DENNISON V. UNITED STATES, 168 U. S. 241 (1897)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dennison v. United States, 168 U.S. 241 (1897)

Dennison v. United States

No. 84

Argued and submitted November 2, 1897

Decided November 29, 1897

168 U.S. 241


To entitle a supervisor of elections to a valid claim against the government, he must make it appear that the services performed were required by the letter of Rev.Stat. § 2020 and § 2026, or were such as were actually and necessarily performed in the proper execution of the duties therein prescribed, and that his charges therefor are covered by Rev.Stat. § 2031, or, if not fixed in the very words of that section, that, by analogy to some other service, he is entitled to make a corresponding charge.

If the services were only performed for his own convenience, or were manifestly unnecessary or useless, even if they be such as he judges proper himself, they cannot be made the basis of a claim against the government.

It is held that the applicant, a Chief Supervisor, should have been allowed for drawing instructions to supervisors, and, in the absence of proof to the contrary, for the full amount of his claim for auditing claims of and drawing payrolls of supervisors, and certifying the same to the marshal, and all the other claims, enumerated in the opinion of the court, are disallowed.

The ruling in Cromwell v. Sac County, 94 U. S. 351, that when a second action between the same parties is upon a different claim or demand, the judgment in the prior action operates as an estoppel only as to those matters in issue or points controverted, upon the determination of which the finding or verdict was rendered, affirmed and applied.

This was a petition by the Chief Supervisor for the Northern District of New York for fees and disbursements connected with the general election of 1890, amounting to $16,612.79, of which $2,752.60 were disallowed by the Treasury Department; for like fees and disbursements connected with the general

Page 168 U. S. 242

election of 1892, amounting to $18,998.94, of which $2,581.75 were disallowed, and also for fees connected with the examination of witnesses to show that certain supervisors, who had been appointed in the City of Troy to attend a congressional election in 1888, had been deterred from discharging their duties by violence, or threats of violence, by disorderly persons. This account amounted to $624.65, of which $402.65 were disallowed.

The petition alleged that all these accounts had been approved and allowed by the district court.

Upon a finding of facts which do not differ materially from those set up in the petition, the Court of Claims directed a judgment in favor of the petitioner for $678.10, whereupon petitioner appealed to this Court.

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