UNITED STATES V. VERDIER, 164 U. S. 213 (1896)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Verdier, 164 U.S. 213 (1896)

United States v. Verdier

No. 49

Argued October 20, 1896

Decided November 16, 1896

164 U.S. 213


In actions in the Court of Claims, interest prior to the judgment cannot be allowed to claimants against the United States, but the provisions of Rev.Stat. § 966 peremptorily require it to be allowed to the United States against claimants under all circumstances to which the statute applies, and without regard to equities which might be considered between private parties.

This was a petition by the administrator of James R. Verdier, deceased, for the payment of a balance of $1,300.41, claimed to be due him upon a readjustment of his accounts as postmaster at Beaufort, South Carolina, from July 1, 1866, to April 30, 1869.

Upon a hearing in the Court of Claims, that court made the following findings of fact:

"1. James R. Verdier was a duly qualified postmaster at Beaufort, South Carolina, from July 1, 1866, to the 30th day of April, 1869."

"2. Upon his retirement from office, he appeared as indebted to the United States on the face of his postal accounts in the sum of $929.20. June 28, 1870, an action was brought by the United States against him on his official bond, in the United States District Court of South Carolina, to recover said sum, and July 5, 1870, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the United States for the sum of $1,063.20, which verdict was, upon motion of Verdier's attorney, set aside."

"October 31 following, the attorney for said Verdier consented that the case be submitted to the court, and upon said date the jury returned a verdict in favor of the United States against Verdier for the sum of $1,059.03; the costs were $36.80; total, $1,095.83. Judgment thereon was duly signed January 25, 1871."

"3. November 3, 1885, application was made to the Postmaster General by the administrator for a review and readjustment

Page 164 U. S. 214

of decedent's salary as postmaster aforesaid, under the provisions of the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 119, 22 Stat. 487. December 23, 1885, said salary was readjusted, and the sum of $2,892.84 found due said decedent's estate. August 4, 1886, a sum of money was appropriated by Congress to pay this and similar allowances. 24 Stat. 256, 307, 308."

"4. March 4, 1887, decedent's postal account was audited by the auditor for the Post Office Department, who charged his account with the aforesaid judgment and interest thereon from July 5, 1870, to August 4, 1886 (the date of appropriation), and costs of suit, the total thereof being the sum of $2,296.77, and deducted this sum from the amount of salary credited to said account, showing a balance of $596.07."

"June 20, 1887, the United States attorney for the aforesaid district was instructed to satisfy said judgment, which was accordingly done July 25, 1887."

"5. The sum of $596.07 was paid plaintiff, who gave the following receipt:"

"Transfer draft"

"Mailed Sept. 14, 1887. Received Sept. 26, 1887, the transfer draft of the Third Assistant Postmaster General, No. 4655, for 596 dollars .07 cents, in my favor, on the postmaster at New York, State of N.Y. _____, to the _____."

"W. J. Verdier, Administrator"

Upon these facts, the court found as a conclusion of law that the petitioner was entitled to recover in the sum of $1,233.57, 28 Ct.Cl. 268, for which amount judgment was entered, and the United States appealed.

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