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fore unläwfully entering into a mis- sist the vendee without liability for cegenetic marriage has been held suf- costs to the vendor, to obtain a recovficient to justify a refusal of its aid ery of the land conveyed in the deed, by a court of equity to a party thereto which was declared by a statute to be seeking the annulment of such a mar- void, the land being then in the posriage. Marre v. Marre (1914) 184 Mo. session of a third person, the defendApp. 198, 168 S. W. 636.

ant, and held by him under color of In Schaffer v. Krestovnikow (1917) title. The complainants were held to 88 N. J. Eq. 192, 102 Atl. 246, judg- be in court with "unclean hands," and ment affirmed on rehearing in (1918) disentitled to the relief prayed. Lenoir 88 N. J. Eq. 523, 103 Atl. 913, and v. Mining Co. (1889) 88 Tenn. 168, 14 on appeal in (1918) – N. J. Eq. - S. W. 378. 105 Atl. 239, it was held that, if

3. Qualification of rule. the cohabitation of a man with a

However, where an illegal agreewoman for a considerable number of

ment is not directly connected with years was criminal, he having mar

the matter in litigation, a court of ried her during the life of her for

equity will not refuse its aid to a party mer husband after having convinced

against whom the illegal agreement her that she was not legally married

is set up, on the theory that such parto the former husband under the laws

ty is in court with "unclean hands." of the foreign country in which her

Yale Gas Stove Co. v. Wilcox (1894) prior marriage had been celebrated,

64 Conn. 101, 25 L.R.A. 90, 42 Am. St. he was in court with “unclean hands,"

Rep. 159, 29 Atl. 303, wherein a conhaving continued the cohabitation

tract for the sale of certain patents long after the death of such former

to a joint-stock company organized for husband, and with the knowledge

the manufacture and sale of the patthereof, in seeking the annulment of

ented article was held illegal as being his own marriage to her on the ground

a violation of the "joint-stock law" of that she was a married woman at the

the state. In an action to hold the time of his marriage to her, which

promoter accountable to the company fact was then unknown to him.

for secret profits realized on the sale In Ewald v. Ewald (1914) 219 Mass. 111, 106 N. E. 567, wherein the plain

of the patents to the company, based

upon the concealment from the latter tiff, in a suit to procure the annulment

of the fact of an agreement between of her marriage to the defendant,

the promoter and the patentee to dipleaded that the marriage had been

vide the proceeds of the sale, it was entered into contrary to law, in that

held that the illegality of the conthe parties to the suit, in order to

tract made by the company for the evade the law of the forum, had gone

purchase of the patent was so unconinto another state, and were married

nected with the matter in litigation before the expiration of the period

as not to bar the relief sought in the during which the defendant was, by

action by the company under the printhe lex fori, prohibited from remarry

ciple of “unclean hands.” ing after the granting to a former wife

In Kinner v. Lake Shore & M. S. R. of a divorce from him, it was held that

Co. (1902) 23 Ohio C. C. 294, an unshe was in court with "unclean

lawful combination or conspiracy behands,” and not entitled to the relief

tween railroads to suppress competiprayed.

tion in their business was held not to Where the bill and exhibits in a suit

deprive a railroad of the right to rein equity in ejectment showed on their

lief in a suit to restrain one engaged face that the suit was being prose

in the railroad-ticket brokerage busicuted solely for the benefit of the

ness from selling tickets of the plainvendee, a court of equity will not give

tiff, purchased by him from passenrelief to the vendee in a champertous

gers. deed merely because the vendee saw In Lone Star Salt Co. v. Blount proper to join the vendor as a co-com

(1908) 49 Tex. Civ. App. 138, 107 S. plainant, the latter, as a part of the W. 1163, contracts in restraint of contract of sale, having agreed to as- trade, which had expired, were held not to deprive a party thereto of the IV. Breach of trust or confidence. right to relief in equity.

A court of equity will not aid one In Snell v. Snell (1915) 191 Ill. App.

who, standing in a relation of con239, the suit was to have a decree of

fidence to another, commits acts in divorce set aside and an annulment of

violation of his trust which, are imthe marriage decreed on the ground mediately connected with the subjectthat the defendant had formerly been

matter of the litigation. Pendleton v. married and divorced, and had mar

Gondolf (1915) 85 N. J. Eq. 308, 96 ried the complainant before the ex

Atl. 47; Helsley v. Fultz (1882) 76 Va. piration of the period following the

675. said decree of divorce within which he

Thus, in Pendleton v. Gondolf (N. was prohibited by law from contract

J.) supra, the court said:

