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in a court of equity. Com. v. Filia- sents the question whether, in the abtreau (1914) 161 Ky. 434, 170 S. W. sence of its having been so presented, 1182, wherein the court said: “The any effect can be given to it. It seems maxim—'He who comes into equity to be well settled that such a matter must come with clean hands'—imposes need not be pleaded as a defense to a itself alike upon him who defends and suit. If it appears from the record, upon him who prosecutes a suit in it will be given effect notwithstanding equity. .

The maxim is broad it has not been pleaded. The theory enough to demand that he who prays upon which this is done is that in realfrom the chancellor protection as well ity it is not a matter of defense. It as he who seeks affirmative aid must is given effect to, not on defendopenly and frankly, without reserva- ant's account, but because of the pubtion or evasion, yield to the chancellor lic." that full measure of confidence and In Gilmore v. Thomas (1913) 252 truth which is prerequisite to the as- Mo. 147, 158 S. W. 577, it was said: sertion and exercise of chancery pow- "The doctrine that he who comes into ers, and the lack of which must neces- a court of equity must come with clean sarily repel him from a forum whose hands may be invoked by this court very foundation is mutual confidence on its own motion." and good faith."

The object to be attained in the apThe maxim need not be pleaded, for plication of the principle of this when the evidence discloses the un- maxim has been said to be the punishconscionable character of a transac- ment of the person guilty of the intion, the court, whether the maxim is equitable conduct, rather than the expleaded or not, will of its own motion ercise of any concern for his opponent apply the principle involved therein. in the litigation. Harton v. Little Memphis Keeley Institute v. Leslie E. (1914) 188 Ala. 640, 65 So. 951, where. Keeley Co. (1907) 16 L.R.A.(N.S.) in the court, in referring to this max921, 88 C. C. A. 112, 155 Fed. 964; im, said: “It is also made clear by Primeau v..Granfield (1912) 114 C. the authorities that the principle is C. A. 549, 193 Fed. 911, writ of cer- not invoked out of any regard or contiorari denied (1912) 225 U. S. 708, 56 cern for the adverse party, but more L. ed. 1267, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 839; Bent- in reproof to the plaintiff, and by way ley v. Tibbals (1915) 138 C. C. A. 489, of punishment for the wrong and con223 Fed. 252; Harton v. Little (1914) demnation thereof by the court." 188 Ala. 640, 65 So. 954; Creamer v. The requirements of the principle Bivert (1908) 214 Mo. 485, 113 S. W. involved in this maxim are not satis1118; Houtz v. Hellman (1910) 228 fied by a fulfilment of the literal lanMo. 655, 128 S. W. 1001; Gilmore v. guage of its demand. Com. v. FiliaThomas (1913) 252 Mo. 156, 158 S. W. treau (Ky.) supra. 577; Wertheimer-Swartz Shoe Co. v. The meaning of the maxim is that Wyble (1914) 261 Mo. 687, 170 S. W. a party to a suit in equity, in order to 1128.

obtain the relief sought, must not have Thus, in Memphis Keeley Institute been guilty of reprehensible conduct v. Leslie E. Keeley Co. (Fed.) supra, directly connected with the matter in after stating that the case was a clear controversy, and that any litigant who one within the rule that a court of is at fault in this respect will not reequity will not aid one who comes be

ceive the aid of a court of equity in fore it with unclean hands, the court

the protection of any rights which he said: “It should be noted, however,

may claim relating to the matter of though it is not relied on either by the the suit. lower court or by appellee's counsel United States.-Michigan Pipe Co. here, that the fact in regard to ap- v. Fremont Ditch, Pipe Line & Reserpellee's fraudulent misrepresenta- voir Co. (1901) 49 C. C. A. 324, 111 tions, as we have adjudged it, was not Fed. 284; Danciger v. Stone (1909) set up by appellants in their answer 187 Fed. 853; Union Cent. L. Ins. Co. as a defense to the suit.

v. Drake (1914) 131 C. C. A. 82, 214

This pre

Fed. 542; Weegham v. Killefer (1914) given rise to the rule of law that a 215 Fed. 171, affirmed in (1914) L.R.A. court òf equity will leave to remedy 1915A, 820, 131 C. C. A. 558, 215 Fed. at law, and will refuse to interpose 289; Bentley v. Tibbals (1915) 138 to grant relief to one who, in the matC. C. A. 489, 223 Fed. 247; Kenyon v. ter or transaction concerning which Weissberg (1917) 240 Fed. 536. he seeks aid, has been wanting in good

Georgia.-Employing Printers Club faith, honesty, or righteous dealing." v. Dr. Blosser Co. (1905) 122 Ga. 515, In Semonin v. Duerson (1891) 13 69 L.R.A. 90, 106 Am. St. Rep. 137, 50 Ky. L. Rep. 169, it was said: “'He S. E. 353, 2 Ann. Cas. 694.

who comes into equity must come with Kentucky. -Semonin V. Duerson clean hands;' or, as it is sometimes (1891) 13 Ky. L. Rep. 171; Pineville expressed, 'He that hath committed Land & Lumber Co. v. Hollingsworth iniquity shall not have equity. The (1899) 21 Ky. L. Rep. 902, 53 S. W. maxim assumes that the suitor asking 279; Bennett v. Stuart (1914) 161 Ky. the aid of a court of equity has him279, 170 S. W. 642.

self been guilty of conduct in violaMaine.-Conners v. Conners Bros. tion of the fundamental conceptions of Co. (1913) 110 Me. 434, 86 Atl. 843. equity jurisprudence, and therefore

Pennsylvania.-Scranton Electric refuses him all recognition and relief Light & H. Co. v. Scranton Illuminat- with reference to the subject-matter ing Heat & Power Co. (1886) 3 Pa. Co. or transaction in question. It says Ct. 635; Englander v. Apfelbaum that whenever a party who, as actor, (1913) 56 Pa. Super. Ct. 152.

seeks to set the judicial machinery in Washington.-LANGLEY v. DEVLIN motion and obtain some remedy, has (reported herewith) ante, 32.

violated conscience, or good faith, or Thus, in Bentley v. Tibbals (1915) other equitable principle, in his prior 138 C. C. A. 489, 223 Fed. 247, the conduct, then the doors of the court court said: “It is a venerable maxim will be shut against him; the court of equity that one who comes into will refuse to interfere on his behalf, equity must come with clean hands. to acknowledge his right, or to award A court which seeks to enforce on the him any remedy. Pom. Eq. Jur. § part of the defendant uprightness, 397." fairness, and conscientiousness also In Conners v. Conners Bros. Co. insists that, if relief is to be granted, (1913) 110 Me. 428, 86 Atl. 843, the it must be to a plaintiff whose conduct court, in quoting from 1 Pomeroy's is not inconsistent with the standards Equity Jurisprudence, $ 397, said: "It he asks to have applied to his adver- is an elementary principle of equity sary. In other words, the plaintiff's jurisprudence that 'whenever a party own conduct must not have been char- who, as actor, seeks to set the judicial acterized by a want of good faith or

machinery in motion and obtain some a violation of the principles of equity remedy, has violated conscience or and righteous dealing."

good faith, or other equitable princiIn Kenyon v. Weissberg (1917) 240

ple in his prior conduct, then the doors Fed. 536, it was said: “A court of

of the court will be shut against him equity acts only when and as

in limine; the court will refuse to in

conscience commands, and if the conduct

terfere on his behalf, to acknowledge of the plaintiff be offensive to the dic

his right or to award him any rem

This tates of natural justice, then whatever

edy.' 1 Pom. Eq. Jur. § 397. may be the rights he possessed, and

fundamental conception of equity has whatever use he may make of them in

been crystallized in the familiar maxa court of law, he will be held remedi

im, 'He who comes into a court of less in a court of equity. Weegham

equity must come with clean hands.'" v. Killefer (1914; D. C.) 215 Fed. 168. The often-heard maxims, 'He who goes

