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BENEDICT V. NEW YORK, 250 U. S. 321 (1919)

U.S. Supreme Court

Benedict v. New York, 250 U.S. 321 (1919)

Benedict v. New York

No. 315

Argued April 22, 1919

Decided June 2, 1919

250 U.S. 321


A suit against a city to enforce, as upon an express trust, an accounting of an improvement fund and liability for alleged breaches of trust in failing properly to conduct the sales of lands assessed for benefits and properly to apply the proceeds of such sales to the satisfaction of public improvement certificates, said suit not having been instituted until more than 17 years after definite repudiation of the alleged trust duties, and the efforts on behalf of the plaintiff having been meanwhile confined to the obtaining of a restraining order, which was never observed, and to the presentation of divers

Page 250 U. S. 322

memorials and offers of compromise to the city authorities, held barred by laches, such a cause of action, in New York, being subject, if not to the six-year statute of limitations (Code Civ. Pro., § 382), then to the ten-year statute (id., § 388) governing bills for relief in cases of trust not cognizable by courts of common law. Pp. 250 U. S. 325-327.

In case of an express trust, the statute begins to run when the trust is repudiated. Id.

Federal courts, in equity, are not bound by state statutes of limitations, but are ordinarily guided by them in determining their action on stale claims. Id.

247 F. 758 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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