M. Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co. of New York

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtPOUND
Citation186 N.E. 679,262 N.Y. 220
Decision Date11 July 1933
PartiesM. SALIMOFF & CO. et al. v. STANDARD OIL CO. OF NEW YORK. SAME v. VACUUM OIL CO.

262 N.Y. 220
186 N.E. 679

M. SALIMOFF & CO. et al.
v.
STANDARD OIL CO.
OF NEW YORK.
SAME
v.
VACUUM OIL CO.

Court of Appeals of New York.

July 11, 1933.


Separate actions by M. Salimoff & Co. and others against the Standard Oil Company of New York, and against the Vacuum Oil Company. From orders of the Appellate Division, First Department (237 App. Div. 686, 262 N. Y. S. 693) dismissing plaintiffs' complaint, on appeal from the Special Term, the plaintiffs appeal by permission of the Appellate Division.

Order in each case affirmed, and first question certified answered in negative, and the other questions not answered.

See, also 250 N. Y. 219, 181 N. E. 457; 259 N. Y. 608, 182 N. E. 201.

The following questions were certified in each action:

‘1. Is the complaint herein sufficient in law upon the face thereof?

‘2. Is the first separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘3. Is the second separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘4. Is the third separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘5. Is the fourth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘6. Is the fifth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘7. Is the sixth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘8. Is the seventh separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘9. Is the eighth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘10. Is the ninth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘11. Is the tenth separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?

‘12. Is the eleventh separate and distinct defense contained in defendant's answer sufficient in law upon the face thereof to constitute a defense?’

[186 N.E. 680]


[262 N.Y. 220]Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First department.

[262 N.Y. 222]Joseph M. Proskauer, J. Alvin Van Bergh, and Eugene Eisenmann, all of New York City, for appellants.

Harrison Tweed, William Dean Embree, A. Donald MacKinnon, and John E. Lockwood, all of New York City, for respondents.


[262 N.Y. 223]POUND, Chief Judge.

The Soviet government, by a nationalization decree, confiscated all oil lands in Russia and sold oil extracted therefrom to defendants. The former owners of the property, Russian nationals, join in an equitable action for an accounting on the ground that the confiscatory decrees of the unrecognized Soviet government and the seizure of oil lands thereunder

[186 N.E. 681]

have no other effect in law on the rights of the parties than seizure by bandits. Luther v. Sagor, [1921] 1 K. B. 456; Id. 3 K. B. 532, cited in Sokoloff v. National City Bank of New York, 239 N. Y. 158, 164, 145 N. E. 917, 37 A. L. R. 712. The complaints have been dismissed.

The question is as to the effect on the title of a purchaser from the unrecognized confiscating Soviet Russian government. Does title pass, or is the Soviet government no better than a thief, stealing the property of its nationals and giving only a robber's title to stolen property? Plaintiffs contend that the Soviet decrees of confiscation did not divest them of title.

When a government which originates in revolution is recognized by the political department of our government as the de jure government of the country in which it is established, such recognition is retroactive in effect and validates all the actions of the government so recognized [262 N.Y. 224]from the commencement of its existence. Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U. S. 297, 38 S. Ct. 309, 62 L. Ed. 726;Terrazas v. Holmes, 115 Tex. 32, 275 S. W. 392. The courts of one independent government will not sit in judgment upon the validity of the acts of another done within its own territory, even when such government seizes and sells the property of an American citizen within its boundaries. If the Soviet government were a de jure government, it would follow that title to the property in this case must be determined by the result of the confiscatory Soviet decrees.

The status of the Soviet government is defined by the Secretary of State's office as follows:

‘1. The Government of the United States accorded recognition to the Provisional Government of Russia as the successor of the Russian Imperial Government, and has not accorded recognition to any government in Russia since the overthrow of the Provisional Government of Russia.

‘2. The Department of State is cognizant of the fact that the Soviet régime is exercising control and power in territory of the former Russian Empire and the Department of State has no disposition to ignore that fact.

‘3. The refusal of the Government of the United States to accord recognition to the Soviet régime is not based on the ground that that régime does not exercise control and authority in territory...

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49 practice notes
  • Dreyfus v. Von Finck, No. 194
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 6, 1976
    ...376 U.S. 398, 441-442, 84 S.Ct. 923, 947, 11 L.Ed.2d 804, 831 (1964), and it is the clear holding in Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679 (1933), cited by both the majority and dissenting opinions. In the instant case, plaintiff was a citizen and resident of German......
  • Carl Zeiss Stiftung v. VEB Carl Zeiss, Jena, No. 62 Civ. 850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 7, 1968
    ...application of East German law, at least where it is the de facto government of that territory, Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 226-227, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345 (1933); Vladikavkazsky Ry. Co. v. New York Trust Co., 263 N.Y. 369, 189 N.E. 456, 91 A.L.R. 1426 (1934); Ban......
  • French v. Banco Nacional de Cuba
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • October 15, 1968
    ...v. Van Heughen Freres, etc., 2 Cir., 163 F.2d 246, cert. den. 332 U.S. 772, 68 S.Ct. 88, 92 L.Ed. 357; Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345; Dougherty v. Equitable Life Assur. Soc., 266 N.Y. 71, 193 N.E. 897; Holzer v. Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaf......
  • F. PALICIO y COMPANIA, SA v. Brush, No. 61 Civ. 2299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 21, 1966
    ...141, 294 F.2d 925 (1961), cert. den., 368 U.S. 960, 82 S.Ct. 406, 7 L.Ed.2d 392 (1962); M. Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345 (1933); Luther v. James Sagor & Co., 1921 3 K.B. 532. "This is true even if the property affected by the foreign act of st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
49 cases
  • Dreyfus v. Von Finck, No. 194
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 6, 1976
    ...376 U.S. 398, 441-442, 84 S.Ct. 923, 947, 11 L.Ed.2d 804, 831 (1964), and it is the clear holding in Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679 (1933), cited by both the majority and dissenting opinions. In the instant case, plaintiff was a citizen and resident of German......
  • Carl Zeiss Stiftung v. VEB Carl Zeiss, Jena, No. 62 Civ. 850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • November 7, 1968
    ...application of East German law, at least where it is the de facto government of that territory, Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 226-227, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345 (1933); Vladikavkazsky Ry. Co. v. New York Trust Co., 263 N.Y. 369, 189 N.E. 456, 91 A.L.R. 1426 (1934); Ban......
  • French v. Banco Nacional de Cuba
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • October 15, 1968
    ...v. Van Heughen Freres, etc., 2 Cir., 163 F.2d 246, cert. den. 332 U.S. 772, 68 S.Ct. 88, 92 L.Ed. 357; Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345; Dougherty v. Equitable Life Assur. Soc., 266 N.Y. 71, 193 N.E. 897; Holzer v. Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaf......
  • F. PALICIO y COMPANIA, SA v. Brush, No. 61 Civ. 2299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 21, 1966
    ...141, 294 F.2d 925 (1961), cert. den., 368 U.S. 960, 82 S.Ct. 406, 7 L.Ed.2d 392 (1962); M. Salimoff & Co. v. Standard Oil Co., 262 N.Y. 220, 186 N.E. 679, 89 A.L.R. 345 (1933); Luther v. James Sagor & Co., 1921 3 K.B. 532. "This is true even if the property affected by the foreign act of st......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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