Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to the Court of Claims and the same shall be there proceeded in under such rules as the court may adopt. When the facts and conclusions of law shall have been found, the court shall report its findings to the Department by which it was transmitted for its guidance and action : Provided, however, That if it shall have been transmitted with the consent of the claimant, or if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court upon the facts established, that under existing laws or the provisions of this chapter it has jurisdiction to render judgment or decree thereon, it shall proceed to do so, in the latter case giving to either party such further opportunity for hearing as in its judgment justice shall require, and shall report its findings therein to the department by which the same was referred to said court. The Secretary of the Treasury may, upon the certificate of any auditor, or of the Comptroller of the Treasury, direct any claim or matter, of which, by reason of the subject matter or character, the said court might under existing laws, take jurisdiction on the voluntary action of the claimant, to be transmitted, with all the vouchers, papers, documents and proofs pertaining thereto, to the said court for trial and adjudica

tion.” 12a

12a 36 St. at L. 1087. This statute allows judgment in favor of the claimant. U. S. v. New York, 160 U. S. 598, 40 L. ed. 551. “All cases transmitted by the head of any Department, or upon the certificate of any Auditor, or of the Comptroller of the Treasury according to the provisions of the preceding section, shall be proceeded in as other cases pending in the Court of Claims, and shall, in all respects, be subject to the same rules and regulations." Jud. Code, $ 149; 36 St. at L. 1087, re-enacting U. S. R. S., § 1064.

"The amount of any final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the claimant, in any case transmitted to the Court of Claims under the two preceding sections, shall be paid out of any specific ap

propriation applicable to the case, if any such there be; and where no such appropriation exists, the judg. ment or decree shall be paid in the same manner as other judgments of the said court.” Ibid., $ 150, reenacting U. S. R. S., § 1065. A diplomatic claim, presented by a foreign attorney to the Secretary of State, cannot be thus transmitted. Berger's Case, 36 Ct. Cl. 243. The reference of a claim by a Department to the Court of Claims, without jurisdiction to pay, does not give the court jurisdiction. Hart v. U. S., 118 U. S. 62, 30 L. ed. 96. A claim may be referred to the Court of Claims by an Executive Department, after the accounting officers have certified a balance in favor of the claimant. McKnight v. U. S., 13 Ct.

'Whenever any bill, except for a pension, is pending in either House of Congress providing for the payment of a claim against the United States, legal or equitable, or for a grant, gift, or bounty to any person, the House in which such bill is pending may, for the investigation and determination of facts, refer the same to the Court of Claims, which shall proceed with the same in accordance with such rules as it may adopt and report to such House the facts in the case and the amount, where the same can be liquidated, including any facts bearing upon the question whether there has been delay or laches in presenting such claim or applying for such grant, gift, or bounty, and any facts bearing upon the question whether the bar of any statute of limitation should be removed, or which shall be claimed to excuse the claimant for not having resorted to any established legal remedy, together with such conclusions as shall be sufficient to inform Congress of the nature and character of the demand, either as a claim, legal or equitable, or as a gratuity against the United States, and the amount, if any, legally or equitably due from the United States to the claimant: Provided, however, That if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court upon the facts established, that under existing laws or the provisions of this chapter, the subject matter of the bill is such that it has jurisdiction to render judgment or decree thereon, it shall proceed to do so, giving to either party such further opportunity for hearing as in its judgment justice shall require, and it shall report its proceedings therein to the House of Congress by which the same was referred to said court."' 13

Cl. 292. See also Delaware River S. B. Co. v. U. S., 5 Ct. Cl. 55; Winnisimmet Co. v. U. S., 12 Ct. Cl. 319. If, after the head of an Executive Department or the Secretary of the Treasury has transmitted a claim to the Court of Claims under U. S. R. S., & 1063, the claimant does not voluntarily prepare and file his petition, the court will, on motion, require him to do so. Bright v. U. 8., 6 Ct. Cl. 118; S. C., 8 Ct. C1. 326. The court cannot decline jurisdiction if the case comes

within the statute. Ibid. The Court of Claims will take jurisdiction of an agreed case which the head of a Department certifies to be correct and sufficient. Broulatour v. U. S., 7 Ct. Cl. 555; Am

eag Mfg. Co. v. U. S., 6 Ct. C. 99; S. C., as Mfg. Co. v. U. 8., 17 Wall, 592, 21 L. ed. 715.

