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Hammer v. Hammer

Decided: June 24, 1955.

ANGELA C. HAMMER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ARMAND HAMMER AND UNITED DISTILLERS OF AMERICA, INC., A BODY CORPORATE, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. ARMAND HAMMER, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT, V. ANGELA C. HAMMER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Clapp, S.j.a.d.

Clapp

[36 NJSuper Page 267] Appeal is taken by Mrs. Angela C. Hammer from an interlocutory order of the Chancery Division which enjoins her from instituting or prosecuting in any jurisdiction other than New Jersey any action against any defendant in the cause, including specifically four actions pending in the New York Supreme Court, and which, further, consolidates two actions in the New Jersey Superior Court. The appeal attacks the injunction and the consolidation, and this necessitates in the first place a somewhat detailed statement by us of the six actions mentioned, in order to show wherein they overlap.

Of these actions, the one first instituted was for an account. It was commenced by Mrs. Hammer on April 30, 1954 in the New Jersey Superior Court against her husband, Dr. Armand Hammer, and a corporation in which he has an interest. In her complaint she alleges that he and she had formed a partnership for the operation of a farm and later for the raising of Angus cattle, and that he had appropriated to himself her share of the partnership assets. Her amended and supplemental complaint, filed January 19, 1955, contains also this accusation of cruelty:

"The defendant violated the faith, trust and confidence reposed in him by her and willfully, maliciously and deliberately and in the advancement of his personal, private and selfish interests, pursued a course or conduct, employed techniques, tactics and practices calculated and designed to cause her to be and become ill and disabled and to destroy her will. That he connived to bring about and induce the illness from which she is suffering in an attempt to render her destitute and mentally, physically and legally incompetent and helpless to deprive her of her interest in the partnership and to render no accounting to her."

The other action in the New Jersey Superior Court was commenced next, namely, on November 5, 1954. This was brought by Dr. Hammer against his wife for divorce on the ground of extreme cruelty. On January 8, 1955 she filed an answer, referring to the charges made by her in the accounting action, but elaborating considerably on the subject of his cruelty toward her:

"4. * * * (D): * * * That she has been excluded from participating in the operation of said partnership business since on or about the month of August 1952, and the defendants have dishonestly appropriated all of the assets and profits of the partnership to themselves, in an attempt to and for the express purpose of cheating, defrauding and depriving her of her lawful rights and interest in and to the partnership profits and property. She further states that her husband possesses tremendous wealth, is highly influential in political, business and social circles, and with all of the power, influence and resources at his command he is attempting to destroy her.

(H) * * * [On one occasion he] threatened her with serious bodily violence and injury and to 'beat her brains out' while brandishing

a metal pipe and pursued her so that she was required to summon the police to her home for protection and to prevent him from executing the threats made by him against her.

FIRST SEPARATE DEFENSE * * * That he willfully, maliciously and deliberately and in the advancement of his personal, private and selfish interests, pursued a course of conduct, employed techniques, tacts and practices, calculated and designed to cause her to be and become ill and disabled and to destroy her will. That he exploited her for his own ends and he connived to bring about and induce the illness from which she is suffering, in an attempt to render her destitute, and mentally, physically and legally incompetent and helpless and thus to deprive her of her marital rights, property and property rights, income and the proceeds therefrom.

SECOND SEPARATE DEFENSE * * * [On another occasion he] flew into a rage and brutally attacked her, blackening her eyes and injuring her nose and face, as a result of which she suffered great pain and deep mortification and shame. * * * he persisted in his excessive attentions to and familiarities with other women, knowing full well the distressing and harmful effects upon her mental and physical health. She further alleges that he continued to threaten, intimidate and assault her, to make life generally miserable for her and to impair her health in an attempt to render it impossible for her to continue to cohabit with him."

Of the four New York actions brought by her, one was for an account, duplicating in part her New Jersey accounting action; another was for conversion, also reiterating in part her New Jersey accounting action; and a third was for the replevin of a yacht. Mrs. Hammer seems to submit to the restraint imposed below as to these three actions, making no protest whatever to us as to them. But we cannot ignore the litigation; it enters into the accusation, made against her, of multiplying suits.

In her fourth New York action she asks for separation and support from her husband, charging him with cruelty and desertion. Though the summons here is dated October 29, 1954, it seems to be conceded that under New York law the suit is not to be deemed to have been commenced until January 7, ...


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