by the parties interested if he made a preliminary report upon it. He accordingly submitted such preliminary report. In accordance with the view we have taken, this report has remained on file without action thereon by the court, and without it being even called to the attention of the court, beyond the fact of its having been filed. As, however, it was filed and thus became a matter of record, we do not see that any one interested could be denied the right to make such use of it as he properly might.
Exceptions of Common Stockholders.
We cheerfully accord to any stockholder, however small his holdings, all his legal rights. These include the right to object to a plan which has secured the approval of the majority. Equality and fairness are not determined by the brute force of numbers. Too often the rights of the small investor are disregarded and ignored because he is small, and, because small, of little or no importance. The mere fact that the exceptions are presented by the holder of a relatively small number of shares of common stock should not prejudice the objections urged to the plan. Expressed in percentage, the objecting shares are.002 per cent. of the total issue. The shares, although relatively few, have all the rights to a hearing which the many have. None the less, when out of a total issue of 1,105,560 shares only one stockholder, representing 2,300 shares, appears in opposition to a plan, the query naturally arises why the arguments which are advanced to persuade us have made no appeal to those most concerned.
The brunt of the argument is borne by the fact that the business prospects of the debtor have much improved over the situation existing when the petition was filed. Elaborate and very cleverly constructed charts have been prepared to forcibly impress this truth upon us. The main insistence of the objecting stockholder is that the plan should be referred again to the master to receive testimony in support of the fact of improvement in general business conditions. We see no need of this. The fact is one of which the court can take judicial notice. We accept the charts submitted as illustrative of this improved condition. It may well be that if the business conditions prevailing to day had been present when the petition was filed, it would not have been filed. A creditor is a queer animal. Impress him with the thought that his debtor is amply solvent and easily able to pay the debt and he will urge the debtor to withhold payment. Let him suspect that the debtor is unable to pay, and he instantly and insistently demands payment, with consequences not only disastrous to his debtor, but often to himself. The situation which made it the part of wisdom to put the debt obligation of the debtor in manageable shape when the petition was filed may recur. If the debtor can be put on financial Easy Street it is well to do it and to do it when the "going is good."
As before remarked, the only objections which are urged to the plan are made by some of the preferred stockholders solely on the ground that it unduly favors the common stock and by one common stockholder that it favors the preferred stockholders to the prejudice of the common stock.They are largely outvoted by those whose interests are the same as their own, and the arguments of each may be left to be answered by the arguments of the other.
The plan has received the close and thorough study of the master, who has analyzed and discussed it so as to elicit praise from all interests. We have had pointed out to us no reasons for withholding our approval. The common stockholder exceptant failed to comply with our rules by not filing his exceptions with the master. The reasons for the requirement are obvious. The exceptions were, however, filed in compliance with the Equity Rules. We admit them to the record as filed in time.
The like right is extended to what we treat as the exceptions of Ross C. Patton, with this comment: We have already granted him leave to bring his action against the company.
A formal decree dismissing the exceptions to the master's report, confirming the same, and approving the plan of reorganization, may be submitted.
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