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draw from the case in consideration of with “unclean hands" in the suit, his release from all liability for the which was to recover from him the payment of any judgment that might value of certain improvements on his be rendered therein in favor of the property, made and paid for by her, first-mentioned party. The court and to recover for other expenditures found that the action complained of made out of her separate estate. had not prevented the complaining In Camden Iron Works v. Camden party from properly preparing his (1902) 64 N. J. Eq. 723, 52 Atl. 477, case, and held that such party, in stat- reversing (1900) 60 N. J. Eq. 211, 47 ing that he was prejudiced thereby, Atl. 220, the fact that a lien claimant was not in court with “clean hands," knowingly filed an excessive demand and was disentitled to the relief was held to bar a suit to foreclose his prayed.
liens. Where, in furtherance of and as a In Abraham v. Cincinnati (1903) 13 part of a fraudulent scheme, a party Ohio Dec. 627, the suit was in equity to a suit has paid a mortgage debt on by the trustee of a decedent's estate property, he is not in court with to remove a possible cloud from the "clean hands" in claiming the right of title of certain of the decedent's propsubrogation to the claim of the mort- erty that might result from certain gagee, and the benefit of the equitable acts of the decedent, which were done doctrine of subrogation should be by him during his lifetime, with a view denied to him. Lovejoy v. Bailey to the dedication of the land for a pub(1913) 214 Mass. 155, 101 N. E. 63. lic park. The promise so to dedicate
In Grocers' Journal Co. v. Midland the property was made by the decedent Pub. Co. (1907) 127 Mo. App. 356, 105 as an inducement to prospective purS. W. 310, the purchase of a trade chasers of real estate to buy adjacent journal, its good will, etc., by the com- property which he had for sale; and plainant, its merger into his own news- the court held, therefore, that, under paper, and the discontinuance of the the circumstances, the plaintiff was in name of the merged paper, were held to court with “unclean hands" in seeking preclude him from enjoining the pub- its aid in removing any cloud on the lication by another of a newspaper title to the property that might have bearing the name of the discontinued resulted from the acts of the decedent. journal, it appearing that complainant In Auman v. Cunfer (1906) 30 Pa. used the name of the discontinued Super. Ct. 368, the plaintiff sought an journal in advertising to deceive the injunction restraining the defendant public.
from interfering with the erection of A complainant who sought the aid one half of a line fence between the of a court of equity to restrain the de- lands of the parties to the suit, which fendants from discontinuing the tele- she sought to build under public auphone service at his premises by dis- thority, in order to charge the defendconnecting his extensiorr from the ant with its cost. The court found main line was held to be in court with that a partition fence between the "unclean hands,” and not entitled to properties had fallen into decay, and the relief prayed, because of his un- on notice of its condition the defenddertaking on numerous occasions fol- ant had repaired one half thereof. lowing the disconnection by the de- Subsequently the defendant had fendants to redress his own alleged erected a new and sufficient fence bewrongs by reconnecting his line with cause the former had been destroyed the main line in such a way as to de- by the plaintiff after its repair by the prive others of the service to which defendant. This fence had also been they were entitled. Primm v. White destroyed by the plaintiff. The latter, (1912) 162 Mo. App. 594, 142 S. W. in seeking the relief prayed, was held 802.
to be in court with “unclean hands." A wife who causelessly deserted her It was held in Wagner v. Wagner husband was held, in Black v. Black (1915) 60 Pa. Super. Ct. 526, a suit in (1878) 30 N. J. Eq. 215, to be in court equity in the nature of a bill to eject the defendant from premises of which 228, 16 S. E. 774, the suit was to rethe plaintiff (defendant's husband) cover on attachment bonds executed held the fee-simple title, that the by the defendant as surety in two acplaintiff was in court with "unclean tions at law, which involved the same hands” in seeking the relief prayed, questions and were precisely the same he having agreed, in proceedings pre- in every particular, with one apparentviously instituted by the defendant for ly unimportant exception. The atnonsupport, that she should occupy the tachments had been set aside at the premises involved in the suit.
