27 F. 541 (E.D.Pa. 1886), United States v. Trucks' Adm'r

Citation:27 F. 541
Case Date:May 04, 1886
Court:United States District Courts, 3th Circuit, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Page 541

27 F. 541 (E.D.Pa. 1886)




United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania.

May 4, 1886

John K. Valentine, for the United States.

Bernard Gilpin and Samuel G. Thompson, for defendant.


This is one of several suits on stale claims for taxes, recently brought in this court. The statute under which recovery is sought was repealed more than 15 years ago, and the alleged rights of the plaintiff accrued several years earlier. The construction of the statute involved might have been of serious importance to the government before the repeal; now it is not. It is unnecessary, therefore, do do much more than say that the plaintiff is not entitled to recover on the facts found by the jury. The statute provided a specific method for collecting tax on legacies and successions. The tax was made a lien on all the decedent's property, and the administrator or executor directed to pay it to the collector. In case he did not, the statute provided that the lien should be enforced by suit against any one having possession, and the property be sold under the judgment. There is no provision for suit against the executor or administrator; and while such suit might be sustained for the failure to pay, in the absence of express provision for enforcing the lien, (before referred to,) under existing circumstances it cannot. The direction is very specific. On the executor's or administrator's failure to pay, it provides that suit shall be brought against the individual in possession to enforce the lien. The remedy is an ample one, and there is nothing to support an implication that any other was contemplated. Where a statute provides a method for enforcing compliance with its provisions, ordinarily no other remedy can be resorted to.

While I believe the construction indicated to be the only one admissible, I incline to it the more readily because a different construction, at this time, would be likely to result in serious injustice,-- or

Page 542

danger, at least, of injustice,-- by requiring individuals to pay, from their...

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