Shriver v. Kuchel

Decision Date01 October 1952
Citation113 Cal.App.2d 421,248 P.2d 35
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesSHRIVER v. KUCHEL, Controller of State. Civ. 19051.

Elizabeth Cochran, James E. Pawson, Long Beach, for appellant.

James W. Hickey, Sacramento, Walter H. Miller, Los Angeles, for respondent.

VALLEE, Justice.

Plaintiff, William Henry Clay Shriver, brought this action for declaratory relief against the State Controller. He seeks a declaration as to whether he, as a transferee of property made to him during the lifetime of S. C. Clay Shriver, is liable to the State of California for interest on inheritance taxes.

S. C. Clay Shriver died on June 14, 1947. On December 1, 1947, the State Controller filed a petition (LBC 14374) for determination of inheritance tax. The petition alleged: Shriver was a resident of Los Angeles at the date of his death; he was, prior to his death, the owner of stocks and bonds situate in Los Angeles County; the stocks and bonds were transferred by him prior to his death in contemplation of death; an inheritance tax is due and payable. On December 1, 1947, an order was made designating an inheritance tax appraiser and referee. On January 9, 1948, the report of the inheritance tax appraiser was filed. On February 2 appellant filed an answer to the petition and objections to the report of the inheritance tax appraiser. This document denies the allegations of the petition and alleges: Shriver was a resident of Kansas at all times mentioned and at the date of death; he left a will which was admitted to probate, and a finding made of his residence in the probate court of Butler County, Kansas; the stocks and bonds described in the petition and all property of Shriver was located and is held under the jurisdiction of the probate court of Butler County, Kansas, and is in the possession of the executor of Shriver's will; the transfers alleged in the petition were made and consummated while the transferor and the transferee were nonresidents of California and none of the property is or was ever within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of this State. On February 16, 1949, the report of the inheritance tax appraiser, as referee, was filed. It reported that decedent was a resident of the County of Los Angeles at the date of death; and that there was a tax due from appellant in the amount of $85,262.26.

On May 22, 1950, a stipulation, entitled 'Stipulation For Sustaining Of Objections In Part,' was entered into between the State Controller and appellant which reads:

'Whereas, the Inheritance Tax Appraiser has heretofore filed in these proceedings a report of the amount of inheritance tax due; and 'Whereas, objections thereto have been filed by William Henry Clay Shriver, and

'Whereas, an agreement of compromise has been reached by and between the parties,

'Now, Therefore, It Is Agreed that the amount of inheritance tax due the State of California from the said William Henry Clay Shriver shall be reduced from the sum of $85,262.26 as shown in said report by allowing as a credit against said sum the amount of $37,897.46;

'It Is Further Stipulated that an order be made by the Court pursuant to this stipulation, directing the inheritance tax appraiser to file an amended report herein fixing the tax at the reduced amount;

'It Is Further Stipulated that the said order may include that there should be paid to the inheritance tax appraiser as fees for services in the sum of $660.71.'

On August 22, 1950, the stipulation was filed and an order made by the court which reads:

'Upon reading and filing the stipulation for sustaining of objections in part entered into by and between attorneys for petitioner and respondents, and good cause appearing therefor,

'It Is Hereby Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed that the inheritance tax be and the same is hereby set in the amount of $47,364.80, allowing a credit against the original tax in the sum of $37,897.46;

'It Is Further Ordered that the State Inheritance Tax Appraiser, Harland V. Boyer, be directed to file an amended report fixing the tax accordingly.

'It Is Further Ordered that the Inheritance Tax Appraiser's fee be paid in the sum of $660.71.'

