United States v. Seminole Nation, No. 172

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBUTLER
Citation57 S.Ct. 283,81 L.Ed. 316,299 U.S. 417
Decision Date04 January 1937
Docket NumberNo. 172
PartiesUNITED STATES v. SEMINOLE NATION

299 U.S. 417
57 S.Ct. 283
81 L.Ed. 316
UNITED STATES

v.

SEMINOLE NATION.

No. 172.
Argued Dec. 10, 1936.
Decided Jan. 4, 1937.

Judicial Code held to provide that litigant in Court of Claims may as of right apply for a new trial (Jud.Code § 175, 28 U.S.C.A. § 282).

Messrs. Homer S. Cummings, Atty. Gen., and

Page 418

Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr., of Boston, Mass., for petitioner.

Mr. Paul M. Niebell, of Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Page 419

Mr. Justice BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

An Act of Congress approved May 20, 1924, 43 Stat. 133, authorized the abovenamed court to adjudicate claims of the Seminole Nation against the United States, declared all forever barred unless suit be brought within five years, directed adjudication of claims of the United States against that nation and gave right of review in this court. A Joint Resolution of May 19, 1926, 44 Stat. 568, permitted plaintiff to bring separate suits on one or more causes of action. Joint Resolution of February 19, 1929, 45 Stat. 1229, extended time for commencing suits to June 30, 1930. February 24, 1930, plaintiff filed its petition praying judgment in respect of causes of action alleged to have arisen after July 1, 1898. Plaintiff obtained leave and, September 19, 1934, filed an amended complaint containing allegations in respect of the claims alluded to in the original petition and attempted to set up other causes of action. But the period within which defendant permitted suit had long since expired. On December 2, 1935, the court filed its special findings of fact, conclusions of law, and opinion and entered judgment in favor of plaintiff or $1,317,087.21. 82 Ct.Cl. 135.

1. Plaintiff contends that the petition for the writ of certiorari came too late and that therefore this court is without jurisdiction. The petition was filed under 28 U.S.C. § 288(b), 28 U.S.C.A. § 288(b). Section 350, title 28, U.S.Code (28 U.S.C.A. § 350) limits the time to three months after entry of judgment. Defendant filed timely motion for new trial which was overruled March 2, 1936. May 13 it applied for leave to file a second motion for new trial. The application stated that it was made pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 282 (28 U.S.C.A. § 282),1 and that the motion was attached to the application. The court granted leave and defendant, May 18, filed its second motion for a new trial. The record does not include the motion. After hearing argument the

Page 420

court, June 8, overruled the motion. July 8, defendant filed petition for certiorari.

Plaintiff assumes that defendant's second motion for a new trial was made under section 282 and argues that the running of time allowed for filing petition for certiorari was not postponed until the court disposed of that motion. But it does not appear that the motion was in fact one authorized by section 282. Aside from mere recital in the application for leave, there is nothing to indicate that it was not one made under rule 91 of the Court of Claims.

That rule declares: 'Whenever either party desires to question the correctness or the sufficiency of the court's conclusions on its findings of fact or to amend the same, the complaining party shall file a motion which shall be known as a motion for a new trial. All grounds relied upon for any or all of said objections shall be included in one motion. After the court has announced its decision upon such motion no other motion for a new trial, except that provided by United States Code, title 28, section 282, shall be filed by the same party unless by leave of court. Motions for new trial, except as provided by section 175 of the Judicial Code (U.S.Code, title 28, sec. 282 (28 U.S.C.A. § 282)), shall be filed within 60 days from the time the judgment of the court is announced.'

Section 282 provides: 'The Court of Claims, at any time while any claim is pending before it, or on appeal from it, or within two years next after the final disposition of such claim, may, on motion, on behalf of the United States, grant a new trial and stay the payment of any judgment therein, upon such evidence, cumulative or otherwise, as shall satisfy the court that any fraud, wrong, or injustice in the premises has been done to the United States.'

