Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cromwell v. County of Sac case brief

Cromwell v. County of Sac
22 Ill.94 U.S. 351, 4 Otto 351, 24 L. Ed. 195 (1877)

Facts:
-Plaintiff brought action on four bonds and four coupons for interest that were attached.
-The Defendant had issued bonds in 1860 for a courthouse to be erected.  These bonds were redeemable in 1868, 1869, 1870, and 1871.
-The courthouse was never built and the Plaintiff sued to recover the amounts of the bonds plus interest on the bonds.
-The Plaintiff brought suit and the Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff was precluded from raising the issue because of a prior suit that was brought by Samuel Smith (Smith).
-In the prior suite, Smith sought recovery on the same bonds.
-In that suit, evidence was presented showing that the Plaintiff owned the bonds and that the case was being brought for the Plaintiff’s benefit.
-The trial court held that the bonds were void against any party who had not acquired them before maturity and given value for them and found the Plaintiff had not proven that he gave value for them. -The Plaintiff was not allowed to show that he gave value for the coupons and bonds before maturity, which the trial court held, proved the invalidity of the bonds.

Issue:
-Was the Plaintiff estopped from bringing his claim on the bonds and the bond's coupons?

Holding:-No. The Plaintiff should have been allowed to show that he was a bona fide purchaser for value of the bonds before the date of maturity.
-The exclusion of the evidence offered by the P was erroneous.
-Judgment is reversed and remanded for a new trial.

Rules:
Where a second action between the same parties is based upon a different claim or demand, the judgment in the prior action operates as an estoppel only as to those matters in issue upon which the original verdict or judgment was rendered.

Analysis: -There was nothing adjudged in the former action that Smith (prior Plaintiff) had not proven, that could justify the Plaintiff being precluded from proving in this case.
-The fact that one party may not have shown that he gave value for one bond is not presumptive or conclusive evidence that he may not have given value a different bond.

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