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United States v. Standard Oil Co. of California, 332 U.S. 301 (1947)

United States v. Standard Oil Co. of California

No. 235

Argued April 8-9, 1947

Decided June 23, 1947

332 U.S. 301


A soldier in the Army of the United States was injured by a motor truck, through negligence of the driver. The expenses of his hospitalization were borne by the United States, and he continued to receive his Army pay during the period of his disability. The United States brought suit in a federal district court against the owner and driver of the truck as tortfeasors to recover the amounts expended for hospitalization and soldier's pay during the period of disability, as for loss of the soldier's services.


1. The decision is governed not by the law of the state where the injury occurred, but by federal law, even though Congress has not acted affirmatively concerning the specific question. Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U. S. 64, distinguished. Pp. 332 U. S. 305-311.

2. In the absence of legislation by Congress on the subject, the United States was not entitled to recover on the claim. Pp. 332 U. S. 311-317.

3. It is for Congress, not the judiciary, to make new laws concerning the right of the Government to recover for the loss of a soldier's services. Pp. 332 U. S. 314-317.

153 F.2d 958 affirmed.

The United States brought suit in the District Court to recover on a claim arising out of injuries sustained by a soldier as a result of negligence of the defendants. The District Court gave judgment for the United States. 60 F.Supp. 807. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. 153 F.2d 958. This Court granted certiorari. 329 U.S. 696. Affirmed, p. 332 U. S. 317.

Page 332 U. S. 302

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