The rule expressly excepts motions under section 282 from those for the filing of which leave of court must be obtained. The statute plainly implies that in accordance

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with its terms defendant may as of right apply for a new trial. The record does not contain anything to indicate that it was one made upon evidence or otherwise in accordance with statute. Cf. In re District of Columbia, 180 U.S. 250, 253, 21 S.Ct. 357, 45 L.Ed. 516. In the absence of definite showing to that effect, it will not be held that the United States applied for or that the court entertained and granted an application for leave so expressly shown to be unnecessary. On this record, it is reasonably to be inferred, and we find, that the second motion was one filed in accordance with the rule under which application for leave was necessary and not one authorized by the statute for the filing of which permission of the court was not needed. It is clear that the three months' period, section 350, did not commence to run until the court disposed of that motion and did not expire until long after the defendant had filed its petition for this writ. It is well settled that the time within which application may be made for review in this court does not commence to run until after disposition of motion for a new trial seasonably filed and entertained. Brockett v. Brockett, 2 How. 238, 240, 11 L.Ed. 251; Texas Pacific Railway Co. v. Murphy, 111 U.S. 488, 489, 4 S.Ct. 497, 28 L.Ed. 492; United States v. Ellicott, 223 U.S. 524, 539, 32 S.Ct. 334, 56 L.Ed. 535; Citizens' Bank v. Opperman, 249 U.S. 448, 450, 39 S.Ct. 330, 63 L.Ed. 701; Morse v. United States, 270 U.S. 151, 153, 154, 46 S.Ct. 241, 242, 70 L.Ed. 518; Gypsy Oil Co. v. Escoe, 275 U.S. 498, 48 S.Ct. 112, 72 L.Ed. 393. This court has jurisdiction.

2. The jurisdiction of the lower court was limited to claims sued on before the expiration of the period within which the United States consented to be sued. It did not extend to any cause of action which was not alleged in plaintiff's original petition. As the United States may not be sued without its consent, causes of action not alleged within the period allowed may not be enforced. Finn v. United States, 123 U.S. 227, 232, 8 S.Ct. 82, 31 L.Ed. 128. The amended petition was not filed within the time allowed; no cause of action was by it brought within the power of

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the court. Taylor Co. v. Anderson, 275 U.S. 431, 438, 439, 48 S.Ct. 144, 146, 72 L.Ed. 354; Baltimore & O.S.W.R. Co. v. Carroll, 280 U.S. 491, 495, 50 S.Ct. 182, 183, 74 L.Ed. 566. The judgment may not be sustained as to any item that is not included in a cause of action set up in the original petition or that was by the findings of the lower court or otherwise put upon a ground not there alleged. Harrison v. Nixon, 9 Pet. 483, 503, 9 L.Ed. 201; Boone v. Chiles, 10 Pet. 177, 209, 9 L.Ed. 388; Garland v. Davis, 4 How. 131, 148, 11 L.Ed. 907. It may not be upheld as to any item that is not supported by definite findings of fact extending to all essential issues and which, unaided by statements in the court's conclusions of law or its opinion, are clearly sufficient to entitle plaintiff to recover. United States v. Esnault-Pelterie, 299 U.S. 201, 207, 57 S.Ct. 159, 162, 81 L.Ed. 123.

The original petition is in paragraphs designated by Roman numerals; the substance of each may be briefly shown:

I. Reference is made to the act conferring jurisdiction. II. Plaintiff for many years was the owner of funds held in trust by defendant; there existed various treaties and agreements between plaintiff and defendant whereby the trust funds were to be managed and invested by defendant and the interest thereon paid over to the national treasurer of plaintiff. III. From and after passage of the Act of June 28, 1898, 30 Stat. 495 (called the Curtis Act), defendant impounded all funds of plaintiff, refused to further pay them to plaintiff's national treasurer, and proceeded to disburse them for various purposes. IV. The only authority given by that act for the disbursement of plaintiff's funds is section 19.2 After that act, Congress passed others giving authority for the expenditure of plaintiff's funds, but no subsequent act gave authority for the ex-

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penditure of the funds hereinafter mentioned. VI. From 'July 1st, 1898, until the present time, defendant, in violation of its duty as trustee of the funds of plaintiff, in violation of the rights of plaintiff under its various treaties and agreements with defendant, and without authority of Congress, has spent large sums of the trust funds of plaintiff.' VII. At all times mentioned in the petition R.S. § 2097 was in force.3 VIII. 'Defendant has thus spent, in violation of law, a large amount of the trust funds of plaintiff.' The exact amount will be shown by the books and records of defendant.

