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UNITED STATES v. MINNESOTA MUTUAL INVESTMENT COMPANY

decided: May 24, 1926.

UNITED STATES
v.
MINNESOTA MUTUAL INVESTMENT COMPANY



ERROR TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO.

Taft, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Sanford, Stone

Author: Taft

[ 271 U.S. Page 214]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Minnesota Mutual Investment Company is a corporation of South Dakota, doing business in Colorado. It sued the United States for $571.26, under the Tucker Act, Judicial Code, § 24, par. 20. Its claim arises under the following circumstances. In a cause pending in the United States District Court for Colorado, the Investment Company was plaintiff, and McGirr and others were defendants. The plaintiff was required to place in the registry of the court $15,143.92, which the clerk of the court immediately deposited in the First National Bank of Denver, Colorado, designated by the court as one of its depositaries. The money remained in the bank to the credit of the court from June 7, 1918, until May 6, 1920, when it was returned to the Investment Company. During that period the bank paid interest on this deposit of 2 per cent. per annum, semi-annually, into the United States Treasury for the use of the Government. The

[ 271 U.S. Page 215]

     petition alleges that, for a long series of years prior to this, interest paid by the bank on such court funds had been added to the deposit for the benefit of the party adjudged to own it, but that, shortly before this deposit, the Secretary of the Treasury, by regulation, required all United States depositaries having court funds to pay interest at 2 per cent. to the Treasurer of the United States for its use.

The petition avers that the United States was not interested in the sum of money so deposited, had no right, title, or interest therein directly or indirectly, and that the interest so paid was and is the property of the plaintiff and was received by the United States for the use and benefit of the plaintiff, and judgment was asked therefor.

The United States filed a demurrer to the complaint, which was overruled. It then answered alleging that the United States through its proper officers had entered into a contract concerning the payment of interest upon all government deposits, including the court funds, carried with the bank by virtue of its designation as a depositary of the United States, under the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury under authority conferred upon him by the laws of the United States; that this contract consisted of an offer made on behalf of the United States and its acceptance by the First National Bank by its President; and that, accordingly, $571.26 was paid to the United States by the Bank; that, in consideration of such payment, the United States allowed the bank the use of all government deposits held on deposit, allowed the bank the prestige and advertising connected with its handling of such government deposits, kept safe in its custody the collateral security pledged by the bank to secure the deposits, and supervised the depositary in all matters in connection with the deposit. Accompanying the answer was the correspondence claimed to embody

[ 271 U.S. Page 216]

     the contract between the United States and the bank. A demurrer to the answer of the defendant was sustained, and the judgment for $571.26 followed. Direct appeal to this Court was allowed to the United States under the Tucker Act (Act of March 3, 1887, §§ 4 and 9, c. 359, 24 Stat. 505,) because taken before the taking effect of the Act of February 13, 1925, 43 Stat. 936, c. 229, § 14.

Section 995 of the Revised Statutes provides:

"All moneys paid into any court of the United States, or received by the officers thereof, in any cause pending or adjudicated in such court, shall be forthwith deposited with the Treasurer, an assistant treasurer, or a designated depositary of the United States, in the name and to the credit of such court: Provided, That nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the delivery of ...


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