Legal Subject: Mala Fides

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Aitcheson v. Stalker 1777 Bill (Financial Instrument), Death - Presumption of, Mala Fides In January 1770, Andrew Stalker accepted a bill for £42 sterling payable to his sister-in-law, Rebecca Spreull. Both of them died shortly afterward. Spreull's husband, John of Milton, sued Stalker's nephew, Samuel, for payment of this bill. The Sheriff of Lanark found Samuel Stalker liable, but around that time (March 1771) John Spreull died. The trustees of Spreull's son, who had been abroad, then obtained confirmation and charged Stalker upon the Sheriff's order. The case went dormant for several years, but in January 1777 Lord Kennet found Stalker liable. Stalker then petitioned the Court to alter this interlocutor, claiming several additional grounds of compensation. He also contended that the confirmation of John Aitcheson, the surviving trustee, was inept, for the person in whose name it was given - John Spreull, junior - had perished in a shipwreck shortly before his father's death. Furthermore, Stalker claimed that the original decreet charged on was null and void, for John Spreull, senior, had died shortly beforehand. John Aitcheson countered the suspender's various pleas of compensation, and declared that Stalker's contention regarding the death of Spreull, senior, was clearly false. He also claimed that there was no evidence that Spreull, junior, had been lost at sea, and that he was merely "abroad on business."
Keltie v. Finlay 1776 Bill (Financial Instrument), Mala Fides, Expenses, Fraud, Class In January 1770, John Finlay granted a bill to James Beveridge. Shortly afterward he made a partial payment to Thomas Beveridge, who had possession of the bill. A note of this partial payment was marked on the bill, but five years later David Keltie, the bill's endorsee, sued Finlay for its full amount. By this point the bill had been torn and the receipt of partial payment was disfigured. Finlay thus accused Keltie of bad faith ("pessima fide") and fraud, and petitioned the Court to exempt him from paying any additional part of the bill. After Keltie produced the torn-off section of the bill, Lord Barskimming decreed that Finlay would only have to pay the remaining balance, but that he was responsible for expenses. Finlay petitioned the court to overturn this ruling, arguing that Keltie was responsible for the court fees, having unjustly pressed him for more money than was due. Keltie in turn argued that Finlay's inconsistent testimony was to blame for the unnecessary expenses. He claimed that much of the confusion arose from whether the receipt was denominated in pounds Scots or sterling. Keltie argued that he was right to have insisted in favor of pounds Scots: likening the suspender to "the lower sort of people in this country," he claimed that "people of inferior rank in Scotland, to this day, generally count in Scots, and not in Sterling money."
Macindoe v. Cowley, Wallace, Crawford, and French 1780 Military, Optima Fide, Jurisdiction, Mala Fides, Damages, Wrongful imprisonment, Freemasonry This case concerns the forced enlistment and imprisonment for desertion of John Macindoe, Glasgow hair-dresser. In February of 1777, while in a drunken state, John Macindoe pledged himself to the army in exchange for a shilling from Ensign Hugh Wallace. A few weeks later, upon the order of Captain William Cowley, Macindoe was seized by a group of soldiers and imprisoned for refusing to enlist. Macindoe applied to the Court by a bill of suspension and liberation, and Lords Covington and Kennet ordered Macindoe set at liberty. Macindoe then brought action for damages and expenses against Wallace and Cowley, and against the bailies who had ordered his imprisonment. He claimed that his false imprisonment had led to the ruin of his business, and that he had been forced to enlist in another regiment out of necessity. Bailies French and Crawfurd, on the other hand, argued that because Macindoe was presently a soldier, therefore "the only consequence of his not being found a soldier in one regiment, was, that he would soon be a soldier in another.” They also argued that as bailies they had merely judged erroneously, and not acted out of malice. The Court assoilzied Crawfurd and French, as well as Cowley. Ensign Wallace then petitioned the Court for assoilment as well, stating that he had "innocently and bona fide" believed that Macindoe's enlistment was legitimate.
Macredie v. Cunninghames 1778 Power of Attorney, Mala Fides, Plantation Thomas Macredie, a business associate of William Cunninghame, died intestate in July of 1753, leaving a 400-acre plantation in Augusta County, Virginia. Andrew and William Macredies, father and brother of Thomas, respectively, successively corresponded with William Cunninghame regarding the sale of "Macredie's Quarter," and when he returned to Glasgow in 1762, his brother, Alexander, took over the matter. Eventually the plantation was sold to Colonel Thomas Slaughter, who became bankrupt before making any payments on the land. In April of 1773, a few months after the death of Alexander Cunninghame, William Macredie brought action against William Cunninghame for the price of Macredie's Quarter, arguing that Cunninghame had spitefully withheld the bond for the land, following a dispute over Cunninghame's commission. William Cunninghame, on the other hand, argued that he had never been the official power of attorney, and therefore was not responsible for delivering the bond to Macredie. Lord Barskimming assoilzied (cleared) Cunninghame, and Macredie brought action against the heirs of Alexander Cunninghame. Cunninghame's heirs, the defenders, argued that the fault lay with Macredie, who had failed to seek out Alexander Cunninghame while he was still alive. After Barskimming assoilzied the defenders, Macredie reclaimed, and William Cunninghame was then ordained to exhibit all relevant correspondence on the matter. According to Macredie, these letters provided evidence of "collusion and artifice"; he therefore asked the Court to alter Barskimming's assoilment. Shortly afterward, however, for reasons not disclosed in the court documents, Macredie withdrew his objection to the Cunninghames' assoilment, and Lord Barskimming found Macredie liable for their legal expenses.