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White v. Hamilton

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 11, 1931

NOBLE E. WHITE, M. A. WHITE, THOMAS YOUNG, LIZZIE WILLIAMS, FREDA FILER, MARY E. SCOTT and CLEMENZA SNOW, Appellants,
v.
NOLA HAMILTON, CLAY CREDILLE, TENNIE CREDILLE, BETTIE SCOTT, JENNIE LUCAS and BERTHA PERKINS, Trustees of Palm Chapter No. 3, Order of Eastern Star, a Secret Society, Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Joseph S. Jenckes Judge. Judgment reversed and cause remanded for a new trial.

Mr. Robert L. Fortune and Messrs. Speakman & Seaman, Associate Counsel on Appeal, for Appellants.

Mr. V. L. Hash, for Appellees.

OPINION

[38 Ariz. 257] ROSS, J.

The pleadings in this case present for determination the question as to which, the plaintiffs or defendants, are the trustees of the Palm Chapter No. 3, Order of Eastern Star of Arizona, and entitled to its property, the use of its name, and the exercise of its functions.

The plaintiffs, consisting of Nola Hamilton et al., in their complaint, defendants, consisting of Noble E. White et al., in their answer and cross-complaint, and that Palm Chapter No. 3 obtained its charter from the Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star of Arizona. So the issue in dispute was as to who were the trustees of that chapter, all other being incidental. Neither side questioned the legality of the chapter or that the source of its existence and powers was other than the Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star of Arizona. It is true defendants alleged in their cross-complaint that plaintiffs had withdrawn from Palm Chapter No. 3, but plaintiffs came back with a flat unequivocal denial of that averment.

[38 Ariz. 258] It is elementary that parties are bound by their pleadings. What is admitted by both parties is binding alike on them and the court, and neither party may introduce evidence to contradict or disprove what he admits or asserts as a fact in his pleadings. We call particular attention to the only issue to be tried, not only because of its importance, but because of the little notice it received in the final determination of the case.

The case was tried before the court, without a jury. Written findings of fact were made and judgment entered thereon in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendants have appealed, but they have not brought up the evidence taken in the trial below. We have therefore only the pleadings, the substance of which we have stated, and the findings and judgment, and the sufficiency of the assignments must be determined by this limited record.

One of the assignments made by defendants is that the "judgment is contrary to the pleadings of both parties and to the findings of fact." The formal written findings and the judgment we quote

Page 125

"1. That Palm Chapter No. 3, Order of the Eastern Star is a secret society and was organized in Texas under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons and it withdrew and affiliated with the grand lodge of Masons of Ariz.

"2. The Court further finds that the said Palm Chapter No. 3, on the 12th day of September, 1929, at a regular, meeting held by said lodge, withdrew from the Grand Lodge of Ariz.

"3. The Court further finds that all the property, paraphernalia and money belonging to said Palm Chapter No. 3, is the property of the said Palm Chapter No. 3, and of the plaintiffs.

"4. The Court finds that the name 'Palm Chapter No. 3' is the property of the plaintiffs and not ...


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