II. Misconduct justifying application of

maxim generally. into a court of equity must go with clean hands,' and 'He who has not

a. General rule. done equity cannot have equity,' have A court of equity, in applying the

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principle of "unclean hands," will not tion which would be condemned and lend its aid to a litigant who has been pronounced wrongful by honest and guilty of any reprehensible conduct fair-minded men will be sufficient to directly connected with the subject make the hands of the applicant unmatter of the litigation before the clean. Both courts and text-writers court.

have repeatedly spoken upon this subUnited States.-Weegham V. Kil- ject in no uncertain language. lefer (1914) 215 Fed. 171, affirmed in

He who has acted in bad faith, resort(1914) L.R.A.1915A, 820, 131 C. C. A. ed to trickery and deception, or been 558, 215 Fed. 289; Todd Protectograph guilty of fraud, injustice, or unfairCo. v. Hedman Mfg. Co. (1919) 254 ness, will appeal in vain to a court of Fed. 829.

conscience, even though in his wrongAlabama. Anders V. Sandlin doing he may have kept himself strict(1914) 191 Ala. 158, 67 So. 687.

ly 'within the law.'' California. -Johnston

v. Murphy In Brown v. Brown (1895) 66 Conn. (1918) Cal. App. —, 172 Pac. 616. 493, 34 Atl. 490, after a reference to

Connecticut. — Brown V. Brown the maxim, it was said: "Whenever a (1895) 66 Conn. 493, 34 Atl. 490. party who, as actor, seeks to set the Kentucky.-York Coal & Coke Co. v.

judicial machinery in motion to obtain Hamilton (1918) 182 Ky. 345, 206 S.

some relief, has himself violated conW. 616.

science or good faith in his prior conMassachusetts.-Lyons v. Elston

duct with the matter of the contro(1912) 211 Mass. 478, 98 N. E. 93. versy, then the door of the court will

Michigan.-Farr v. Childs (1918) - be shut against him; the court will reMich, -, 169 N. W. 868.

fuse to interfere in his behalf, to acNew Jersey.- Pendleton v. Gondolf knowledge his right, or award him (1915) 85 N. J. Eq. 308, 96 Atl. 50;

any remedy." Thomson Mach. Co. v. Brown (1918)

In C. F. Simmons Medicine Co. v. 104 Atl. 129.

Mansfield Drug Co. (1893) 93 Tenn. New York.-Public Service Commis

94, 23 S. W. 165, the court said: “The sion v. Brooklyn Heights R. Co. (1918)

principle is general, and is one of the 105 Misc. 254, P.U.R.1919B, 258, 172 N.

maxims of the court, that he who Y. Supp. 790.

comes into a court of equity, asking Oklahoma.International Land Co.

its interposition in his behalf, must v. Marshall (1908) 22 Okla. 693, 19

come with clean hands; and if it apL.R.A.(N.S.) 1056, 98 Pac. 957.

pear from the case made by him, or Pennsylvania.-Reynolds v. Boland

by his adversary, that he has himself (1902) 202 Pa. 648, 52 Atl. 19; Demp

been guilty of unconscientious, inequi

table, or immoral conduct, in and ster v. Baxmyer (1911) 231 Pa. 37, 79 Atl. 805.

about the same matters whereof he Tennessee.-C. F. Simmons Medi

complains of his adversary, or if his

claim to relief grows out of, or decine Co. v. Mansfield Drug Co. (1893) 93 Tenn. 94, 23 S. W. 165; Caldwell v.

pends upon, or is inseparably connectVirginia F. & M. Ins. Co. (1911) 124

ed with, his own prior fraud, he will Tenn. 593, 139 S. W. 703.

be repelled at the threshold of the Texas.-Sanders v. Cauley (1908)

court." 52 Tex. Civ. App. 261, 113 S. W. 560.

