William Trimble v. Adam Stroud
This case is interesting procedurally because it involves an appeal from a Justice of the Peace Court to a Circuit Court, and then a certification from the Circuit Court to the Superior Court. It begins some time in 1823 when Adam Stroud, a prominent resident of Clark County, one of its original citizens, and the administrator of Phoebe Patton's estate, executed a note to attorney and judge William Trimble for $75 for professional services rendered in the management of the estate. Trimble was apparently never paid and sued Stroud to recover the sum. The case is termed a suit in "assumpsit" in at least one place. Assumpsit was an action of trespass on the case for breach of a contract, where damages are an unascertained sum. The case is also referred to in some pleadings as an "amicable action on an account." Whatever the cause of action, Trimble brought his suit at a Justice of the Peace court held before Daniel Ringo, a Justice of the Peace for Caddo Township, in Clark County on March 4, 1828. The court met near the house of Adam Stroud. Both parties appeared "in proper person," that is, without attorneys, before Justice Ringo. Trimble sued for the entire $75, but Stroud only acknowledged himself indebted for $50 he did not dispute that he owed that amount. The court ruled that Trimble could get the $50 and his costs from the estate of Phoebe Patton that was now in the hands of Stroud. Trimble appealed for the rest of the money, and the case was removed to the Clark County Circuit Court. No bond was required of Trimble on this appeal.
Daniel Ringo was also the clerk of the Clark County Circuit Court, and he filed the note on March 4, 1828. On March 5, court was held, called by Sheriff James Miles, and because William Trimble was the presiding judge at the Clark County Circuit Court by an act of the legislature, the court certified the case to the Superior Court. Trimble could not, of course, preside over his own case in court! On April 5, 1828, Ringo officially certified the appeal and on April 14, D.E. McKinney, the clerk of the Superior Court filed the certification. On April 28, 1828, Trimble and Stroud submitted the case to the court without a jury. The Court heard all of the evidence and arguments, but took time to consider their verdict before issuing its opinion the next day. The court ruled that Trimble was entitled to $60 for his debt and costs. The sum was to be levied of Stroud from the assets of Phoebe Patton's estate which were as yet undistributed.
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