13 Jud. Code, & 151; 36 St. at L. 1087, re-enacting 24 St. at L. 505, $ 14. Such a reference can only be made of a bill for the payment of money; not of a bill authorizing a

Other special statutes give the Court of Claims jurisdiction in certain cases.

14

or

suit. Cahalan's Case, 42 Ct. Cl. 280. It has been held that a claim against the District of Columbia cannot be referred to the Court of Claims by one House of Congress. Strachan v. District of Columbia, 20 Ct. C1. 484.

14 See, for example, U. S. R. S. $ 5261, (suits by land-grant railroads to recover the price of freight and transportation withheld by the Secretary of the Treasury); 18 St. at L. 453 (suits by such companies to recover the value of transportation of troops or property of the United States); 20 St. at L. 171, 324; 21 St, at L. 784; 22 St. at L. 284, 469; 23 St. at L. 242, 257, 372, 381; 21 St. at L. 284; (District of Columbia claims act): District of Columbia v. Barnes, 187 U. S. 637, 47 L. ed. 344; S. C., 197 U. S. 146, 49 L. ed. 699; 21 St. at L. 284; 22 St. at L. 284, 469; 23 St. at L. 242, 257, 372, 381; 35 St. at L. 424 (suits for the recovery of additional compensation for coal from Alaska mines); 33 St. at L. 806 (suits for back pay and emoluments during the period an officer was out of the army after an enforced resignation), see McLean v. U. S., 226 U. S. 374; Act of March 2, 1919, ch. 94, § 2, 40 St. at L. 1273, Comp. St. $ 3115 14/15 C (suits for compensation because of the cancellation of war contracts). Act of March 4, 1917, ch. 180, 39 St. at L. 1193 (Naval Emergency Fund Act); Act of June 15, 1917, ch. 29, 40 St. at L. 183 (Emergency Shipping Fund Act); Act of August 10, 1917, ch. 53, 40 St. at L. 279, 282, 285; Act of October 6, 1917, ch. 79, 40 St. at L. 353 (claims for land

for ordinance proving ground and naval construction); Act of March 1, 1918, ch. 19, 40 St. at L. 438, 439 (claims respecting shipping board housing); Act of March 21, 1918, ch. 25, sec. 3, 40 St. at L. 454 (claims of railroads); Act of April 22, 1918, ch. 62, 40 St. at L. 535 (claims in respect to shipping board trollies interurban railways); Act of April 26, 1918, ch. 64, 40 St. at L. 537, 538 (claims for land for ordnance proving ground); Act of May 16, 1918, ch. 74, sec. 2, 40 St. at L. 551 (claims for land taken for war housing); Act of July 1, 1918, ch. 114, sec. 5, pard. 40 St. at L. 720 (contracts for ships, war material, factories, etc.); Act of July 8, 1918, ch. 139, sec. 1, 40 St. at L. 826 (claims for buildings for war department); Joint Resolution of July 16, 1918, ch. 154, 40 St. at L. 904 (claims in relation to telegraph signals); Act of July 18, 1918, ch. 157, sec. 14, 40 St. at L. 916 (claims in relation to drydocks, wharves, warehouses, terminals, etc.); Act of Oct. 5, 1918, ch. 181, sec. 3, 40 St. at L. 1010 (claims for minerals, ores, mines, smelters, etc.); Act of Nov. 21, 1918, ch. 212, sec. 1, 40 St. at L. 1048 (claims for buildings for Department of Agriculture); Act of March 2, 1919, ch. 94, sec. 2, 40 St. at L. 1273 (claims for the adjustment of amount due upon war contracts entered into in good faith); U. S. Bedding Co. v. U. S., 55 Ct. Cl. 459. The filing of a petition in the Court of Claims under a statute providing that in that manner damages may be recovered for the taking of pri

"The said court shall have power to establish rules for its government and for the regulation of practice therein, and it may punish for contempt in the manner prescribed by the common law, may appoint commissioners, and may exercise such powers as are necessary to carry into effect the powers granted to it by law.”' 15

$ 671a. Equitable jurisdiction. The Court of Claims has no general equitable jurisdiction, nor jurisdiction to enforce specific performance.

