Cook Co Nat Bank v. United States

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFIELD; Nor is the relation of the United States to this fund changed by the forfeiture of the bonds, which the comptroller of the currency was authorized upon the failure of the bank to declare. The forfeiture was not a confiscation of the bonds to t
Citation2 S.Ct. 561,107 U.S. 445,27 L.Ed. 537
Decision Date09 April 1883
PartiesCOOK CO. NAT. BANK and another v. UNITED STATES

107 U.S. 445
2 S.Ct. 561
27 L.Ed. 537
COOK CO. NAT. BANK and another
v.
UNITED STATES.
April 9, 1883.

This is an appeal from a decree of the circuit court overruling a general demurrer to a bill filed by the United States against the Cook County National Bank of Chicago, Illinois, and Augustus H. Burley, its receiver. The facts, as stated in the bill, are briefly as follows:

Previously to 1872 the bank was formed under the acts of congress authorizing the organization of national banks, and was designated as a depository of moneys of the United States. In January, 1875, it became insolvent and suspended business. In February following, Burley was appointed, by the comptroller of the currency, its receiver, and he immediately entered upon the discharge of his duties. At the time of its suspension the bank had on deposit 'of postal funds,' $24,900, and 'of money-order funds,' $14,684, which are respectively designated on its books by those names. These moneys had been deposited with the bank by John McArthur, a deputy postmaster at Chicago. The treasury department at the time held United States bonds, placed with it by the bank, to the amount of $150,000 par value, as security for all public moneys which might be deposited with the bank. These bonds were afterwards sold for $174,544.52. Of the proceeds, $155,305.47 were appropriated to pay the amount then on deposit with the bank to the credit of tre treasurer of the United States. Of the balance remaining, $11,803.98 were applied on the 'postal funds,' and $7,435.07 on the 'money-order funds' deposited by the deputy postmaster at Chicago, leaving still due on account of those two funds $20,344.95. In addition to these bonds, there were at the time, in the treasury department, United States bonds to the amount of $100,000 par value, deposited by the bank to secure its notes issued for circulation. When, in 1875, the bank failed to pay these notes, the comptroller of the currency declared the bonds

Page 446

forfeited to the United States. A part of them have been sold, and it is the intention of the treasury department to sell the remainder, and apply the proceeds to pay the notes in circulation, and reimburse the United States for sums already advanced for that purpose. The proceeds of all the bonds, when sold, will be sufficient to redeem the notes, reimburse the United States in full for their advances, and leave a balance exceeding $30,000, more than sufficient to pay the debts due by the bank to the United States for postal funds and money-order funds deposited by the deputy postmaster at Chicago. The treasury department, in addition to the bonds to secure the circulation of the notes, has a sum exceeding $30,000 belonging to the bank, collected from bills receivable and debts due to it; but its liabilities notwithstanding greatly exceed its assets.

Under these facts the question arose whether the claim of the United States for moneys deposited by the deputy postmaster is a preferred debt or not; and the officers of the United States are in doubt as to their duty on the subject; that is, whether they should reserve from the funds in the treasury department belonging to the bank a sufficient amount to pay the debt for postal funds and money-order funds due to the United States, or whether they should distribute the said moneys pro rata to all the creditors of the bank, including the United States. The bill prays that an account be taken of the amount due to the United States by the bank for moneys so deposited with it by the deputy postmaster, and that a decree be entered directing the disposition of the funds belonging to the bank in the control of the treasury department. The defendants treated the bill as filed to obtain a decree adjudging to the United States a priority in the payment of their demand against the bank for the balance due on the postal and money-order funds, and interposed a general demurrer to it. The court, taking a similar view of the bill, overruled the demurrer. The defendants thereupon elected to stand by their demurrer, and as they at the same time admitted that the bank had a sufficient amount to pay the whole of the principal and interest due to the United States for the funds deposited

Page 447

by the deputy postmaster as postal funds, and as money-order funds, the court ordered that the amount thus due should be paid in full out of the assets of the bank. From this decree the appeal was taken.

