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Opinion of the Court.
from the contract and the circumstances under which it was made, that Davis consented to yield possession of the trust property on condition that he received some security for his payment other than the mere liability of the trust estate. He therefore took the contract in suit, and yielded the possession of the trust estate without exacting payment of his demands.
The designation of the plaintiffs in error as trustees in the contract and in the pleadings was merely descriptive of their persons. The contract was their personal undertaking. It is true it was their promise to pay the claim of Davis out of the trust funds. But this was simply a limitation upon the contract; it was none the less their personal obligation. They personally undertook to pay a conceded balance due to Davis, whenever there should be a certain surplus of trust funds in their hands sufficient for that purpose, and they are personally liable for the breach of their undertaking.
The case of Duvall v. Craig, 2 Wheat. 45, supports these views. The suit was an action at law upon the covenants of warranty in a deed. The deed was executed by John Craig and by Robert Johnson and Elijah Craig as his trustees. The trustees described themselves as trustees of John Craig in the granting clause of the deed and in the covenants of warranty, and subscribed their names as such. The Circuit Court sustained a demurrer to the declaration. In this court it was contended for the defendant in error that, Johnson and Elijah Craig having covenanted as trustees, a court of equity was the only forum in which they could be sued, and that no individual judgment could be rendered against them.
But the court, speaking by Mr. Justice Story, said:
“ If a trustee chooses to bind himself by a personal covenant, he is liable at law for a breach thereof in the same manner as any other person, although he describes himself as covenanting as trustee, for in such case the covenant binds him personally, and the addition of the words as trustee' is but matter of description to show the character in which he acts for his own protection, and in no degree affects the rights or remedies of the other party.” The court added : “ The reasoning upon this point disposes also of the second, that the covenant being made by Johnson and Elijah Opinion of the Court.
Craig as trustees, no individual judgment can be rendered against them. It is plain .. there could have been no other judgment rendered against them, for at law a judgment against a trustee in such special capacity is utterly unknown.”
The same learned judge, in his work on Promissory Notes, declares :
“As to trustees, guardians, executors, and administrators, and other persons acting en autre droit, they are by our law generally held personally liable on promissory notes, because they have no authority to bind ex directo the persons for whom, or for whose benefit, or for whose estate, they act, and hence, to give any validity to the note, they must be deemed personally bound as makers.” $ 63.
See also Thacher v. Dinsmore, 5 Mass. 299; Forster v. Fuller, 6 id. 58; Hills v. Bannister, 8 Cowen, 31; Eaton v. Bell, 5 B. & Ald. 34.
The cases cited show that whether the obligation of a trustee is under seal or not is an immaterial fact, so far as it concerns his personal liability thereon.
We are of opinion, therefore, that the plaintiffs in error, having assumed a personal liability, the suit was well brought against them in a court of law, and that the court did not err in rendering judgment against them in their individual capacity.
The next assignment of error is that the facts found by the court do not sustain the judgment. The contention is that the findings do not show that there was any surplus fund remaining in the hands of the trustees “after paying therefrom all taxes and current expenses.”
The findings of the court expressly state that in the years 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1873, and 1874 the plaintiffs in error had in their hands moneys belonging to the trust fund sufficient to pay the amount due the defendant in error, after paying therefrom all taxes on the trust property and the ordinary expenses of the trust. These findings are fully sustained by the accounts therein referred to, unless there should be included in the current expenses of the trust the large sums expended by
on that the building and o hire proof off
the trustees in the erection of the fire-proof office and other improvements, and in building and protecting the levees. We are of opinion that these and like expenditures are not current expenses of the trust, within the meaning of the contract of October 4th, 1861. By that contract even the payment of taxes is not classed as among current expenses. If the expenditures referred to can be called expenses at all, they are extraordinary expenses. In our view they are investments of the capital of the Cairo City property, as much so as the purchase of land or the construction of water works, gas works, or a system of sewerage. It could scarcely have been the purpose of Davis, when he exacted from the plaintiffs in error the contract of October 4th, 1861, in consideration of his yielding possession of the trust property, on which he had a lien, and from which he could have enforced immediate satisfaction of his debt, to postpone its payment for an indefinite period, and until the large sums which the plaintiffs in error expended in substantial and permanent improvements on the trust property had been paid. We think the correct interpretation of the phrase "current expenses” was that given it by the Circuit Court, namely, ordinary expenses. The contract of the plaintiffs in error being thus construed, their liability to the defendant in error upon the facts found is clear. We are of opinion that there is no error in the record. The judgment of the Circuit Court is, therefore,
UNITED STATES v. BEHAN.
APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.
Submitted December 18th, 1883.-Decided February 4th, 1884.
Contract—Damages—Estoppel. When one party enters upon the performance of a contract, and incurs expenso
therein, and being willing to perform, is, without fault of his own, prevented by the other party from performing, his loss will consist of two distinct items of damage: 1st, his outlay and expenses, less the value of ma
Opinion of the Court.
terials on hand ; 2d, the profits he might have realized by performance, which profits are related to the outlays and include them and something more. The first item he may recover in all cases, unless the other party can show the contrary; and the failure to prove profits will not prevent him from recovering it. The second he may recover when the profits are the
direct fruit of the contract, and not too remote or speculative. In an action for breach of a contract by wrongfully putting an end to it, the
party committing the wrong is estopped from denying that the other party · has been damaged to the extent of his actual loss and outlay fairly in.
curred. If, in a suit in the Court of Claims for breach of contract by the United States
by preventing the petitioner from performing his contract, the petition prays judgment for damages arising from the loss of profits, and also for outlay and expenses, the petitioner may recover for such part of the outlay and expenses as he may prove, although he may fail to establish that there
would bave been any profits. If a party injured by the stoppage of a contract elects to rescind the contract,
he cannot recover either for outlay or for loss of profits; but only for the value of services actually performed, as upon a quantum meruit.
The case is stated in the opinion of the court.
Mr. Solicitor-General (Mr. John S. Blair was with him) for appellant.
Mr. J. W. Douglass for appellee.
Behan, the appellee and claimant, filed a petition in the court below, setting forth that on the 26th of December, 1879, one John Roy entered into a contract with C. W. Howell, major of engineers of the United States army, to make certain improvements in the harbor of New Orleans (describing the same), and that the claimant and two other persons named became bondsmen for the faithful performance of the work; that on February 10th, 1881, the contract with Roy was annulled by the engineer office, and the bondsmen were notified that they had a right to continue the work under the contract if they desired to do so, and that the claimant complied with this suggestion and undertook the work; that he went to great expense in providing the requisite machinery, materials, and labor for fulfill. ing the contract, but that in September, 1881, it being found, by the report of a board of engineers, that the plan of improve
Opinion of the Court.
ment was a failure, without any fault of the claimant, the work was ordered to cease; that thereupon the claimant stopped all operations, and disposed of the machinery and materials on hand upon the best terms possible, and sent to the War Department an account of his outlay and expenses, and the value of his own time, claiming as due to him, after all just credits and offsets, the sum of $36,347.94, for which sum he prayed judgment.
The claimant afterwards filed an amended petition, in which the various transactions, and his operations under the contract, were set forth in greater detail, showing amongst other things, that the amount of his expenses for machinery and tools, for materials, and for labor and operations carried on, after deducting the proceeds realized from the sale of the plant remaining when the work was suspended, amounted to the sum of $33,192.90. The petition further alleged that the claimant could have completed the work contemplated by the contract by a further expense of $10,000, and that the amount which would then have been due therefor would have been $52,000, leaving a profit to him of $8,807.10.
The petition concluded as follows:
“Your petitioner therefore respectfully shows that his reasonable and necessary expenditures upon the work above described amounted to $33,192.90, which sum represents the losses actually sustained by petitioner by reason of the defendants' breach of the contract. And petitioner further sets forth that the reasonable and legitimate profits which he might have obtained but for the said breach of contract may be properly computed at $8,807.10, assuming $52,000 as the amount to be paid for the completed work. And petitioner further shows that he has not received one dollar from the defendants on account of said work, but that his claim and accompanying accounts, presented to the engineer department, have been transmitted to this court by the Secretary of War.
“Your petitioner therefore alleges that he is entitled to receive from the United States the sum of forty-two thousand dollars ($42,000) over and above all just credits and offsets. Wherefore he prays judgment for that amount.”
The Court of Claims found the material facts to be substan