maxwell and John T. Douglas county was void, the case was not Clark, as joint makers of a promissory note there, and the decree of the district court for $1,900, given Jarch 29, 1890, and due of Douglas county pronounced in that action three years thereafter, drawing 8 per cent. is a nullity.
interest from date of obligation. The defendIt appears from the record that the orders / ants, for answer to the petition, admit the which we have said were made by Judge execution of the note, and allege, in subAmbrose, transferring this case from the stance, that the defendant Maxwell delivered district court of Sarpy county to the district to plaintiff, as collateral security to the debt, court of Douglas county, and dismissing this a certain promissory note for $3,400, executed action out of the district court of Sarpy coun- by one George M. O'Brien, Jr., payable to the ty, were intended to be orders of the district said Maxwell, and secured by mortgage on court of Douglas county, as they purport to real estate situate in Douglas county; that, have been made at the September term of after the maturity thereof, Maxwell comthat court, and purport to be orders of court. menced a suit to foreclose such mortgage, in But whether these orders were made by which the Home Fire Insurance Company of Judge Ambrose as judge, simply, or whether Omaha intervened, and in the decree renderthey were made by him as the district court ed therein it was awarded a first lien on the of Douglas county, they were equally void. mortgaged premises for $1,913.55, being the Neither the district court of Douglas county, amount at that time due upon the note in nor a judge thereof, had any jurisdiction to controversy herein; that said decree is still make an order or enter a decree in that in force, and wholly unsatisfied, and is a bar county dismissing an action pending in Sarpy to the present action; and that the defendcounty, nor any jurisdiction to make an or- ant Maxwell was the principal on the note der or decree in that county transferring the declared on herein, and that the defendant case from another county to that. The de- Clark signed the same as surety. A general cree appealed from is reversed. The entire demurrer to the answer was interposed by proceedings, so far as they purport to be the plaintiff, which the court sustained, the brought to or pending in Douglas county, are defendants refused to further plead, and a dismissed. Reversed and dismissed.
joint judgment was entered against both for $2,280, without designating which was principal on the note and which executed as surety.
From the order denying defendants' motion for MAXWELL et al. v. HOME FIRE INS. CO.
a new trial, they prosecute error to this court. (Supreme Court of Nebraska. Dec. 22, 1898.) The first argument of defendants below is MORTGAGES-ESFORCEMENT - PLEDGE-JUDGMENT that the taking of a decree of foreclosure in -PRINCIPAL AXD SURETY.
the suit on the collateral note and mortgage is 1. Under the provisions of section 817 et seq. a bar to the present action, by virtue of the of the Code of Civil Procedure, as existing prior to 1897, either an action at law for the re
provisions of section 817 et seq. of the Code covery of a debt secured by a real-estate mort
of Civil Procedure, as they existed at the gage or a suit to foreclose the mortgage will time when the note herein was given, this jie; but both remedies cannot be pursued at
action was instituted, and the judgment unthe same time, unless permission is given therefor by the court.
der review was pronounced. Section 817 of 2. Where one executes a promissory note, the Code of Civil Procedure (Comp. St. 1885) requires that a petition to foreclose real-es- gation to which he is not in any way a party, tate mortgages shall be filed in the county and which was not existence when the where the premises are situated. The next mortgage was given. In the foreclosure succeeding section authorizes the court in against O'Brien no deficiency judgment could such a suit to decree a sale on a whole or have been obtained against either Maxwell part of real estate covered by the mortgage, or Clark for the amount remaining unpaid of as may be deemed sufficient to pay the the mortgage debt after sale of the mortamount due and costs. Section 817, as it gaged property, so that the case at bar does then existed, relates to the rendition of de- not fall within the scope and object of the ficiency judgments in foreclosure suits for the statute stated in Meehan v. Bank, supra, as amount remaining due and unsatisfied after follows: "The purpose of these provisions is sale of the mortgaged premises, in cases in evidently to avoid the two actions being in which such balance is recoverable at law, progress at the same time, and also the and authorizes the issuance of execution to
double costs and expenses, and to confine the collect such deficiency judgment. Sections | creditor as closely as may be, consistent with 848 and 849 of said Code, as then in force, justice to him and his demands, to the one follow:
action; and more especially does this seem "Sec. 818. After such petition shall be true of the foreclosure action in which he filed, while the same is pending and after is allowed to first subject the mortgaged decree rendered thereon, no proceedings property to the payment of the debt and the wbatever shall be had at law for the re- further remedy of a deficiency judgment for covery of the debt secured by the mortgage, any balance of the debt remaining unextinor any part thereof, unless authorized by the guished." Section 818 is so plain and free court.