H. S. Monroe and Roscoe Conkling, for appellant.

W. C. Goudy, for appellee.

FIELD, J.

The Revised Statutes, in section 3466, provide that——

'Whenever any person indebted to the United States is insolvent, or whenever the estate of any deceased debtor, in the hands of the executors or administrators, is insufficient to pay all the debts due from the deceased, the debts due to the United States shall be first satisfied; and the priority hereby established shall extend as well to cases in which a debtor, not having sufficient property to pay all his debts, makes a voluntary assignment thereof, or in which the estate and effects of an absconding, concealed, or absent debtor are attached by process of law, as to cases in which an act of bankruptcy is committed.'

This section is substantially a copy of section 5 of the act of March 3, 1797, entitled 'An act to provide more effectually for the settlement of accounts between the United States and receivers of public money.' Statutes passed before 1797 embodied similar provisions, and also declared that parties who are sureties of insolvents may pay to the United States any balance due to them, and have the same priority in the payment of their demands out of the estates of such insolvents as the United States would have if no such payment were made.

The language of the section in the Revised Statutes is general and comprehensive in its terms, and applies to demands of the United States against any insolvent person living, or the estate of any insolvent person dead; and also to demands against any person who, not having sufficient property to pay all his debts, makes a voluntary assignment thereof, and against any estate of an absconding, concealed, or absent debtor whose effects have been attached by process of law.

The question is whether, under this broad and general language,

Page 448

the United States, having demands...

To continue reading

Request your trial
165 practice notes
  • Conway v. United States, 2020-1292
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • May 17, 2021
    ...traditional balance between the state and federal systems in this space.Given this parallel, Cook County National Bank v. United States , 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1883), is particularly on point. There, the Court held that the federal super-priority statute (§ 3466 at the ti......
  • United States v. Emory, No. 33
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 15, 1941
    ...as applied to all claims as to which the United States asserts priority under § 3466. Neither Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537, nor United States v. Guaranty Trust Co., Page 432 280 U.S. 478, 50 S.Ct. 212, 74 L.Ed. 556, requires a different......
  • Meadow Brook National Bank v. Recile, Civ. A. No. 67-341.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • April 28, 1969
    ..."by itself a complete system for the establishment and government of national banks." Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 448, 2 S.Ct. 561, 564, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1882). Nevertheless, it is clear that national banks are not totally above the state laws. In Anderson Nationa......
  • Texas Pac Ry Co v. Pottorff, No. 128
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 5, 1934
    ...under which national banks are organized constitutes a complete system for their government. Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 448, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537; California Bank v. Kennedy, Page 254 167 U.S. 362, 366, 17 S.Ct. 831, 42 L.Ed. 198; First National Bank in S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
165 cases
  • Conway v. United States, 2020-1292
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • May 17, 2021
    ...traditional balance between the state and federal systems in this space.Given this parallel, Cook County National Bank v. United States , 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1883), is particularly on point. There, the Court held that the federal super-priority statute (§ 3466 at the ti......
  • United States v. Emory, No. 33
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 15, 1941
    ...as applied to all claims as to which the United States asserts priority under § 3466. Neither Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537, nor United States v. Guaranty Trust Co., Page 432 280 U.S. 478, 50 S.Ct. 212, 74 L.Ed. 556, requires a different......
  • Meadow Brook National Bank v. Recile, Civ. A. No. 67-341.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • April 28, 1969
    ..."by itself a complete system for the establishment and government of national banks." Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 448, 2 S.Ct. 561, 564, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1882). Nevertheless, it is clear that national banks are not totally above the state laws. In Anderson Nationa......
  • Texas Pac Ry Co v. Pottorff, No. 128
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 5, 1934
    ...under which national banks are organized constitutes a complete system for their government. Cook County National Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 448, 2 S.Ct. 561, 27 L.Ed. 537; California Bank v. Kennedy, Page 254 167 U.S. 362, 366, 17 S.Ct. 831, 42 L.Ed. 198; First National Bank in S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT