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Southern Pacific Railroad Company of Mexico v. White

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 27, 1933

Y. C. WHITE, as Superintendent of Banks of the State of Arizona, and Ex-Officio Receiver of SONORA BANK & TRUST COMPANY, an Insolvent Banking Corporation, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Santa Cruz. W. A. O'Connor, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. Francis M. Hartman, for Appellant.

Mr. James V. Robins, for Appellee.


Page 1028

[42 Ariz. 448] LOCKWOOD, J.

This is an appeal by Southern Pacific Railroad Company of Mexico, hereinafter called the company, from a judgment of the superior court of Santa Cruz county denying the company's application for preference for a claim in the sum of 25,000 pesos Mexican money, against the assets of Sonora Bank & Trust Company, hereinafter called the bank, an insolvent banking corporation, but allowing the claim as an ordinary one.

There are some five assignments of error, three of which go to the findings of fact and the other two to the law of the case. It is necessary, therefore, that we first determine the facts and then the law applicable to such facts. It is, of course, the rule of the court that the findings of fact of the trial court, if supported by any reasonable evidence, are accepted as true. Tombstone M. & M. Co. v. Way Up M. Co., 1 Ariz, 426, 25 P. 794; Wright v. Young, 20 Ariz. 46, 176 P. 583. It is also the rule that in case any findings of facts are necessary to support the judgment, but are not formally made by the trial court, if there is reasonable evidence in the record which would sustain such necessary findings it will be presumed the trial court so found. Blackford v. Neaves, 23 Ariz, 501, 205 P. 587; Thomas v. Newcomb, 26 Ariz. 47, 221 P. 226; The first Baptist Church v. Connor, 30 Ariz. 234, 245 P. 932.

We think a statement of the facts so found, and those not found but necessary to support the judgment, is better made in a narrative form, for the sake [42 Ariz. 449] of clarity, rather than in a formal manner. The following is admittedly correct, or else if disputed finds reasonable support in the evidence:

For many years prior to November 19, 1931, the company was engaged in the railroad business in the Republic of Mexico, while the bank was engaged in the banking business at Nogales, Arizona. During this time the company transacted a large portion of its banking business with the bank and carried on deposit with it two separate accounts, one in United States and the other in Mexican money. In April, 1930, the Mexican government prohibited the importation into the Republic of Mexico of Mexican silver money of any coinage, and such law was in force from that date and during all the times herein mentioned. A large portion of the receipts of the company in the Republic of Mexico was in Mexican silver, but due to the law above referred to, if such silver were once exported from Mexico it could not be brought back into that country. From and after the adoption of this law, while the company carried at all times a deposit account with the bank in Mexican money, it deposited little, if any, actual Mexican silver in the bank; its credits of such money being obtained generally in the following manner: The company would collect Mexican silver in the state of Sonora and would deposit it in the Banco de Sonora, a Mexican banking corporation, which had branches in different places in the state of Sonora, to the credit of the bank. Upon legal notification of such deposits the bank would give appropriate credits on its books to the company's deposit. When the company desired actual silver to be used in Sonora to meet its pay-roll, much of which was paid in Mexican silver, it would notify the bank what it desired and the bank would telegraph to the main office of the Banco de Sonora at Hermosillo to deliver [42 Ariz. 450] the quantity of Mexican silver desired to Wells Fargo & Company Express S. A., a Mexican corporation, which did business only in the Republic of Mexico, and the express company would then transmit the actual silver to the place and person requested by the company. The bank was expressly instructed by the company that it was not to make any charge against the company's deposit with it upon the receipt of these orders, but was to wait until the receipt given the express company for the silver so delivered to it from the Banco de Sonora had been received by the bank, when and not until when, it was authorized to charge our the amount from the company's deposit. Due to the difference in location of the bank and the main

Page 1029

office of the Banco de Sonora, several days would necessarily elapse between the sending of the order by the bank to the Banco de Sonora to deliver the silver to the express company and the arrival at the bank of the receipt for the silver issued by the express company. This made it necessary for the bank to pay the Banco de Sonora for the silver from its own funds on deposit there some time before ir charged out the amount so paid from the company's deposit with it, and in order to keeep its records straight ir opened a special so-called "float account" with the company, against which it charged the cost of the purchase of silver from the Banco de Sonora, as aforesaid, and which it credited with the same amount as soon as the receipt from the express company arrived, then and not till then, charging it against the peso deposit of the company. This was the general course of such business known and approved by both the bank and the company.

The special transaction upon which this suit if founded was as follows: On November 10, 1931, the company caused the following telegram to be delivered to the bank:

[42 Ariz. 451] "Guadalajara, Nov. ...

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