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UNITED STATES V. NEW YORK, 160 U. S. 598 (1896)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. New York, 160 U.S. 598 (1896)

United States v. New York

Nos. 45, 136

Argued October 17-18, 1895

Decided January 6, 1896

160 U.S. 598


Any claim made against an Executive Department

"involving disputed facts or controverted questions of law, where the amount in controversy exceeds three thousand dollars, or where the decision will affect a class of cases, or furnish a precedent for the future action of any Executive Department in the adjustment of a class of cases, without regard to the amount involved in the particular case, or where any authority, right, privilege or exemption is claimed or denied under the Constitution of the United States,"

may be transmitted to the Court of Claims by the head of such Department under Rev.Stat. § 1063 for final adjudication, provided, such claim be not barred by limitation, and be one of which, by reason of its subject matter and character, that court could take judicial cognizance at the voluntary suit of the claimant.

Any claim embraced by Rev.Stat., § 1063, without regard to its amount, and

Page 160 U. S. 599

whether the claimant consents or not, may be transmitted under the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 116, to the Court of Claims by the head of the Executive Department in which it is pending for a report to such Department of facts and conclusions of law for "its guidance and action."

Any claim embraced by that section may, in the discretion of the Executive Department in which it is pending, and with the expressed consent of the plaintiff, be transmitted to the Court of Claims, under the Act of March 3, 1887, c. 359, without regard to the amount involved, for a report, merely advisory in its character, of facts or conclusions of law.

In every case involving a claim of money transmitted by the head of an Executive Department to the Court of Claims under the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 116, a final judgment or decree may be rendered when it appears to the satisfaction of the court, upon the facts established, that the case is one of which the court at the time such claim was filed in the Department, could have taken jurisdiction at the voluntary suit of the claimant, for purposes of final adjudication.

Whether the words "or matter" in the second section of that act embrace any matters except those involving the payment of money, and of which the Court of Claims under the statutes regulating its jurisdiction could at the voluntary suit of the claimant, take cognizance for purposes of final judgment or decree is not considered.

As the claim of the New York, the subject of controversy in this case, was presented to the Treasury Department before it was barred by limitation, its transmission by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Court of Claims for adjudication was only a continuation of the original proceeding commenced in that Department in 1862, and the delay by the Department in disposing of the matter before the expiration of six years after the cause of action accrued could not impair the rights of the state.

The $91,320.84 paid by the State of New York for interest upon its bonds issued in 1861 to defray the expenses to be incurred in raising troops for the national defense was a principal sum which the United States agreed to pay, and not interest within the meaning of the rule prohibiting the allowance of interest accruing upon claims against the United States prior to the rendition of judgment thereon.

The claim of the State of New York for money paid on account of interest to the commissioners of the Canal Fund is not one against the United States for interest as such, but is a claim for costs, charges, and expenses properly incurred and paid by the state in aid of the general government, and is embraced by the act of Congress declaring that the states would be indemnified by the general government for money so expended.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 160 U. S. 600

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