from ambiguity as to admit of but one in“Sec. 849. If the mortgage debt be secured
terpretation. During the pendency of a suit by the obligation or other evidence of debt to foreclose a real-estate mortgage, or after of any other person besides the mortgagor, the rendition of the decree therein, the legisthe complainant may make such person a lature has by said section prohibited the party to the petition, and the court may de- maintaining of an action “at law for the recree payment of the balance of such debt re
covery of the debt secured by the mortgage, maining unsatisfied after a sale of the mort
or any part thereof, unless authorized by the gaged premises, as well against such other court." There is no inhibition against the person as the mortgagor, and may enforce
prosecution of proceedings at law to recover a such decree as in other cases."
debt, other than the one the mortgage at its The two sections quoted were considered inception was given to secure. It was never and construed, in connection with sections the intention of the lawmakers that the statS50 and 851 of the Code of Civil Procedure, ute should apply to cases like the one at bar, in Meehan v. Bank, 44 Neb. 213, 62 N. W.
else appropriate language indicative of such 490; and in an opinion by the present chief a purpose would have been used in framing justice it was ruled that the statute author- the law. The note in suit is not the mortgage ized either an action at law for the recovery debt, and the fact that a decree of foreclosure of the debt secured by real-estate mortgage, has been taken on the note, and mortgage or a suit to foreclose the mortgage, at the held as collateral thereto, will not defeat the option of the owner and holder thereof, but present action. The note signed by Maxwell when he chooses one remedy he must ex- and Clark was not taken as security for the haust it before resorting to the other, unless | mortgage debt of O'Brien, and hence is not permission of the court is first obtained to embraced within the provisions of said secpursue both remedies at the same time; and tion 819, and is not an obligation or other that, pending foreclosure suit or after decree, evidence of debt of any person besides the an action of law on the obligation or evidence mortgagor, within the meaning of the law. of debt of a person other than the mortgagor, The two New York cases cited by counsel such as an indorser of the note secured by the for defendants below do not in the least conmortgage, cannot be prosecuted without con- flict with the views herein expressed, or the sent of the court of equity. That this deci. conclusion we have reached on this question, sion is sound we do not entertain the shadow as will be disclosed by an examination of the of a doubt, and, if this were an action at law | reported decisions. In Suydam v. Bartle, 9 against O'Brien to recover the amount of his Paige, 291, it appears that James P. Bartle mortgage debt, it is very evident the doctrine and others executed a real-estate mortgage announced in the case of which mention has which on its face purported to secure a bond heen made would control. Manifestly, after for $10,000, although the mortgage in fact the entry of the foreclosure decree against was given as security for certain drafts or O'Brien, an action at law could not be main- bills of exchange drawn by the obligors in tained to recover from him the sum due on the bond and one Westfall, which had been the debt secured by the mortgage without accepted by the plaintiff. In a suit to foreleave of the court, in which foreclosure was close the mortgage, permission was asked to brought, to pursue that remedy, having been proceed to trial and judgment in the action first procured. However, this is not an ac- at law which had already been commenced tion upon the O'Brien note, but upon an obli- for the recovery of the mortgage debt from
law. For the error indicated, the judgment is reversed, and the cause remanded, with directions to the district court to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the amount demanded in the petition against Maxwell as principal debtor and Clark as surety. Reversed and remanded.
