HOWARD V. UNITED STATES, 184 U. S. 676 (1902)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Howard v. United States, 184 U.S. 676 (1902)

Howard v. United States

No. 121

Argued January 20, 1902

Decided March 21, 1902

184 U.S. 676


This suit was upon a bond taken by a circuit court of the United States from its clerk to secure the proper performance of his duties, and the circuit court could take cognizance of it, independently of the citizenship of the real parties in interest, as it was a suit arising under the laws of the United States, of which the circuit court was entitled to take original cognizance, concurrently with the courts of the state, even if the parties had been citizens of the same state; and, although the petition shows a case of diverse citizenship, jurisdiction was not dependent upon such citizenship.

That the clerk of the court was authorized, with the sanction or by order of the court, to receive money paid into court in a pending cause, is clearly to. be implied from the legislation of Congress referred to in the opinion of the court.

Congress, by the statutes referred to in the opinion of the court, intended the bond of a clerk of a circuit court should be for the protection of all suitors, public or private.

As the clerk had the right to receive the money in question; as he failed, to the injury of the suitor from whom he received it, with the sanction of the court in a pending cause, to deposit it as required by law, and appropriated it to his own use, and as his bond was for the protection of private suitors as well as for the government, there is no sound reason why the plaintiff could not enforce his rights by a suit in the name of the United States for his benefit.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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