To deprive a suitor in a court of West Virginia.-Hale v. Hale (1907)

equity of its aid under the principle of 62 W. Va. 609, 14 L.R.A.(N.S.) 221, 59

the “clean hands" maxim, the wrong S. E. 1056.

complained of must be a wrong in a

legal as well as in a moral sense. Thus, in Weegham v. Killefer (1914)

Dering v. Winchelsea (1787) 1 Cox, Ch. 215 Fed. 171, affirmed in (1914) L.R.A.

Cas. 318, 29 Eng. Reprint, 1184, 2 Bos. 1915A, 820, 131 C. C. A. 558, 215 Fed.

& P. 270, 126 Eng. Reprint, 1276, 21 289, the court, referring to the maxim, Eng. Rul. Cas. 617. said: "Under this maxim, any wilful It must be inequitable in a substanact in regard to the matter in litiga- tial part thereof, and not merely in

4 A.L.R.-4.


some particular items or facts. In Galliland v. Williams (1913) 181 BARNES v. BARNES (reported herewith) Ala. 173, 61 So. 291, one who purante, 4.

chased a chattel which was subject to It has been held that the conduct a recorded mortgage, but to whom the complained of must be “morally repre- existence of the mortgage was unhensible as to known facts” to justify known, was held, in the application the application of the principle of this of the principle of this maxim, not to maxim. Vulcan Detinning Co. v. Amer- be entitled to be subrogated to the ican Can Co. (1906) 72 N. J. Eq. 387, 12 rights of the mortgagee against the L.R.A.(N.S.) 102, 67 Atl. 339, where

seller where he (the purchaser) had in the court said: "'Unclean hands,'

not satisfied the mortgage, but had within the meaning of the maxim of

been sued by the mortgagee for the equity, is a figurative description of a

conversion of the property, and had class of suitors to whom a court of

been found guilty thereof, and the sum equity as a court of conscience will

recovered in the action represented not even listen, because the conduct of

the damages sustained because of the such suitors is itself unconscionable;

conversion, and not a satisfaction of i. e., morally reprehensible as to known facts."

the mortgage debt.

In HILL V. KAVANAUGH (reported The fact that a litigant has no remedy at law will not deter a court of

herewith), ante, 1, it was held that equity from the application of the

a county treasurer who placed public maxim in refusing to him its aid, if,

money in his personal account to obin connection with the subject-matter

tain for himself the interest was not of the litigation, he has been guilty of

in court with clean hands in seeking any unconscionable conduct. Miller subrogation after the failure of the v. Kraus (1915) Cal. App.

155 bank and an accounting by him. Pac. 834, rehearing denied in (1916) In Pon v. Wittman (1905) 147 Cal. Cal. 155 Pac. 838.

291, 2 L.R.A.(N.S.) 683, 81 Pac. 894,

the proprietor of a cigar stand and b. Illustrations.

restaurant located in the passageway In Jahn v. Champagne Lumber Co.

and only entrance to certain houses (1907) 152 Fed. 669, a creditors' suit

of prostitution, who claimed to have was brought against a corporation and

no interest in the business of such certain of its stockholders by the as

houses, was held not to be in court signee of a judgment. It was charged

with “clean hands” in seeking to enthat the defendants had, during the pendency of the suit in which the

join the police department from in

juring his business by picketing police . aforesaid judgment against the corporation was entered, fraudulently

officers in the said passageway, it havcaused the company to be disorgan- ing been found by the court that the ized for the purpose of defeating a

success of his business was mainly recovery on any judgment that should dependent on the continued maintebe rendered in such suit adverse to nance of the premises as houses of them, and that, to accomplish the said prostitution, and that the injunction purpose, the assets of the concern was sought in reality for the protecwere fraudulently distributed among

tion of the business of the latter. the stockholders. The bill prayed for

In Pittsburgh, C. C. & St. L. R. Co. a discovery as to the names, etc., of v. Crothersville (1902) 159 Ind. 330, the remaining stockholders. The de- 64 N. E. 914, the suit was to enjoin the fendants demurred to the complaint abatement of an alleged public nuiand refused the discovery. The court sance. The court held that the plainheld that, by demurring, the defend- tiff, in order to meet the requirements ants had admitted the charge in the of the principle of this maxim, should complaint, and by doing so and refus- have averred facts in its pleading ing the discovery they were in court showing that what was claimed by the with “unclean hands."