The prayer of the petition is that defendant be required to file in this cause a statement showing its expenditures of plaintiff's funds 'during said period,' the purposes for which, and dates when, such expenditures were made, and the authority of law, if any, which authorized defendant to make such expenditures; 'that, if necessary thereafter, plaintiff be permitted to amend this petition' and that plaintiff have judgment against the defendant in such sum or sums as shall appear to the court to have been expended without authority of law, with interest at 6 per cent.

This petition does not include any cause of action that accrued prior to July 1, 1898. Nor is recovery sought on mere failure of defendant to pay plaintiff's funds to its national treasurer or to the Seminoles per capita. The gist of the petition is that defendant...

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24 practice notes
  • Atl. Greyhound Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, No. 10079.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 5 Aprile 1949
    ...denial of the petition for rehearing. Morse v. United States, 270 U.S. 151, 46 S.Ct. 211, 70 L.Ed. 518; United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L. Ed. 316." In Straley v. Payne, 43 W.Va. 185, 27 S. E. 359, this Court, in determining the effect of a motion for a new ......
  • Atl. Greyhound Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n Of West Va., (No. 10079)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 5 Aprile 1949
    ...date of denial of the petition for rehearing. Morse v. United States, 270 U. S. 151; 70 Law Ed. 518; United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U. S. 417, 81 Law Ed. 316." In Straley v. Payne, 43 W. Va. 185, 27 S.E. 359, this Court, in determining the effect of a motion for a new trial of a case......
  • Maryland Tuna Corporation v. Ms Benares, No. 421
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 2 Giugno 1970
    ...1, at 951. 9 See, e. g., Bowman v. Loperena, 311 U.S. 262, 266, 61 S.Ct. 201, 85 L.Ed. 177 (1940); United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 421, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L.Ed. 316 (1937); Morse v. United States, 270 U.S. 151, 153-154, 46 S.Ct. 241, 70 L.Ed. 518 (1926); Kingman v. Western Man......
  • Western Shoshone Nat. Council v. U.S., No. 5-05-0290-PMP LRL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 1 Novembre 2005
    ...the United States, the plaintiff must show an explicit waiver of sovereign immunity permitting such a suit. See U.S. v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 421-25, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L.Ed. 316 (1937) (dismissing for lack of jurisdiction suit brought to enforce treaty and other rights where Congres......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • Atl. Greyhound Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, No. 10079.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 5 Aprile 1949
    ...denial of the petition for rehearing. Morse v. United States, 270 U.S. 151, 46 S.Ct. 211, 70 L.Ed. 518; United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L. Ed. 316." In Straley v. Payne, 43 W.Va. 185, 27 S. E. 359, this Court, in determining the effect of a motion for a......
  • Atl. Greyhound Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n Of West Va., (No. 10079)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 5 Aprile 1949
    ...date of denial of the petition for rehearing. Morse v. United States, 270 U. S. 151; 70 Law Ed. 518; United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U. S. 417, 81 Law Ed. 316." In Straley v. Payne, 43 W. Va. 185, 27 S.E. 359, this Court, in determining the effect of a motion for a new trial of a......
  • Maryland Tuna Corporation v. Ms Benares, No. 421
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 2 Giugno 1970
    ...1, at 951. 9 See, e. g., Bowman v. Loperena, 311 U.S. 262, 266, 61 S.Ct. 201, 85 L.Ed. 177 (1940); United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 421, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L.Ed. 316 (1937); Morse v. United States, 270 U.S. 151, 153-154, 46 S.Ct. 241, 70 L.Ed. 518 (1926); Kingman v. Western Man......
  • Western Shoshone Nat. Council v. U.S., No. 5-05-0290-PMP LRL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 1 Novembre 2005
    ...the United States, the plaintiff must show an explicit waiver of sovereign immunity permitting such a suit. See U.S. v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417, 421-25, 57 S.Ct. 283, 81 L.Ed. 316 (1937) (dismissing for lack of jurisdiction suit brought to enforce treaty and other rights where Congres......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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