Anderson v. Fox

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Anderson v. Fox, 12 Va. (2 Hen. & M.) 245 (1808), [1] was a dispute where the court determined whether a co-signer could sell and buy for himself the slaves of the borrower, prior to the debt becoming due.


Nelson Anderson was the co-signer of Richard Anderson’s debt. Richard Anderson could not pay the debt when it became due, thus a woman named Milley and her two children were to be sold to satisfy it. However, prior to the sale, John Fox claimed he had actual possession over Milley. Fox argued his wife had lived with the Anderson family for a considerable amount of time and upon her death, the Andersons never returned his wife's slaves back to him. Nelson Anderson, hoping to avoid responsibility of the debt, agreed to indemnify the sheriff, so that he could purchase Milley. Fox brought an action in the District Court of Richmond against the sheriff for the sale of Milley and obtained a money judgment against the sheriff. However, on May 9, 1801, Nelson Anderson along with the Sheriff filed a joint complaint requesting the Court declare Anderson a bona fide purchaser of Milley and effectively dismiss the money judgment against the sheriff.

The Court's Decision

Initially, Chancellor Wythe granted the injunction and declared Nelson Anderson a bona fide purchaser. However, at a later hearing, the Chancellor dissolved the injunction and dismissed the case. On appeal, the Court reversed in part and affirmed in part. The Court of Appeals believed Chancellor Wythe was right in dismissing the injunction against John Fox. However, the Court also believed the Chancellor should have taken an account of Fox's administration of his wife's estate to ensure there was no error.

See also


  1. William Hening & William Munford, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia: with Select Cases, Relating Chiefly to Points of Practice, Decided by the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District (Flatbush, N.Y.: I. Riley, 1809), 2:245.