Слике страница

Opinion of the Court.

234 U. S.

9 Michigan, 285, 307. Dayton Coal & Iron Co. v. Barton, 183 U. S. 13, distinguished.

Mr. J. C. Noel and Mr. C. T. Duncan for defendants in error.

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the court.

These are actions of assumpsit brought by the defendants in error upon orders signed by employés of the plaintiff in error and addressed to it, directing it to pay to bearer 'in merchandise only from your store,' to the value specified. These orders were upon scrip issued by the plaintiff in error as an advance of monthly wages in payment for labor performed, and the only controversy between the parties arises from the refusal of the plaintiff in error to pay the indicated amounts in money. The facts were agreed, the Circuit Court gave judgment for the plaintiff and a writ of error was refused by the Supreme Court of Appeals. The ground of the judgment was an act of February 13, 1888, c. 118, amending and reënacting an act of 1887, c. 391, § 3, forbidding any person, firm, or corporation, engaged in mining coal or ore, or manufacturing iron or steel or any other kind of manufacturing to issue for the payment of labor any order unless the same purported to be redeemable for its face value in lawful money of the United States. The plaintiff in error saved its rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and when the Court of Appeals refused to hear the cases brought them here. The writ of error was allowed on September 25, 1912. Norfolk & Suburban Turnpike Co. v. Virginia, 225 U. S. 264, 269.

Of course we do not go behind the construction given to the state law by the state courts. The objections that are urged here are that the statute interferes with freedom of contract, and, more especially, that it is class legislation

234 U.S.

Opinion of the Court.

of a kind supposed to be inconsistent with the Fourteenth Amendment; a West Virginia decision upon a similar statute being cited to that effect. State v. Goodwill, 33 W. Va. 179. The former of these objections, however, is disposed of by Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U. S. 13, and Dayton Coal & Iron Co. v. Barton, 183 U. S. 23.

It is more pressed that the act discriminates unconstitutionally against certain classes. But while there are differences of opinion as to the degree and kind of discrimination permitted by the Fourteenth Amendment, it is established by repeated decisions that a statute aimed at what is deemed an evil, and hitting it presumably where experience shows it to be most felt, is not to be upset by thinking up and enumerating other instances to which it might have been applied equally well, so far as the court can see. That is for the legislature to judge unless the case is very clear. Lindsley v. Natural Carbonic Gas Co., 220 U. S. 61, 81. Central Lumber Co. v. South Dakota, 226 U. S. 157, 160. Patsone v. Pennsylvania, 232 U. S. 138, 144. The suggestion that others besides mining and manufacturing companies may keep shops and pay their workmen with orders on themselves for merchandise is not enough to overthrow a law that must be presumed to be deemed by the legislature coextensive with the practical need.

Judgments affirmed.

Argument for the United States.

234 U.S.



No. 369. Submitted May 5, 1914.-Decided June 8, 1914.

In cases brought under the Tucker Act and coming to this court from a District or Circuit Court the findings of fact of the trial court are conclusive, and the question here, unless the record would warrant the conclusion that the ultimate facts are not supported by any evidence whatever, is whether the conclusions of law are warranted by the facts found. Chase v. United States, 155 U. S. 489. Where property is left with the officer of the Government who has charge of the work by the owner relying upon the fact that his title is not disputed and upon representations made to him that payment would be recommended for such use, and Congress has given authority to appropriate property necessary for the particular work and to pay therefor, there is an implied contract on the part of the Government to pay for the property and jurisdiction exists under the Tucker Act. United States v. Lynah, 188 U. S. 445, followed, and Harley v. United States, 198 U. S. 229, distinguished.

When in the exercise of its governmental rights it takes property, the ownership of which it concedes to be in an individual, the United States, under the constitutional obligation of the Fifth Amendment, impliedly promises to pay therefor. United States v. Lynah, 188 U. S. 445, 464, followed. Hooe v. United States, 218 U. S. 322, distinguished.

193 Fed. Rep. 905, affirmed.

THE facts, which involve the liability of the Government under the Fifth Amendment for the rental value of property used by it, are stated in the opinion.

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Underwood for the United States:

The plaintiff had no such title to the engine as would enable it to contract for its use.

There was no intention to make a contract for the use of

Opinion of the Court.

said engine, nor conduct of the parties from which such contract might be implied.

It was not shown that there was any fund out of which judgment might be legally paid.

The engine having been taken under a claim of right, and not in recognition of a paramount title in plaintiff, no action upon an implied contract will lie. Gibbons v. United States, 8 Wall. 269, 275; Harley v. United States, 198 U. S. 229; Hill v. United States, 149 U. S. 593, 598; Hooe v. United States, 218 U. S. 322; Knapp v. United States, 46 Ct. Cls. 601, 643; Langford v. United States, 101 U. S. 341.

Mr. Edward P. White for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This suit was brought by the Buffalo Pitts Company in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of New York to recover for the value of the use of a certain engine which it was alleged the United States was under an implied contract to pay. The action was begun under the Tucker Act of March 3, 1887, c. 359, 24 Stat. 505, and the court of original jurisdiction, as required by the statute, § 7, made findings of fact and conclusions of law under which it held the Government liable and rendered judgment for the plaintiff's claim. On writ of error the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment (193 Fed. Rep. 905), and the case is brought here.

234 U. S.

The findings of fact show that: The plaintiff is a corporation organized under the laws of New York and having its principal place of business at Buffalo, New York, manufacturing, among other things, traction engines. On May 20, 1905, it sold a traction engine with appurtenances to the Taylor-Moore Construction Company, delivered

Opinion of the Court.

at Roswell, New Mexico, and took a chattel mortgage thereon to secure the payment of $1600 of the purchase price. The chattel mortgage conveyed the engine and appurtenances to the plaintiff on condition that if the mortgagor should fail to pay the sum of $1600 according to certain notes or should attempt to dispose of or injure the property or remove the same from the County of Chaves, New Mexico, or if the mortgagor should not take proper care of the property, or if the mortgagee should at any time deem itself unsafe or insecure, then the whole amount unpaid should be considered immediately due and payable and it should be lawful for the mortgagee to take the property and remove the same and hold or sell it and all equity of redemption at public auction with notice as provided by law. The mortgage was duly recorded May 22, 1905, and no part of the money thereby secured has ever been paid to the mortgagee which has ever since been the owner and holder of the mortgage. The engine was put to work by the Construction Company upon the so-called Hondo Project, being part of the Reclamation Service undertaken by the Department of the Interior of the United States, which work was being prosecuted under a contract between the United States and the Construction Company, the engine being located at or near Roswell, New Mexico.

234 U. S.

The Construction Company having made default in the performance of its contract, on or about June 7, 1905, work was suspended thereunder and the Construction Company then assigned all its interest in the contract to the United States, which, pursuant to the contract, took possession of all material, supplies and equipment belonging to the Construction Company, including the engine and appurtenances. On June 16, 1905, at Roswell, New Mexico, the plaintiff by its agents made a demand upon the defendant through Wendell M. Reed, District Engineer of the Reclamation Service under the Department of the Interior,

« ПретходнаНастави »