“It is a ing a valid marriage. The fact that

maxim of equity that he who comes her marriage to the defendant was

into a court of equity must come with void, it was alleged, was unknown to

clean hands; and in the ordinary apthe complainant until some time after

plication of that maxim a court of the date on which her bill for a divorce

equity denies its remedies to a comvas granted. It was contended by plainant who has been guilty of bad the defendant that the complainant faith, fraud, or unconscionable acts in was not in court with “clean hands,"

the transaction which forms the basis for the reason that she did not allege

of his suit." in her complaint that she did not

In Farley v. St. Paul, M. & M. R. Co. know of the former marriage and di

(1882) 14 Fed. 114, it was held that vorce of the defendant at the time of

a receiver of railroad properties, who, procuring her divorce. The court held

by the aid of information acquired in that it was immaterial to the complain

his official capacity, conceived a plan ant's right to relief whether she knew

to gain control of the property, was of the defendant's prior marriage and

not in a position to obtain equitable divorce within the time prohibited by

relief from his associates in the fraudlaw for remarrying, and that it was

ulent design. In Farley v. Kittson therefore unnecessary for her to al

(1887) 120 U. S. 303, 30 L. ed. 684, 7 lege that she did or did not have

Sup. Ct. Rep. 534, that decision was knowledge of such prior marriage and

reversed on the ground that the facts divorce.

on which it was predicated were not so In ARADO V. ARADO (reported here

pleaded as to be before the court. with) ante, 28, the principle of "un

In Livingston v. Cochran (1878) 33 clean hands" was held to be inappli

Ark, 294, the specific performance of cable to a suit for divorce, wherein

a contract for the sale of real estate the defendant asked the court to annul the marriage on the ground that

was denied to one who conspired with the parties thereto were so related as

certain real estate dealers and with to make their marriage one of persons

a judge, who was also a dealer in real within the prohibited degrees of con

estate, and who had ordered and apsanguinity.

proved the sale, to stifle competitive In Gargano V. Pope (1904) 184

bidding at the sale, the judge bidding Mass. 571, 100 Am. St. Rep. 375, 69 N.

in the property and disguising the bid E. 343, it appeared that the plaintiff by having it returned in the name of nad been represented by certain of the the assignor of the plaintiff. defendants as her attorneys in an ac- In Semonin v. Duerson (1891) 13 tion against the other defendants for Ky. L. Rep. 169, it appeared that the damages for the death of her ; usband attorneys for the parties to an action by the wrongful act of the last named at law agreed on a compromise judgdefendants. The agreement between ment, unknown to one of the parties to the plaintiff and the attorneys was the litigation, the defendant in the inchampertous. It was held that the stant suit, and the fact that the judgplaintiff was none the less entitled to ment was a compromise judgment did have it set aside and to recover money not appear of record. Later an appeal withheld by the attorneys thereunder. was taken from that judgment, and it was reversed. It was held in a suit in plaintiff was not in court with “unequity to enforce the judgment as re- clean hands" because he had allowed versed, that the complainant, in pro- the defendant to believe for years that curing the reversal, had acted unfair- the suit in which the judgment was ly, and was not therefore in court with rendered had been abandoned. “clean hands," nor entitled to the re- In Snow v. Blount (1903) 182 Mass. lief prayed.

489, 65 N. E. 845, it appeared that the In Pitre v. Haas (1903) 110 La. 163, complainant had, by collusion with 34 So. 361, it was held that one con- the administrator, procured a private nected with the tax collector's or as- conveyance of property of the estate, sessor's office, who, with others, also the administrator falsely representing holding official positions, was engaged the facts to the court. It was held in speculating in the purchase of that he was not entitled to sue for the lands sold at tax sales, could not ob

cancelation of a mortgage on the tain the assistance of a court of equity property. in making use of the opportunities

In Gilmore v. Thomas (1913) 252 which his position afforded him of ob

Mo. 147, 158 S. W. 577, an executor taining advantages working in his own

who had purchased for himself propfavor, to the injury of others. In Pendleton v. Gondolf (1915) 85

erty of the estate was denied the aid N. J. 308, 96 Atl. 47, it was held that

of equity to reform the deed and quiet a party to a "wire-tapping" scheme

his title. which involved the corruption of a

In Sternberger v. Young (1907) 73 supposed employee of a telegraph com

N. J. Eq. 586, 75 Atl. 807, a real estate pany was not entitled to equitable re- age who had colluded with the proslief against one of his confederates. pective customer to sell at a reduced

In York v. Searles (1904) 97 App. price for a consideration to himself Div. 331, 90 N. Y. Supp. 37, affirmed in was held not to be entitled to the aid (1907) 189 N. Y. 573, 82 N. E. 1134, of equity to recover that consideraone who was secretly under contract tion. with another to sell on a commission In Binkley V. Nolt (1911) 46 Pa. basis the plant of an insolvent business Super. Ct. 531, it appeared that an adcorporation at an agreed price, which ministrator fraudulently permitted a would cover the entire indebtedness of judgment to be rendered against the the corporation, was held to have been

estate, to deceive creditors.

