Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

and determine that the parties hereinafter named are entitled to the said stock in the portions set opposite their respective names; that is to say: To H. G. Loupold, 5,000 shares...

$ 5,000. " Thomas Maxwell, 1,000 shares.

1,000. " G. H. Moore, 1,000 shares...

1,000. " W. J. Aber, 1,000 shares...

1,000. Henry Hetzel, 25,000 shares..

25.000. " Piedro Pinelli, 2,500 shares.

2,500. " V. M. Reynolds, 500 shares.

500. Recker, 2,500 shares..

2,500. " L. T. Yoder, 1,250 shares.

1,250. " E. P. Cole, 500 shares.

500. " I. L. Currier, assignee of Judah, 500 shares

500. " J. C. Tebbetts, 5,000 shares..

5,000. " Jos. F. Sulzner, 80,083 shares.

80,083.

Total

..$103,333. "In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 26th day of January, 1906.

"Thomas Maxwell. [Seal.] "G. H. Moore. [Seal.]

"Harvey A. Miller. [Seal.]” At the time these meetings were held and the award made, Mr. Duvall and Mr. Tebbetts were both away; the former having left for New York on the evening of January 10th, and the latter for California the same day. When Mr. Duvall returned and learned what the action of the arbitrators had been, he was very much dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction resulted in the preparation and filing of the bill in this case. This bill set forth more at length the history of the transaction than that given above, but substantially the same, and alleges that the amount of said stock awarded by the arbitrators to Joseph F. Sulzner, towit, 80,083 shares, “was rightfully, and is still rightfully, the property of your orator, William B. Duvall, except in so far as he may desire to use the same for the benefit and promotion of the said company.” The averments of the bill respecting the action of the arbitrators are embraced in the twelfth and thirteenth clauses thereof, and are as follows:

“That notwithstanding this was their plain and known duty, they proceeded, while your orator, William B. Duvall, was in Mexico, and the said J. O. Tebbetts was in the state of California, to meet and decide the questions in dispute without notice to them and without hearing any evidence, at least in so far as the rights of your orators and the said J. C. Tebbetts or any of them were concerned, and against the written protest of one of the arbitrators, a copy of which said protest, marked 'Exhibit B,' is hereto attached and made a part of this bill of complaint, and against his withdrawal and refusal to act as one of said arbitrators, attempted to determine the matters in dispute and made their finding and award in writing, a copy of which said finding and award, marked 'Exhibit C,' is hereto attached and also made a part of this bill of complaint.

“Thirteenth. That said attempted award and determination of the said committee of arbitration is illegal and invalid and not binding upon your orators, William B. Duvall and other parties to said agreement (Exhibit A), for the reason that the said committee of arbitration proceeded in entire disregard of your orator's, William B. Duvall's, rights, without such hearing as is provided by the agreement of submission, and without giving your orator, William B. Duvall, any opportunity to establish his right in said stock by evidence to that end and against the protest and withdrawal of one of the said arbitrators, and against the dissent of another of said arbitrators. And your orator, William B. Duvall, further avers that the majority of the said ty of

committee of arbitration, so acting and attempting to pass upon the title of said stock and to decide the said controversy, did act throughout the whole of said proceedings with manifest unfairness, and with such partiality as to destroy the judicial character of said proceedings, and to render said arbitration invalid and illegal.”

To this bill the defendants have filed a plea, setting up the agreement to arbitrate and the award made pursuant thereto, and also the former bill filed by Duvall v. Sulzner, at No. 19, of same term (no opinion written), to which the plaintiffs have filed a replication joining issue on the averments of the plea.

It may be added that at the time Duvall filed his bill at No. 19 May term of this court, E. P. Cole, one of the defendants, had also filed a bill in equity in the court of common pleas No. 3 of Allegheny coun

November term, 1905, for the recovery of a portion of said stock.

In the present bill the plaintiffs state that they are willing that the allotment of stock made by the arbitrators shall stand with the exception of that to said Sulzner, as to which the controversy here is confined. Only defendants Sulzner, Maxwell, Moore, Aber, Hetzel, and Yoder join in the plea. The defendant Pinella has never been served, and is without the jurisdiction of this court.