Prior to the making of the foregoing order and on July 10, 1950, appellant paid $47,364.80 to the County Treasurer of the County of Los Angeles. On December 8, 1950, he filed the present action for declaratory relief. The complaint alleges the facts we have narrated and that the document dated May 22, 1950, was a compromise; that the Controller 'is now insisting upon the payment of penalty as, of and from the date of death of S. C. Clay Shriver, although willing to consent to a remission for the two year period from and after the death, and is threatening to bring an action against this plaintiff under the provisions of sections 14211 and 14212 of the Revenue and Taxation Code of the State of California'; that a bona fide controversy exists between the parties; and that 'plaintiff paid the amount of the tax within a reasonable time after the determination, as a full settlement of the controversy existing over the question of the residence of the deceased had been entered into.'

The Controller answered alleging that the written stipulation for compromise was executed pursuant to and as a result of an oral compromise entered into by and between plaintiff and defendant on August 8, 1949; that the compromise included the amount of tax only and was not understood by either party to include either interest or penalties; that the $47,364.80 paid by plaintiff was applied first to interest in the sum of $1,454.68 owing on the tax as of the date of payment, and the balance to the tax itself. The sum of $1,454.68 remains unpaid on the tax, with interest.

The only evidence introduced at the trial was the file in the proceeding for the determination of inheritance tax (LBC 14374) and an oral stipulation between the attorneys for the parties, as hereinafter appears. The court found and concluded that the compromise related to the amount of inheritance tax only and it was not understood by either party thereto that the amount agreed upon as a compromise was intended to cover the full amount of the tax and interest, but, on the contrary, was intended to cover the amount of tax only. Judgment was that interest is owing on the unpaid portion of the tax from the date of death until payment is made in full.

Plaintiff contends that upon the payment of the sum of $47,364.80, pursuant to the stipulation of compromise and the order approving the same, he has fully discharged his obligation to the State of California with respect to inheritance taxes and interest, and that no further sum is due thereon. This contention must necessarily find support in the agreement of compromise.

Compromise agreements are governed by the legal principles applicable to contracts generally, the primary object being to ascertain the intention of the parties, which is to be determined from the writing itself, construed in the light of the circumstances surrounding its execution, including the object, nature, and subject matter of the agreement, and the preliminary negotiations between the parties. Lemm v. Stillwater Land & Cattle Co., 217 Cal. 474, 479, et seq., 19 P.2d 785; Hammond...

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13 cases
  • Wilson v. Bogert
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • 8 Diciembre 1959
    ...is a merger and bar of all pre-existing claims which the parties intended to settle thereby. Moran v. Copeman, supra; Shriver v. Kuchel, 113 Cal.App.2d 421, 248 P.2d 35; 15 C.J.S. Compromise and Settlement § 24, p. 739. Such prior claims are thereby superseded and extinguished. The compromi......
  • Folsom v. Butte County Assn. of Governments
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 28 Octubre 1982
    ...of the rights of the parties thereto and operates as a bar to the reopening of the original controversy." (Shriver v. Kuchel (1952) 113 Cal.App.2d 421, 425, 248 P.2d 35.) Compromise agreements are, of course, "governed by the legal principles applicable to contracts generally." (Ibid.) They......
  • Okonko v. Union Oil Co. of California
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Central District of California
    • 10 Julio 1981
    ...F.2d 389, 391 (3d Cir. 1967). The applicable local law in this case is that of California, which is stated in Shriver v. Kuchel, 113 Cal.App.2d 421, 425, 248 P.2d 35, 38 (1952): Compromise agreements are governed by the legal principles applicable to contracts generally, the primary object ......
  • MWS Wire Industries, Inc. v. California Fine Wire Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • 19 Agosto 1986
    ...Association of Governments, 32 Cal.3d 668, 677, 186 Cal.Rptr. 589, 595, 652 P.2d 437, 443 (1982) (quoting Shriver v. Kuchel, 113 Cal.App.2d 421, 425, 248 P.2d 35, 38 (1952)). See also Union Collection Co. v. Buckman, 150 Cal. 159, 163, 88 P. 708, 710 (1907) (compromise of an action "constit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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