It was guilty of a breach of duty and lack of held that he was not entitled to have good faith, and therefore to be in

the judgment vacated. court with "unclean hands" in seek

In Shotwell v. Stickle (1914) 83 N. ing to enforce a contract which he had J. Eq. 188, 90 Atl. 246, it appeared that entered into with another to secure the executors of an estate agreed that for the latter an option on the said one of them should purchase the propplant, and in consideration of his serv- erty of the decedent at the executors' ices to receive an equal share of the sale, and this was done, and the deed promotion profits of a new corpora- thereto was executed in the name of tion to be organized, because of his the wife of such executor. The wife concealment of the fact of the exist- subsequently died, leaving her brothence of the first-mentioned contract. ers as her heirs at law. It was held, in

In Flanagan v. Duncan (1890) 133 a suit for the partition of the property, Pa. 373, 7 L.R.A. 412, 19 Atl. 405, the instituted by the heirs against the suit was instituted by one partner to quondam executors, who were also the an adventure, against his copartner, children of the decedent, that the prinfor contribution of the latter's propor- ciple of the maxim had no application, tionate share of a judgment rendered the act of the executor in purchasing against the partnership in a suit aris- the property at the executors' sale not ing out of the adventure and paid by having any connection with the mat the plaintiff. It was held that the ter in litigation.

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V. Fraud.

denied in (1912) 225 U. S. 708, 56 L. a. General rule.

ed. 1267, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 839.

Georgia.—Peacock v. Terry (1850) To entitle a party to the aid of a

9 Ga. 147. court of equity under the principle of

Illinois.-Blackburn v. Bell (1879) the maxim, “He who comes into equity

91 Ill. 434. must come with clean hands," he must

Maryland.-Roman v. Mali (1875) be free from the imputation of fraud

42 Md. 513. connected with the matter in con

Michigan.-Dakin v. Rumsey (1895) troversy. Castroville Co-Op. Cream

104 Mich. 636, 62 N. W. 990. ery Co. v. Col (1907) 6 Cal. App. 533,

Missouri.Seibel v. Higham (1909) 92 Pac. 649; A. N. Chamberlain Medi

216 Mo. 137, 129 Am. St. Rep. 502, 115 cine Co. v. H. A. Chamberlain Medi

S. W. 987. cine Co. (1909) 43 Ind. App. 213, 86

New Jersey.-Pendleton v. Gondolf N. E. 1025; Wertheimer-Swartz Shoe Co. v. Wyble (1914) 261 Mo. 693, 170

(1915) 85 N. J. Eq. 308, 96 Atl. 50.

North Carolina. — Pinckston V. S. W. 1128; Fetridge v. Wells (1857) 4 Abb. Pr. (N. Y.) 144; Prince Mfg.

Brown (1857) 56 N. C. (3 Jones, Eq.)

494. Co. v. Prince's Metallic Paint Co.

Pennsylvania.-Rice v. Findlay Co. (1892) 135 N. Y. 24, 17 L.R.A. 129, 31 N. E. 990; Fay v. Lambourne (1908)

(1910) 19 Pa. Dist. R. 601. 124 App. Div. 245, 108 N. Y. Supp.

Tennessee.-C. F. Simmons Medi.

cine Co. v. Mansfield Drug Co. (1893) 874, order affirmed without opinion in (1909) 196 N. Y. 575, 90 N. E. 1158;

93 Tenn. 94, 23 S. W. 165.

Texas.Sanders v. Cauley (1908) Binkley v. Nolt (1911) 46 Pa. Super. Ct. 535.

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

Thus, in Farley v. St. Paul, M. & M. Thus, in A. N. Chamberlain Medicine Co. v. H. A. Chamberlain Medi

R. Co. (1882) 14 Fed. 117, wherein the cine Co. (1909) 43 Ind. App. 1025, 86

parties to the suit were in pari delicto,

the court said: “Courts will not and N. E. 1025, the court said: “It is an ancient and equitable rule that 'he

ought not to be made the agencies who comes into a court of equity must

whereby frauds are to be in any recome with pure hands and a pure con

spect recognized or aided.

Courts of equity will not recognize as science;' and it is also well established by the authorities that if a complain grounded in turpitude; nor will it un



enforce, any agreement ant in a court of equity claims relief

dertake to unravel a tangled web of against the fraud or imposition of oth

fraud for the purpose of enabling one ers, he must himself be free from the same charge with reference to the

of the fraudulent parties, after such

judicial disentanglement, to consumsame matter."

mate his fraudulent designs. The parIn Fetridge v. Wells (1857) 4 Abb. Pr. (N. Y.) 144, the court said:

ty complaining must come before the "Those who come into a court of

court with clean hands.” equity, seeking equity, must come with

In Primeau v. Granfield (1911) 114

C. C. A, 549, 193 Fed. 911, writ of cerpure hands and a pure conscience. If they claim relief against the fraud of

tiorari denied in (1912) 225 U. S. 708, others, they must be free themselves

56 L. ed. 1267, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 839, from the imputation."

it was said: "He that cometh into In the application of the principle equity must have clean hands. He of this maxim, therefore, a court of

that hath committed iniquity shall not equity will not protect a party to liti

have equity. He that hath engaged in gation before it who has perpetrated a fraudulent enterprise cannot com a fraud on another in connection with plain that his associate in fraud has the matter in litigation.

not kept the faith.” United States.—Farley v. St. Paul, In Blackburn V. Bell (1879) 91 M. & M. R. Co. (1882) 14 Fed. 117; Ill. 434, it was said: “Appellants and Primeau v. Granfield (1911) 114 C. C. appellee went hand in hand in the A. 549, 193 Fed. 911, writ of certiorari commission of a fraud. They must law."

abide the result; for if the wrongful for misconduct on the part of comacts have resulted in harm to one par plainant, it is not essential that the ty and profit to the other, then equity fraud or deceit be such as would be a will not relieve the wrongdoers from defense to an action at law, or even the consequences of their own con- that it should be such as would reduct, even against their fellow wrong- quire a court of equity to cancel the doer. The court of chancery will contract, as appears from quotation touch nothing that is impure, but will herein quoted from $ 400, Pom. Eq. close its doors against all who seek to Jur. vol. 1. If he has nevertheless come within its portals with unclean been guilty of unserupulous practices, hands, and will leave them to their or overreaching, or has concealed imnaked legal rights, as best they may portant facts, even though not actualbe able to get them, in the court of ly fraudulent, or been guilty of trick

ery, or taking undue advantage of his In Roman v. Mali (1875) 42 Md, 561, position, or other unconscientious conwherein it was said: "Such, then, be- duct, then a court of equity may deny ing the case, it falls directly within relief, although such may not constithe well-established principle that he

tute a defense at law." who comes into equity must come with The party to a suit, complaining clean hands; and if a party seeks to

that his opponent is in court with “uncancel or set aside an instrument, or

clean hands" because of a fraud perbe relieved of a transaction, or recover

petrated by the latter in the transacproperty, on the ground of fraud, and

tion out of which the litigation arose, he himself has been guilty of a wilful

or with which it is connected, must participation in the fraud, equity will

show that he himself has been injured not interpose in his behalf. This prin- thereby, to justify the application of ciple, it has been said, is founded in

the principle to the case. COCHRAN the soundest wisdom and policy of the

TIMBER Co. v. FISHER (reported herelaw, and it has been applied and en

with) ante, 9; Langdon v. Templeton forced by the courts with great uni

(1893) 66 Vt. 173, 182, 28 Atl. 866. formity.”

And see LANGLEY V. DEVLIN (reported In Nelson v. J. H. Winchell & Co. herewith) ante, 32.

) (1909) 203 Mass. 83, 23 L.R.A. (N.S.)

The fraud complained of need not 1150, 89 N. E. 180, a suit to restrain

have been perpetrated on a party to

the transaction out of which the suit the alleged infringement of a trademark of the plaintiff, who was a job

arose, but may be such as was direct

ed solely against third persons, who ber in shoes, by the defendants, who manufactured for the plaintiff the

were the parties to the suit complain

ing thereof. Barnes v. Starr (1894) shoes on which the latter placed his

64 Conn. 136, 154, 28 Atl. 980, wherein trademark, the defense interposed was

the court, after referring to this maxthat the plaintiff, in his trademark,

im and others included within its misrepresented himself as the man- operation, said: “A very numerous ufacturer. The court, in denying re

class of cases coming within the same lief, said: “This is but an application equitable doctrine is where the conof the common maxim that he who

tract or other act is substantially a seeks equity must come into court with fraud upon the rights, interests, or inclean hands. If his case discloses tentions of third parties. In a case of fraud, deception, or misrepresentation this kind, relief is refused to a plainon his own part, relief will be denied

tiff on the ground that he does not to him.”

come into court with clean hands. The It has been held that the fraud general rule is that the parties to a which will justify a court of equity in contract must act not only bona fide applying the principle of the maxim

between themselves, but that they need not be actionable fraud.

shall not act mala fide in respect to Thus, in Harton v. Little (1914) 188 other persons who stand in such a reAla, 640, 65 So. 951, the court said: lation to either as to be affected by the "For a court of equity to deny relief contract or its consequences.”


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