Westfall, who was not a party to the foreclosure, and authority to do so was given. The chancellor said: “The object of the legislature unquestionably was to relieve the mortgagor from the expense of a double litigation. And where it is evident that the complainant could have had a perfect remedy against all persons who were liable for the payment of the debt, by a decree over against them for the deficiency, if he had chosen to make them parties to his foreclosure suit, it might not be a proper exercise of discretion for the court of chancery to permit any further proceedings to be had in the action at law after the filing of the bill of foreclosure." Permission to proceed at law was granted in that case, since it was doubtful whether a deficiency judgment against Westfall would have been proper had he been a party to the bill to foreclose, the mortgaged premises not being of sufficient value to pay the entire debt. We make no criticism on the ruling in that case, but that the decision has no application here is obvious. There the action at law was predicated on the very debt secured by the mortgage, while such is not the case here. In Scofield v. Doscher, 72 N. Y. 491, it is disclosed that Peter Donlan executed and delivered to plaintiff a bond secured by a real-estate mortgage, and thereafter Donlan sold a part of the premises to one John Heiden, who agreed in the deed to pay a portion of the mortgage debt. The mortgage was foreclosed, the executor of Heiden being a party defendant. After the sale under the decree, a part of the debt remained unpaid, and an action at law was commenced by the mortgagee against the executor of Heiden to recover a deficiency judgment upon the covenant of the testator to pay a portion of the mortgage. It was held the action was not maintainable, as permission so to proceed had not been authorized by the court. That decision is in line with the holding of this court in Meehan v. Bank, 44 Neb. 213, 62 N. W. 490, and which latter case we have al. ready distinguished from the one at bar.
The answer pleaded that Maxwell was principal, and Clark was surety, on the note, and the demurrer admitted the truthfulness of such averment, and yet a joint judgment was rendered against both, without it having been certified on the record which of them was the principal debtor and which the surety, as required by section 511 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This was reversible error. Van Etten v. Kosters, 48 Neb. 152, 66 N. W. 1106.
It is urged that the objection is raised for the first time in this court. The record does not sustain this contention. In the motion for a new trial it was assigned that the judgment was contrary to law. The character of the obligations assumed by the defendant was specially pleaded in the answer, which the demurrer admitted to be true. The rendition of a judgment in opposition to the admissions in the pleading is certainly contrary to
JACKSON v. PHILLIPS. (Supreme Court of Nebraska. Dec. 22, 1898.) LAND CONTRACTS - LEASES-HOMESTEAD)– Wills-
PROBATE-EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS.
1. "In the construction of every instrument creating or conveying, or authorizing or requiring the creation or conveyance of any real estate, or interest therein, it shall be the duty of the courts of justice to carry into effect the true interest of the parties, so far as such intent can be collected from the whole instrument, and so far as such intent is consistent with the rules of law." Comp. St. 1897, c. 73, § 53.
2. Contract upon which this action is predicated determined to be an executory contract for the sale of real estate, and not a lease.
3. If default is made in conditions relative to payment of the consideration contained in an executory contract for the sale of real estate, the vendor may treat the contract as a mortgage, and enforce it by foreclosure. Hendrix v. Barker, 68 N. W. 531, 49 Neb. 369.
4. An executor or administrator appointed in another state may maintain an action or suit in this state. Cox v. Yeazel, 68 N. W. 483, 49 Neb. 313; Comp. St. 1897, c. 23, 8 337.
5. Objections to sufficiency of a probate notice held without force in this action, as it could not affect proceedings upon which, through such objections to it, an attack was sought to be made.
6. The citation or notice of hearing of application for letters of administration cannot be successfully attacked collaterally by one not interested in the estate, or in a suit by the administrator against him.
7. An executory contract for the sale of real estate is valid, and may be enforced as a security for the payment of the unpaid purchase money, although not signed by the wife of the purchaser, and the real estate was bought for and immediately occupied as a homestead. Prout v. Burke, 70 N. W. 512, 51 Neb. 24.
8. Held, that the evidence warranted findings and decree for the appellant (plaintiff below). Judgment for the defendant vacated, and the cause remanded, with directions for decree for plaintiff.
(Syllabus by the Court.)
Appeal from district court, Johnson county; Stull, Judge.
Action by A. A. Jackson, administrator of the estate of John K. McComber, deceased, against Jason L. Phillips. From a judgment for defendant, plaintiff appeals. Reversed.
