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TERRELL V. ALLISON, 88 U. S. 289 (1874)

U.S. Supreme Court

Terrell v. Allison, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 289 289 (1874)

Terrell v. Allison

88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 289


1. A writ of assistance is an appropriate process to issue from a court of equity to place a purchaser of mortgaged premises under its decree in possession after he has received the commissioner's or master's deed, as against parties who are bound by the decree and who refuse to surrender possession pursuant to its direction or other order of the court.

2. The owner of property mortgaged at the time suit is brought for the foreclosure of the mortgage or the sale of the mortgaged premises, whether he be the original mortgagor or his successor in interest, is an indispensable party to the suit. A decree without his being made a party will not bind him or parties claiming under him, although the latter may have acquired their interests after suit commenced, and a purchaser of the property at a sale under the decree is not entitled to a writ of assistance to obtain possession of the premises as against him or them.

Appeal from the circuit court for the Southern District of Mississippi, from a decree awarding a writ of assistance to put the purchaser in possession of mortgaged property sold under a decree of the court and to remove the appellants from the premises.

The case arose in this wise:

In April, 1866, one Vaugh A. Hilburn, a resident of Mississippi, executed to Hugh Allison and others a mortgage upon certain real property situated in that state to secure the payment of his promissory note of the same date for $12,000, payable in March of the following year. In April, 1867, the mortgagor sold and conveyed the premises for a valuable consideration to one Eliza Kyle, and placed her at the time in possession. In May, 1871, Mrs. Kyle sold and conveyed the property upon like consideration to one Terrell, and he afterwards transferred a part of his interest to his brother, and they were the parties whose removal the decree directed.

In April, 1868, the mortgagees instituted suit in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Mississippi to foreclose the mortgage, or, more accurately speaking, to obtain a decree for the sale of the mortgaged premises, and

Page 88 U. S. 290

the application of the proceeds of the sale to the payment of the amount which might be found due to them on the note secured. In this suit, Hilburn and his wife, who had joined with him in the execution of the mortgage, were alone made parties. The case proceeded to a final decree, confirming a master's report, finding that $2,400 were due the mortgagees, and directing its payment within a designated period, or, in default of such payment, that the premises be sold by a commissioner appointed for that purpose at auction to the highest bidder, that a deed be executed to the purchaser, and that he be placed in possession of the premises. The payment directed not being made, the premises were sold by the commissioner and purchased by Hugh Allison, one of the mortgagees; the sale was confirmed and a deed executed by the commissioner to the purchaser. The two Terrells then in possession refused to surrender the premises to the purchaser, and he thereupon applied by petition to the court for a writ of assistance to be issued to the marshal to place him in possession. The court granted the writ, directing the officer to go upon the land and eject the Terrells and place the purchaser in possession. Subsequently this writ was revoked and an order was made that the Terrells show cause why the writ should not issue on the petition filed. In response to this order, the Terrells set up the sale and conveyance of the premises to Mrs. Kyle by the mortgagor and his placing her in possession before suit commenced, and the subsequent purchase by them from her, producing at the same time the conveyance from the mortgagor to her, and from her to one of them. And they insisted that Mrs. Kyle was a necessary party to the foreclosure suit and that the decree directing the sale of the premises was void as to her and as to them as purchasers under her. No replication to the answer was made, nor does it appear from the record that any question was raised as to the correctness of its statements. The court, it would seem, considered the facts disclosed insufficient, for it dismissed the answer and made a decree that an alias writ of assistance issue. From this decree the appeal was taken.

Page 88 U. S. 291

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