Minturn v. United States - 106 U.S. 437 (1882)
U.S. Supreme Court
Minturn v. United States, 106 U.S. 437 (1882)
Minturn v. United States
Decided December 18, 1882
106 U.S. 437
1. An importer of sugars having entered them at the custom house by a warehouse entry, under sec. 12 of the Act of Aug. 30, 1842, c. 270, as amended by sec. 1 of the Act of Aug. 8, 1848, c. 84, gave, with sureties, a bond, conditioned to be void if he or his "assigns" should, within a specified time, withdraw them from the warehouse in the mode prescribed by law, and pay to the collector a sum specified, "or the true amount, when ascertained, of the duties imposed." The act required the sugars to be kept subject to the order of the importer, "upon payment of the proper duties," to be ascertained on entry, "and to be secured by his bond," with surety. He afterwards sold the sugars in bond, and gave to the purchaser, who agreed to pay the duties as part of the purchase price, a written authority, on which the sugars were withdrawn; but the full amount of the proper duties, which was less than the sum specified in the condition of the bond, was not paid. In a suit on the bond to recover the unpaid duties held that the obligors are liable.
2. Although it is the usage of trade to sell goods in bond and deliver them by an order for their withdrawal, the purchaser withdrawing them and paying the duties, the obligors do not become merely sureties, with the goods as the primary security for the duties, nor are they released because the officers of the United States unlawfully part with the goods without exacting payment of the duties chargeable thereon.
3. The negligence of the officers does not affect the liability of either the principal or the surety in a bond to the United States.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.