S. P. Davidson, for appellant. L. C. Chapman, for appellee.
HARRISON, C. J. In this case the appellant alleges for his cause of action the existence of an executory contract for the sale of real estate to which the deceased person of whose estate he was the administrator, during his lifetime, became a party, and to which the appellee was also a par
ty; that there had been a failure on the part | Hendrix v. Barker, 49 Neb. 369, 68 N. W. of the appellee to perform his agreements, 531. evidenced by said instrument. The relief The argument that the appellant could not asked was a foreclosure as of a mortgage. sue for the reason that his appointment as The appellee, in his answer, pleaded occu- administrator of the estate of the deceased pancy of the premises involved in the suit party to the contract, whom he claimed to with his family as a home, and its conse- represent, was not sufficiently shown, in quent homestead character, and the lack of that the evidence introduced in this connecthe signature of his wife to the contract up- tion disclosed no sufficient petition or no on which the action was predicated; also al- petition in application for such appointment leged that the contract declared upon in the in this state, is without force, for the reapetition was a lease, which also contained son that the present suit was by the appelan agreement on the part of the lessor to lant according to the pleading and proof unsell the leased property to the lessee at a der his appointment by the proper court of date subsequent to the making of the lease; the state of California, where such party and that the contract, by reason of the non- died, and where the appellant was duly apfulfillment of some of its conditions, had pointed administrator with the will annexed become ineffective, or without further force. of the estate of the deceased. The will was There was, for the appellant, a reply, which admitted to probate in this state, but there was a general denial. The judgment of the was nothing shown of any proceedings for court was for the defendant in the action, the appointment of an administrator; but and the plaintiff has appealed.
an administrator or executor appointed in The first question presented is relative to another state may commence and prosecute the character to be given to the agreement an action in the courts of this state. Comp. which is the basis of the suit, and in doing St. 1897, c. 23, $ 337; Cox v. Yeazel, 49 Seb. this we must give effect to the requirements 343, 68 N. W. 483. of section 53, c. 73, Comp. St. 1897, which Objection is made that the notice of the reads as follows: "In the construction of hearing in the county court in this state lackevery instrument creating or conveying, or ed in what it is asserted was an essential authorizing or requiring the creation or con- particular. To this it must be answered that veyance of any real estate, or interest there- the notice introduced in this case did not in, it shall be the duty of the courts of jus- purport to be of the appointment of an adtice to carry into effect the true interest of ministrator, but of the projected admission the parties, so far as such intent can be col- of the will to probate; and, further, the lected from the whole instrument, and so question of the sufficiency of a notice of this far as such intent is consistent with the nature, or of the hearing of application for rules of law." Hervey v. Locomotive Works, letters of administration, could not be rais93 U. S. 664. The instrument in suit has ed by one not interested in the estate in this some direct earmarks of a lease. It contains collateral action. Crosw. Ex’rs & Adm'rs, some terms and expressions which would, p. 140, $ 252, and cases cited in note 6. taken literally, stamp it as a lease; but, The question of the homestead right, and when its substance is examined critically, the lack of the signature of the wife of apthe apparent character of the instrument is pellee to the contract, cannot enter into this destroyed. The arrangement of the consid- controversy. If the appellee was, with his eration in reference to the payment by in- | family, occupying the property sought to be stallments being $60 for each of the four affected herein at the time of the contract years succeeding the time of the execution in suit, it was without any title, or at least of the contract, and $660 at the expiration of the evidence before us does not disclose any, the fifth year, the $60 payments being each or by what right sich occupancy was of exthe one year's interest at 10 per cent. per istence; and a homestead right would not annum on the $600, which it seems more than arise and attach to the title or interest acprobable was a principal sum of the con- quired by appellee under the contract as sideration for the contract between the par- against the enforcement of the consideraties, furnishes a strong indication of a sale. tion by which the title or interest was so acThere is a further strong indication of a sale quired. Prout v. Burke, 51 Neb. 24, 70 N. W. in the feature of the agreement in relation 512, and citations therein. to a conveyance of the property to the con- There was testimony to the effect that the tractee by the contractor on full payment notes which had been given in the transacof all sums stated in the contract, as evi- tion which formed the basis of this action venced by the notes. All things considered, were destroyed by the payee. If this was we are forced to conclude that the instru- true, the appellee could be accorded no benement declared upon in the petition was an fit of such act in this suit, for the reason executory contract for the sale of land. If that there was no issue presented by the so, the appellant might, as one of the reme- pleadings under which such defense was dies afforded on default of the other party available. There was evidence which called in the performance of the essential condi- for a finding and decree for the appellant as tions of payment of the consideration, en- to the amounts of the payments provided for force collection in a suit of foreclosure. in the notes described in the contract, but