Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COUDERT v. UNITED STATES.

decided: November 20, 1899.

COUDERT, ADMINISTRATOR
v.
UNITED STATES.



ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Author: Mckenna

[ 175 U.S. Page 178]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiff bases his right of action on the act of March 3, 1887, c. 359, known as the Tucker Act, 24 Stat. 505, and the following facts:

In November, 1863, the United States vessel Granite City seized the Spanish bark Teresita, the property of Raphael Madrazo, in the Gulf of Mexico as a blockade runner. Proceedings were instituted for her condemnation and forfeiture in the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. By order of the court, dated August 23, 1864, she and her cargo were sold by the United States marshal, and the proceeds of the sale, amounting to the sum of $10,359.20, after deducting costs and other charges, were deposited by the marshal in the First National Bank of New Orleans, a special or designated depositary of public moneys of the United States,

[ 175 U.S. Page 179]

     to await the further order of the court. Judgment was subsequently rendered in favor of the claimant against the United States, from which the latter appealed to the Supreme Court, obtaining a supersedeas pending the appeal. The judgment was affirmed and restitution of the vessel and cargo directed. The Teresita, 5 Wall. 180.

Pending the appeal to the Supreme Court, the bank failed, and a receiver was duly appointed of its assets. In liquidating its affairs the receiver paid Madrazo during his lifetime, and to his representatives after his death, dividends amounting in all to $8183.87, the first payment May 1, 1871, the last on September 28, 1882. Madrazo died in Cuba on the 14th of April, 1877, and on the 20th of September, 1888, ancillary letters of administration were issued in the county of New York to the plaintiff in error.

After the payment of September 28, 1882, the receiver had no further funds applicable to the claim. This action was brought September 24, 1888, for the sum of $2175.43, the balance of the proceeds of the sale after deducting the payments made by the receiver.

The Circuit Court rendered judgment for the plaintiff for the amount claimed with interest from September 28, 1882. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, 38 U.S. App. 515, and the case was brought here.

The contention of plaintiff in error is that the deposit of the proceeds of the sale of the Teresita in the First National Bank of New Orleans, then a depositary of the public moneys of the United States, was a payment into the Treasury of the United States, and hence a receipt thereof by the United States, and, "consequently, a sum of money equal to the whole of such net proceeds must be held to have become payable to the claimant by the United States under the decree of restitution wholly irrespective of any loss of particular assets of the Treasury through the failure of the bank."

A similar contention was made upon facts very much the same in Branch v. United States, 100 U.S. 673. In that case certain cotton was seized under the Confiscation Act and sold during the progress of a suit for its condemnation by order of

[ 175 U.S. Page 180]

     the court, and the proceeds deposited by the clerk to await the further order of the court in the First National Bank of Selma, Alabama, upon a notification of the Secretary of the Interior that such bank had been designated by the Secretary of the Treasury as a depositary of public money. The suit was dismissed and judgment entered in favor of the defendants for costs. Pending the suit the bank failed, and in the proceedings for winding up its affairs a dividend upon the deposit was paid to the court, and then by order paid over to the claimants. A suit was brought against the United States for the balance of the original deposit upon the ground that the Selma bank was at the time of the deposit a designated depositary of public money and was part of the Treasury of the United States, and that consequently a deposit in it was a payment into the Treasury of the United States, binding the latter to its return if the decision of the court should be against condemnation. To the contention the court answered by Chief Justice Waite: "The position assumed by the appellants is to our minds wholly untenable. The designated depositaries are intended as places for the deposit of the public moneys of the United States; that is to say, moneys belonging to the United States. No officer of the United States can charge the Government with liability for moneys in his hands not public moneys by depositing them to his own credit in a bank designated as a depositary. In this case, the money deposited belonged for the time being to the court, and was held as a trust fund pending the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.