instance of the plaintiff, against whom In York Coal & Coke Co. v. Hamil- they were issued, for informality in ton (1918) 182 Ky. 345, 206 S. W. 616, the attachment bonds, after an applithe suit was to quiet title, and was cation of the attaching creditors to brought by one who had, under an amend the bonds had been denied. abandoned survey, secured a patent to The court held that the purpose of the lands which he knew had been patent- attaching creditors in seeking the ed by another. It was held that he amendment of the bonds having been was not in court with clean hands. to give to the plaintiff a sufficient se
In Sweeney v. Wilkes-Barre (1916) curity against the results of unlawful 62 Pa. Super. Ct. 54, the suit was in attachments, he was in court with “unequity by an abutting property owner, clean hands” in seeking to recover on but in the interest, as stated by the the informally executed bonds. court, of an electric lighting company, In Longinette v. Shelton (1898) to restrain a municipality from inter- Tenn. —, 52 S. W. 1078, erasing fundfering with the use of a street under ing stamp from bank notes with acid and across which the plaintiff had laid before a tender of such notes in paya pipe through which he had run a ment of taxes and their refusal was wire for the purpose of procuring elec- held to bar a suit to recover money tric light from the lighting plant for paid in satisfaction of such taxes and himself and neighbors, which pipe and to test the validity of tender of said wire he leased to the lighting com- notes in payment thereof. pany. Permission not having been Cobb v. Gooch (1905) 40 Tex. Civ. first obtained from the city for the App. 82, 88 S. W. 401, forcible ejeclaying of the pipe and wire, and the tion by plaintiff, who was an applicant purpose in laying them evidently hav- for the purchase of public lands, of ing been to aid the lighting company the defendant, who was also an apto violate a statute requiring such plicant for the same section of land, permission, under the guise of an im- from latter's position at the head of provement made by a property owner the line of applicants for land, formed on his property, the plaintiff was held on the day of sale at the door of the to be in court with "unclean hands." county clerk's office, was successfully
In McVey v. Brendel (1891) 144 Pa. pleaded in defense of a suit to try the 235, 13 L.R.A. 377, 27 Am. St. Rep. 625, title of the defendant, to whom the 22 Atl. 912, a suit to enjoin the defend- land was awarded. ant from counterfeiting labels of the In Sanders v. Cauley (1908) 52 Tex. plaintiff, a cigar makers' union, which Civ. App. 261, 113 S. W. 560, removal the latter, by agreement with certain by the plaintiff, with the consent of manufacturers, was permitted to place the school trustees, of a house built on boxes containing cigars which were on land dedicated to school purposes, manufactured by union men, it was to land of the plaintiff, who was, by held that the purpose of the labels be- agreement with said trustees, to being “to do harm to nonunion men, to come the owner thereof, disclosed in prevent the sale of their work, to cover a suit to enjoin the removal of said them with opprobrium," the plaintiff house from plaintiff's land, was held was not in court with "clean hands,” to bar the plaintiff from equitable reand was consequently not entitled to lief. the relief prayed.
In Maxwell v. Maxwell (1911) 69 In Booker v. Smith (1892) 38 S. C. W. Va. 414, 71 S. E. 571, it was held that where the plaintiff in a suit for by assignees of his interest in syndidivorce on the ground of cruelty, cate, to require syndicate to pay to which consisted of accusations by the them his share of syndicate's funds defendant of improper conduct, etc., deposited in defunct bank, and lost by was herself guilty of like recrimina- its failure). tions, she was not entitled, under the In Mitchell v. Leland Co. (1917) 158 principle of "unclean hands," to the C. C. A. 329, 246 Fed. 103, the suit was relief sought.
to compel the transfer of a certificate In Raasch v. Raasch (1898) 100 Wis. of stock on the books of a corporation. 400, 76 N. W. 591, the act of the plain- It was held that the plaintiff, having tiff in inducing a husband to leave his been implicated in a concerted plan to wife in order to procure a reconvey- despoil the rightful owner of the cerance of real estate sold to the husband, tificate of his property therein by forand participation in a fraudulent con- cibly and unlawfully taking the certifiveyance of personalty on said land to
cate from the latter's possession and defeat an anticipated decree in favor
pretending to sell it at an execution of the wife in pending divorce pro- sale in satisfaction of a judgment by ceedings, were successfully pleaded by
default, obtained against the owner the wife, who was decreed divorce be
thereof, was in court with "unclean cause of such desertion, and awarded
hands," and was not entitled to the said property, in defense of a suit
relief prayed. against her to enforce a lien on the
In Public Service Commission v. property for unpaid purchase money.
