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RIDINGS V. JOHNSON, 128 U. S. 212 (1888)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ridings v. Johnson, 128 U.S. 212 (1888)

Ridings v. Johnson

No. 44

Submitted October 29, 1888

Decided November 12, 1888

128 U.S. 212


When a bill in equity is dismissed by the court below on a general demurrer without an opinion, it is an imposition on that court to throw upon it the labor of finding out for itself the questions involved and the arguments in support of the decree of dismissal.

It is settled law that courts of the United States lose none of their equitable jurisdiction in states where no such courts exist, but, on the contrary, are bound to administer equitable remedies in uses to which they are applicable and which are not adapted to a common law action.

The complainant, being the owner of a tract in Louisiana, sold it to the intestate of one of the defendants, receiving a part of the purchase money in cash and notes for the remainder secured by a mortgage of the tract, which was not recorded. The purchaser afterwards mortgaged the tract to the other defendant, and then died insolvent. The second mortgagee then caused the tract to be sold under judicial proceedings to pay his mortgage debt, no notice being given to the complainant, although he was aware of the nature of his claim upon the property. The complainant, having caused his mortgage to be recorded, filed this bill to enforce his rights by a rescission of the sale to the decedent, offering to refund the cash received by him and to give up the unpaid mortgage notes. Held that it was a proceeding in equity.

Since the passage of the act of 1855, p. 335, codified in the Revised Statutes

Page 128 U. S. 213

of Louisiana of 1870, p. 617, an unrecorded mortgage has no effect as to third persons not parties to the act of mortgage or judgment, even though they had full knowledge of it.

In the state of the record, it is impossible to determine whether the complainant is entitled to all, or to a part, or to any of the relief which he seeks, and, the court below having erred in dismissing his bill for want of jurisdiction, the case is remanded for further proceedings.

In equity. Defendant demurred. The demurrer was sustained and the bill dismissed. The complainant appealed. The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

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