The real contention in this case is between Duvall and Sulzner. The Gold Bullion Mining & Development Company really has no vested interest, and whatever it may acquire it must acquire through Duvall. It is alleged that at the meeting of the stockholders on the 9th day of January, 1906, Duvall made a declaration, and repeated it, that whatever interest he had should go to the company; but, while he did make some statements of that character, it is not shown by the testimony that he ever made any absolute renunciation of his right to this stock, or any valid transfer of his equity therein to the company. He states in that bill, in paragraphs 5 and 6, that he set apart 125,000 shares of his stock to promote the company's capitalization and development, and, in paragraph 8, that he is holding this stock, in part at least, for the promotion of the interests of the said corporation, while in paragraph 10, as above quoted, he still claims the property as his own. In paragraph 14 he alleges that he has determined to use said stock to the best interest of the plaintiff company and to transfer the same to it as and when the same may become vested in him. In paragraph 3 of the prayer he asks that the 80,083 shares be adjudged the property of the Gold Bullion Mining & Development Company and be delivered to it, and in paragraph 4 asks that the said 80,083 shares of the capital stock of the said Gold Bullion Mining & Development Company may be decreed and declared to be the property of the Gold Bullion Mining & Development Company, subject to the sale of such part thereof as may be necessary to reimburse the said William B. Duvall for the costs and expenses of this litigation, etc. It will thus be seen that the development company has no interest other than what Duvall may see fit to confer upon it, and that it has no title except what it may get through him. Notwithstanding his present declarations, in the bill which he filed on the 6th day of January, Duvall expressly claimed title in himself, and prayed that a decree be made requiring the whole block of stock to be retransferred to him. The declarations made by Duvall at the meeting on January 9th, as well as those contained in his present bill amount to nothing more than a declaration of intention on his part to use that stock, if he secures it, for the benefit of the company, and do not constitute such a valid assignment or transfer to the company as would warrant it in joining in this bill. The fact of the matter is that the company never did authorize its name to be used in connection with this bill, but after the bill was filed, and some time during the course of the litigation, it does appear that Duvall obtained the consent of some of the officers of the company at least to participate in the expense. However all this may be, the fact is that at the time the arbitration was held the company made no claim to any of this stock, and did not understand that it had any right to make such a claim. A good deal of stress has been laid upon the fact that the stockholders at that meeting elected one of their number to sit upon the arbitration board, and it is argued from that, that it was because of direct interest in this stock by the company that that election was had. But that is explained by the statement of several of the witnesses, to the effect that the company was suffering financially by reason of the dissension among its stockholders, and that at the time they were in need of financial aid, and that the object in having the company participate in the selection of arbitrators was to show the anxiety of the stockholders as a body in having the dissensions removed. Two of the arbitrators, Maxwell and Moore, were members of the board of directors of the development company, and two others, Miller and Gamble, were stockholders, so that, if the company had any claim on this stock or understood it had any right or title to any portion thereof, it would certainly have been declared and upheld by these gentlemen. So far as appears, also, the company has never taken any action indicating that it had any claim or title to this stock, or seeking to enforce any such claim. Sulzner is president of the company, and, if the other stockholders understood that the company itself had any right or title to this stock, or any portion thereof, they certainly would not refrain from taking some action looking towards the enforcement of such right. Altogether there is nothing shown in the testimony to establish any right in the development company to any notice of the arbitration, the lack of which notice is one of the grounds most vigorously urged against the validity of the arbitrators' award, although it is not alleged in the bill of complaint. The bill does allege lack of notice to Duvall and to Tebbetts; but it is sufficient to say concerning notice to Tebbetts that he admits in his testimony that he waived any notice, and he himself makes no complaint respecting it. As to Duvall, the testimony shows overwhelmingly and conclusively that he absolutely and repeatedly instructed the arbitrators to go ahead; that he had nothing further to say; that he had said all he wanted to, and for them to go ahead and dispose of the stock; that he did not care what disposition they made of it—he would be perfectly satisfied. It is alleged that these statements by Duvall were made prior to the completion of the board of arbitrators and prior to the execution of the agreement of submission by Sulzner, and this is probably the case so far as the execution of the agreement is concerned, but it is not the case so far as the constitution of the board of arbitrators is concerned. All the arbitrators had been agreed upon and determined before the meeting in Gamble's office on January 10th, and, while there is some uncertainty as to whether Mr. Marks was present with the other arbitrators on that occasion, yet the statements then made by Duvall were made with full knowledge of who constituted the board of arbitration, and his instruction was for them to go ahead immediately and dispose of this matter, and his positive declaration was that he did not want to be heard ; and it was not until he returned and found that the disposition made was not in accordance with his views that he thought of lack of notice to him as a ground of objection. Four of the members of the board of arbitrators being stockholders in the development company, and having been present at the various meetings when the difficulties between Duvall and Sulzner, and possibly others of the stockholders, were discussed, Duvall knew that they had heard in full his side of the case, and particularly at the meeting on January 9th, when he made several quite lengthy speeches, giving his position in regard to that stock, and informing every one fully of what his claim was. The claim he makes now that he ought to have had notice and been given an opportunity to be heard is an afterthought and without merit.