Brooklyn Heights R. Co. (1918) 105 In Thomson Mach. Co. v. Brown
Misc. 254, P.U.R.1919B, 258, 172 N. Y. (1918) N. J. Eq. - 104 Atl. 129,
Supp. 790, it was held that years of it was held that injunctive relief
delay on the part of a street railway against unlawful acts of strikers
company to provide needed cars prewould not be denied because of a re
cluded it from objecting that an order fusal of the employer to agree to
requiring the furnishing of cars was mediation. One who wrongfully appropriates
inequitable, because of the high prices
due to war conditions, the court saythe property of another for his own
ing: “If the companies had ordered use will not receive the aid of a court
the 250 cars when they ought to have of equity in any matter with which
done so, they would have had them such reprehensible conduct is con
long ago, and much of this very serinected. Union Cent. L. Ins. Co. v.
ous congestion could have been preDrake (1914) 131 C. C. A. 82, 214 Fed.
vented. In view of these just public 536 (misappropriation of funds loaned
claims, which outweigh all others, the for purpose of satisfying mortgage);
court should give little heed to nice Commercial Nat. Bank V. Burch
considerations of equity, which might (1892) 141 Ill. 519, 33 Am. St. Rep.
be applicable were this a litigation 331, 31 N. E. 420 (forcibly taking
between private parties, involving books of accounts of corporation);
only private rights and interests. He Bennett v. Stuart (1914) 161 Ky. 264, 170 S. W. 542 (fraudulent misappro
who seeks equity must do equity,' and
'He who comes into equity must come priation of money advanced to pur
with clean hands, are maxims which chase mining land); Avery v. Central
are clearly pertinent in these proceedBank (1909) 221 Mo. 71, 119 S. W.
ings, in answer to the respondents' 1106 (fraudulent appropriation of
claims to be relieved on equitable funds of a bank by an officer and di
grounds from compliance with the orrector thereof); Lewis v. Holdrege
der of the Commission.” (1898) 56 Neb. 379, 76 N. W. 890, In Vulcan Detinning Co. v. Assmann modified so as to correct error in com- (1918) 185 App. Div. 399, 173 N. Y. putation (1898) 57 Neb. 219, 77 N. W. Supp. 334, it was held that a corpora656 (diversion by bank president to tion was not precluded from relief his personal use of bank's funds, caus- against the illicit use of a secret ing failure of bank, disclosed in suit process because of the fact that it introduced a spy into the works of the after examining them in textbooks and rival concern solely to obtain evidence reports, used those which he considof the infringement of its rights, and ered applicable to support his own not for the purpose of copying any original text?” The court was of the methods of the rival.
opinion that these acts did not amount In Dean v. Elyton Land Co. (1896) to an infringement, but held that in113 Ala. 276, 21 So. 213, it happened asmuch as the evidence disclosed that that a landlord, instead of proceeding the same methods had been employed in a legal manner to enforce his land- by the plaintiffs in the preparation of lord's lien on the personal property of their work, if these acts constituted a tenant for rent in arrears, took pos- literary piracy, then the plaintiffs session thereof, sold it, and applied the were not in court with “clean hands,” proceeds to the payment of the rent. and were not entitled to the relief One who held a mortgage on the goods prayed. then sued the landlord in an action at In International News Service v. Aslaw and recovered a judgment for sociated Press, 248 U. S. 215, 63 L. ed. damages for the appropriation of the 211, 2 A.L.R. 317, 39 Sup. Ct. Rep. 68, goods. In a suit instituted by the affirming (1917) 2 A.L.R. 293, 157 C. C. landlord against the mortgagee to en- A. 436, 245 Fed. 244, which modified force his lien on the goods for the (1917) 240 Fed. 983, the action was rent and for relief against the to enjoin the pirating of the complainjudgment at law, the court denied ant's news service by the appropriathe relief prayed, saying: "It is an tion and republication of items thereof ancient maxim that he who seeks without further investigation. It apequity must come with clean hands. peared that the complainant had haA complainant who cannot state his bitually taken items published by other case without showing that he has vio
news agencies as "tips" to be inveslated the law, offending the property
tigated, the result of the investigation rights of him whom he sues, will be
being later sold for publication. It
was held that this did not debar the denied relief in a court of equity. The principle is universal and recognized
complainant from the relief sought,
the court saying: “In the case before in many decisions of this court.”
