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Southern Pacific Co. v. United States, 268 U.S. 263 (1925)

Southern Pacific Company v. United States

No. 285

Argued November 19, 20, 1924

Decided May 11, 1925

268 U.S. 263


1. Where a railroad, for transporting applicants for enlistment in the Army, discharged, retired and furloughed soldiers, and civilian employees of the War Department, rendered its bills at land grant rates, knowing that, according to a ruling of the Comptroller of the Treasury, such persons were to be regarded as "troops of the United States" for whose transportation only land grant rates could be paid by disbursing officers, and accepted payment of its bills on that basis without protest, held that, though the Comptroller's ruling was erroneous, the railroad was bound by acquiescence, and could not recover the difference between the amount received and the larger amount which it would have been lawfully entitled to charge under its tariff. P. 268 U. S. 268.

2. But aliter where the bills, though rendered at land grant rates, bore a short form of protest; "Amounts claimed in this bill accepted under protest," or a form more extended and explanatory, since, by these, the government officers were sufficiently notified that payment at the lower rates would not be accepted in final settlement. P. 268 U. S. 268.

3. Where, however, the railroad rendered most of its bills with indorsed protests, but a considerable number during the same period without them, as to these latter, it was bound by its acceptance of the land grant rates. P. 268 U. S. 270.

59 Ct.Cls. 36 reversed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Claims rejecting the appellant's claim for the difference between

Page 268 U. S. 264

amounts paid by the government for transportation at land grant rates and the lawful tariff charges.

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