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Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co. v. United States, 261 U.S. 299 (1923)

Seaboard Air Line Railway Company v. United States

No. 407

Argued January 23, 1923

Decided March 5, 1923

261 U.S. 299


1. In an action against the United States under § 10 of the Lever Act, to recover just compensation for property requisitioned for public use, the owner is entitled to judgment for the value of the property as of the time of the taking and for so much in addition as will produce a full equivalent of that value, paid contemporaneously with the taking. P. 261 U. S. 304.

2. This additional amount may be measured by allowing interest at a proper rate, and the legal rate in the state where the property lies may be applied for this purpose, if fair and reasonable. P. 261 U. S. 305.

3. The just compensation to which the owner is entitled depends on the Constitution, and cannot be restricted by statute, and its ascertainment is a judicial function. P. 261 U. S. 304.

4. The rule disallowing interest against the United States in the absence of a stipulation or statute is inapplicable to an action not based on contract or any mere claim or accounting against the government, but which is part of a proceeding initiated by the United States for the condemnation of property, and seeks ascertainment and payment of just compensation for it. P. 261 U. S. 306.

280 F. 349 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals reversing a judgment of the district court for the railway company in an action under the Lever Act.

Page 261 U. S. 302

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