Whenever any person shall present his petition to the Court of Claims alleging that he is or has been indebted to the United States as an officer or agent thereof, or by virtue of any contract therewith, or that he is the guarantor, or surety, or personal representative of any officer, or agent, or contractor so indebted, or that he or the person for whom he is such surety, guarantor, or personal representative has held any office or agency under the United States, or entered into any contract therewith, under which it may be or has been claimed that an indebtedness to the United States had arisen and exists, and that he or the person he represents has applied to the proper Department of the Government requesting that the account of such office, agency, or indebtedness may be adjusted and settled, and that three years have elapsed from the date of such application, and said account still remains unsettled and unadjusted, and that no suit upon the same has been brought by the United States, said court shall, due notice first being given to the head of said department and to the AttorneyGeneral of the United States, proceed to hear the parties and to ascertain the amount, if any, due the United States on said account. The Attorney-General shall represent the United States at the hearing of said cause. The court may postpone the same from time to time whenever justice shall require. The

vate property for public use, is a waiver of an objection by the plaintiff to the alleged unconstitutionality of such statute. Great Falls Mfg. Co. v. Att'y Gen., 124 U. S. 581, 31 L. ed. 527; U. S. v. Great Falls Mfg. Co., 112 U. S. 645, 28 L. ed. 846.

15 Jud. Code, $ 157, re-enacting 36 St. at L. 1087.

$ 671a. lU. S. v. Jones, 131 U. S. 1, 33 L. ed. 90.

2 Ibid.

judgment of said court or of the Supreme Court of the United States, to which an appeal shall lie, as in other cases, as to the amount due, shall be binding and conclusive upon the parties. The payment of such amount so found due by the court shall discharge such obligation. An action shall accrue to the United States against such principal, or surety, or representative to recover the amount so found due, which may be brought at any time within three years after the final judgment of said court, and unless suit shall be brought within said time, such claim and the claim on the original indebtedness shall be forever barred. The provisions of section one hundred and sixty-six shall apply to cases under this section." 3 The Court of Claims has jurisdiction of a claim against the United States for money claimed under a contract which would resemble a right of action at common law, but for the need of help from equity to establish 4 or to reform a contract. Under the Cherokee Acts, the Court of Claims has enjoined the Cherokee Nation and the United States from making any discrimination between certain persons in the distribution of a fund ? and has enjoined and directed the Secretary of the Interior to make a certain enrollment of land.8 No suit can be sustained merely upon moral or equitable considerations, not based upon any established rule of law or equity.9 The Court of Claims can not establish a land claim without specific statutory authority.10 If each of

3 Jud. Code, $ 180, re-enacting 24 St. at L, 505, § 3.

4 U. S. v. Milliken Imprinting Co., 202 U. S. 168, 174, 50 L. ed. 980, 983.

5 District of Columbia v. Barnes, 197 U. S. 146, 49 L. ed. 699; U. S. v. Milliken Imprinting Co., 202 U. S. 168, 174, 50 L. ed. 980, 983; Cramp v. U. S., 239 U. S. 221.

6 26 St. at L. 36; 32 St. at L. 726, 996.

7 Whitmire v. Cherokee Nation, 30 Ct. Cl. 138, 180.

8 Whitmire v. Cherokee Nation, 44 Ct. Cl. 453; reversed, without considering this point, Cherokee Nation v.

Whitmire, 223 U. S. 108, 56 L. ed. 370.

9 Bonner v. U. S., 9 Wall. 156, 19 L. ed. 666; McClure v. U. S., 116 U. S. 145, 29 L. ed. 572; Tillison v. U. S., 100 U. S. 43, 25 L. ed. 543.

10 U. S. v. Jones, 131 U. S. 1, 33 L. ed. 90, supra, $$ 96, 98, The papers and record of the Court of Private Land Claims, which had been abolished are on file in the Department of the Interior. 32 Stat. at L. 1083, 1144. The Commissioner of the General Land Office now exercises its powers in the approval of surveys executed under its decrees or confirmations. 33 Stat. at L. 452,

« AnteriorContinuar »