American Bridge Co. v. Heidelbach

In American Bridge Co. v. Heidelbach, 94 U.S. 798 (1876), the mortgage included the rents, issues, and profits of a certain bridge, in so far as the same were not necessary to pay its operating expenses and the cost of keeping it in repair. The question in the case was whether earnings that had accrued from the use of the bridge before the bill of foreclosure was filed by the trustee were covered by the mortgage and prevailed over the rights of a judgment creditor. In that case it was said that "the mortgage could have no retrospective effect as to previous income and earnings. The bill of the trustees does not affect the rights of the parties. It is an attempt to extend the mortgage to what it cannot be made to reach. Such a proceeding does not create any new right. It can only enforce those which exist already." In American Bridge Co. v. Heidlebach, 94 U.S. 798 (1876), the mortgage included the rents, issues and profits of the mortgaged property, so far as it was necessary to keep it in repair, and pledged such rents, issues and profits to the payment of the interest on the mortgage bonds as it matured, and to the creation of a sinking fund for the redemption and payment of the principal. In the event of a continuous default for six months in meeting the interest, the trustees, upon the written request of the holders of one-half of the outstanding bonds, were authorized to take possession of the mortgaged premises, and receive all rents and claims due and to become due to the company. In a contest between the trustees and a judgment creditor, as to which was entitled to certain moneys in the hands of the mortgagor, the decision was in favor of the creditor, the court saying: "In this case, upon the default which occurred, the mortgagees had the option to take personal possession of the mortgaged premises, or to file a bill, have a receiver appointed, and possession delivered to him. In either case, the income would thereafter have been theirs. Until one or the other was done, the mortgagor, as Lord Mansfield said in Chinnery v. Black, 3 Doug. 390, was `owner to all the world, and entitled to all the profit made.'"