Tebbetts was present with him in Mr. Gamble's office on January 10th, and it was there and at that time that Tebbetts waived notice, and Duvall's declarations there were to the same effect, only stronger and more positive.

The averments of the bill that the arbitrators decided the question without hearing any evidence is really applicable only to the claims of Tebbetts and Duvall; but, even if they embraced the other claims, they are not supported by the testimony. No one but Duvall is claiming lack of notice, no one but Duvall is alleging lack of evidence, and no one but Duvall is questioning the entire correctness of the award of the arbitrators. All the parties, and it appears from the award that there were quite a number of them, who had or thought they had any claim upon any of this stock, appeared either in person or by attorney, or presented written orders from Duvall for the same, and no one has been shown to have been refused a hearing or to have lacked any notice. The testimony is that the arbitrators heard everybody and everything that was offered before them. As to the character of the evidence, however, there may be some question. The proceeding was not conducted as a proceeding at law, but was a common-law submission, and, as is usual in such cases, the hearings are not so strict and the rules of law and evidence not so much enforced as where the proceedings are conducted under court direction. Duvall evidently expected the arbitrators to act respecting his claim to this stock upon what they had heard from him outside of the meetings of the board of arbitration, in the meetings of the stockholders and officers of the company and elsewhere, and cannot complain that the arbitrators acted upon similar evidence in disposing of the claims of other parties. If he expected, and he unquestionably did, that the arbitrators would act upon that kind of evidence so far as his claim was concerned, he must not ob ject that they did the same thing regarding other claims. In fact, it is hard to understand how the arbitrators would have been expected to determine the questions before them simply upon representations made to them in their capacity as arbitrators, when, as we have seen, at least four of the five arbitrators had been thoroughly inoculated with the claims and demands of the various parties through the contentions and discussions which had arisen and occurred during the course of the meetings of the directors and stockholders of the company. The evidence perhaps was not of the character that we would prefer, and possibly not so satisfactory as it should have been, but no one is more responsible for that than Duvall himself, for the members of the board and their previous affiliations were all well known to him, and as has been stated, he evidently expected that they would arrive at their conclusion largely upon matters which had come to their knowledge prior to the time of their selection as arbitrators. All this, perhaps, is outside of the pleadings, as there is no allegation that the arbitrators decided the question without evidence, except as to Duvall's own claim and that of Tebbetts. The arbitrators heard evidence respecting the claims, and evidence of the kind and character that the parties evidently contemplated.

Another allegation of the bill is that the majority of the arbitrators acted throughout the whole proceedings with manifest unfairness, and with such partiality as to destroy the judicial character of said proceedings, etc. It might be sufficient in answer to this allegation of the bill to say that, since it fails to aver any participation or complicity therein on the part of Sulzner, it does not go far enough. “Partiality and some improper conduct of the arbitrators in making the award will not impeach it, unless the party benefited thereby be implicated in that misconduct.” Hostetter v. City of Pittsburgh, 107 Pa. 419. In order to sustain such a bill and set aside an award, “it is essential to aver and prove that the party benefited by the award participated in the fraud charged; but evidence that the arbitrator was partial and unfair, and knowingly made an improper decision, is insufficient for that purpose, without evidence that the parties benefited colluded with the arbitrators or practiced a fraud to procure the award.” Hartupee v. City of Pittsburgh et al., 131 Pa. 535, 19 Atl. 507. Now, the bill alleges no collusion or participation by Sulzner in any partial or unfair conduct on the part of the arbitrators, or any of them, if such there were; and consequently under these authorities much of the testimony that was taken in this case for the purpose of showing such misconduct and unfairness is incompetent and irrelevant. It may be that the arbitrators were partial, but, if so, what else was to be expected from their associations. Mr. Gamble, who was Duvall's special choice, objected to one of the arbitrators, but Mr. Duvall promptly advised him that he was acceptable to him, and the objection had to be withdrawn. Mr. Duvall knew that Mr. Miller, who for some time had been attorney for the development company, was the counsel of Mr. Sulzner and appeared for him in the former bill filed by Mr. Duvall. Not only that, but in the hearing on that bill, which was heard upon affidavits, Mr. Miller perhaps made the longest and strongest of all the affidavits in Sulzner's behalf, and Messrs. Maxwell and Moore also made affidavits for Sulzner in that case. “If, indeed, parties in controversy choose to waive the right of impartial trial, and purposely and avowed

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »