CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.
Hughes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Cardozo
MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.
Respondent brought suit against the petitioner, receiver of The First National Bank of New Bern, North Carolina, an insolvent national bank, to recover money alleged to have been paid to the bank upon trust for the purchase, for respondent, of United States bonds. Judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for respondent, was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 52 F.2d 821. This Court granted certiorari.
The case was tried to the court without a jury and the facts are not in dispute. Respondent maintained an interest-bearing
savings account with the bank, in which his credit balance on October 14, 1929, was $1,961.31. Shortly before that date, respondent had had conversations with an officer of the bank in the course of which the latter signified the willingness of the bank to purchase $4,000 of United States bonds for respondent. On October 10 he stated to respondent that the bank would send to Richmond for the bonds and asked him to bring to the bank on the 14th such amount, in addition to his credit balance, as would be required to pay for the bonds. On the latter date respondent drew a check for $2,100 upon another bank, which he deposited in his savings account, thus increasing his deposit balance to $4,061.31. On the 15th, the same officer of the bank informed respondent that the bonds had been ordered and on the 19th said to him, "I have your bonds," and handed to him a charge slip which stated: "This is to advise you that we have this day charged your account as follows:
"4,000 Fourth L. L. 4 1/4% Bonds $3,960.00
On October 21, the bank charged respondent's savings account on its books with $3,964.60, and credited a like amount as a "deposit" in a "bond account" appearing on its books. The bond account contained only a daily record of credits in the account of checks and deposits and their total, without any reference to respondent or any other customer of the bank. The nature and purpose of the account does not otherwise appear. When the bank closed its doors on October 26, it was discovered that in fact no bonds had been ...