us, in the present state of the pleadIf two authors, in preparing similar
ings and proofs, we need go no further works, follow the same procedure in
than to hold, as we do, that the adobtaining the material for their pub- mitted pursuit by complainant of the lications, and their acts constitute lit
practice of taking news items puberary piracy, a court of equity, in ap
lished by defendant's subscribers as plying the maxim, "He who comes into
tips to be investigated, and, if verified, equity must come with clean hands," the result of the investigation to be will not aid one in a suit against the sold,—the practice having been folother for the infringement of his copy- lowed by defendant also, and by news right. Therefore, in Edward Thomp- agencies generally,—is not shown to son Co. v. American Law Book Co. be such as to constitute an uncon(1903) 62 L.R.A. 607, 59 C. C. A. 148, scientious or inequitable attitude 122 Fed. 922, reversing (1903) 121 towards its adversary so as to fix upon Fed. 907, which was a suit between complainant the taint of unclean law-book publishers for the alleged in- hands, and debar it on this ground fringement of a copyright, the ques- from the relief to which it is otherwise tion raised by the acts of the defend- entitled.” ants complained of is stated in the
Under the principle of the maxim, opinion of the court as follows: "Is
a court of equity "would hesitate to a copyrighted law book infringed by a hear” one who, by actual violence, or subsequent work on the same subject duress per minas, has procured a powwhere the only accusation against the er of attorney to sell lands, sold the second author is that he collected all
property to himself, and then acquired available citations, including those an equitable title thereto.
Davis v. found in the copyrighted work, and, Davis (1890) 9 Mont. 274, 23 Pac. 715 And in Swan v. Castleman (1874) 4 equity with clean hands; and if they Baxt. (Tenn.) 257, it was held that the come with papers forged for the purplaintiff, who was charged by the de- pose of making a case, certainly they fendant with having coerced his would have no standing in court." (plaintiff's) wife into conveying her In Simcox's Estate (1894) 15 Pa. Co. real estate to a third person, who then Ct. 386, it appeared that a widow had reconveyed it to him and his wife forged an instrument, alleged by her jointly, was in court with "unclean to be the will of her deceased husband, hands" in a suit against one who, conveying the bulk of his estate to her, under a lease of the property, had ac- after destroying the authentic will by quired possession thereof and con- which the property was left to an intinued in possession after the expira- fant without a guardian. She was held tion of the term, under color of title. to be in court with “unclean hands" in
Furthermore, it has been held that resisting the assessment by the court where the execution of an instrument against her of the attorneys' and witis procured by promises not to pros- nesses' fees incurred in a suit ordered ecute someone charged with criminal by the court to be instituted for the conduct, or by threats of a criminal purpose of contesting the widow's prosecution, the consideration being right to retain the property. illegal, a court of equity will refuse its In BARNES V. BARNES (reported hereaid to either party to the transaction. with) ante, 4, it was held that where Shattuck v. Watson (1890) 53 Ark. the certain forgeries complained of 147, 7 L.R.A. 551, 13 S. W. 516 (prom- were only as to some of the items of ise not to prosecute for forgery); At- an account, a court of equity could not wood v. Fisk (1869) 101 Mass. 363, refuse an accounting as to other items 100 Am. Dec. 124 (promise not to pros- which were not forged. ecute for embezzlement).
One who, by his conduct, has acA court of equity, in the application quiesced in a wrong, is estopped from of the principle involved in the max- claiming that it precludes the wrongim, will refuse its aid to a litigant who doer from equitable relief. has committed forgery in connection In Snyder v. Kelter, 4 Alaska, 447, with the subject-matter of the suit in
acquiescence in the presence of bawdywhich such aid is sought. Harton v. houses was pleaded against plaintiff in McKee (1896) 73 Fed. 556. In that
a suit for their abatement. case the suit was for the specific per
In Conners V. Conners Bros. Co. formance of a contract for the sale of
(1913) 110 Me. 428, 86 Atl. 843, it was lands. The defendant had given to the
held that whether certain business plaintiff an option in writing to pur
transactions of the defendant corchase certain lands of the former, poration were in accordance with apwhich option it was sought to exercise.
proved business methods or The correct dates of certain letters alleged to have been fraudulently
fraudulent in law or reprehensible ir. changed by the plaintiff were essential
morals, the fact that the complainant to be known in determining whether
had knowledge thereof and consented the option had been abandoned. The
thereto was sufficient to bring his case evidence showed that the dates had
within the principle of this maxim. been changed, and the court denied the
In Ryan v. Miller (1911) 236 Mo. plaintiff the relief prayed, saying: "It
496, 139 S. W. 128, Ann. Cas. 1912D, is unnecessary to determine here as to
540, a subscriber to the stock of a corwhether or not these changes were
poration the purpose of which, known fraudulent to the extent contended for
to him, was to use the money subby the defendants; but certainly, if
scribed to gamble on horse racing, was the changes were fraudulent in the held to be in court with "unclean way which has been indicated above, hands" in seeking to rescind the confor the purpose of making a case for tract, and, after the undertaking had complainants, no court of equity failed, to recover the money invested would grant the complainants any re- in the enterprise on the ground of lief. They must come into a court of fraud.