defendants to be a public nuisance

was not so in fact. In not having done court of equity to determine the prior80, the plaintiff apparently was con- ity of the claims of the company's sidered as seeking the aid of a court creditors. Because of the pendency of of equity to enjoin the abatement of a suit which had been instituted an admitted public nuisance, and for against the corporation for the apthat reason as being in court with “un- pointment of a receiver, which the clean hands;" for the court said: “It stockholders desired to avoid, certain is a well-settled maxim that he who of the latter had agreed among themcomes into equity must come with selves to advance and pay into the clean hands. Here appellant, under treasury of the company a certain sum the facts found, seeks the aid of equity of money, to be used in the payment to enjoin the appellees from abating of the debts of the concern, on condia public nuisance maintained by it, on tion "that certain of the creditors of the ground that they have no right to said company would extend the time abate it. To grant such relief to ap- of payment of their respective applicapellant, who is maintaining the public tions." These stockholders appeared

. nuisance, would be contrary to the on the receiver's petition as a class of well-settled principles of equity.” creditors of the company. The court

In Ilo Oil Co. v. Indiana Natural said: “This case presents some equiGas & Oil Co. (1910) 174 Ind. 635, 30 table features on both sides, and in a L.R.A. (N.S.) 1057, 92 N. E. 1, the com- measure involves the balancing of plainants sought to enjoin the defend- equities;" and evidently considered ant "from using devices for pumping the principle of this maxim applicable and from employing any other arti- to the claim of the stockholders making ficial power or appliance for the pur- the advances for priority over other pose of having the effect of increasing creditors of the company, since, after the natural flow of natural gas and holding that they were not entitled to oil from wells" of the defendant. The such priority, it further said: “Не court found that the complainants who comes into equity must do equity, themselves had been guilty of similar and come into the court with clean practices though in a lesser degree. hands to demand equitable relief." In that case it was said: “As appel- In Gates v. Fauvre (1918) Ind. lant (complainant) was guilty, al- App. 119 N. E. 155, a suit to enthough in a lesser degree, of the same force contribution among joint debtacts charged against appellee, the ors, it was held that the defendant, court will leave the parties where it having interposed techincal objections finds them, for the reason that he who to the complaint, was not in court with seeks equity must do equity, and must "clean hands” in so doing, and the recome into court with clean hands." lief desired by the complainant was

In Schilling v. Quinn (1912) 178 granted. Ind. 443, 99 N. E. 740, the suit was to In Gulf Ref. Co. y. Hart (1912) 130 enjoin a levy and sale under an execu- La. 51, 57 So. 581, it was held that the tion issued on a personal judgment purchaser of real estate of a married rendered in an action to foreclose a woman, the latter having sold the lien. The defendants objected to the property to such purchaser without form of the judgment. The court, in the concurrence of her husband, was, denying the relief prayed, held that under the principle of "unclean the defendants had an adequate rem- hands," not entitled to the relief edy at law by appeal, and for not hav- prayed for by him against other claiming paid the debt represented by the ants of the property. judgment, were not in court with In Dilly v. Barnard (1836) 8 Gill "clean hands," having "failed to dis- & J. (Md.) 170, a party to the suit alcharge their just obligation in the leged that he had been prevented from matter in controversy."

properly preparing his case by the In Roberts v. Vonnegut (1914) 58 failure of an opponent to live up to an Ind. App. 142, 104 N. E. 321, the re- agreement entered into between them, ceiver of a .corporation applied to a whereby such opponent was to with

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