United States v. Ulrici
111 U.S. 38 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Ulrici, 111 U.S. 38 (1884)

United States v. Ulrici

Argued March 5, 1884

Decided March 17, 1884

111 U.S. 38

Syllabus

The sureties on a distiller's bond for payment of taxes are discharged by seizure of the spirits for fraudulent acts of the distiller and sale of them by the marshal and payment of the taxes by the marshal out of the proceeds of the sale.

This was an action at law brought by the United States against Rudolph W. Ulrici, principal, and Gerhard Bensberg and Charles Hoppe, his sureties on a distiller's warehouse bond which was payable to the United States in the penalty of $47,000 and was dated May 5, 1875. The condition of the bond was that the principal should pay or cause to be paid the amount of taxes due and owing on certain described distilled spirits entered for deposit during the month of April, 1875, in distillery warehouse No. 4, in the City of St. Louis, before the removal of the spirits from the warehouse and within one year from the date of the bond. The breach

Page 111 U. S. 39

alleged was that the defendant Ulrici, principal upon the bond, did not before the removal of the spirits and within one year from the date of the bond pay or cause to be paid the taxes due and owing thereon, to the damage of the United States in the sum of $23,189.50.

The answers of the principal and the sureties set up substantially the same defenses, only one of which it is necessary to state, which was as follows:

After the spirits were deposited in the warehouse, they were seized on account of the fraudulent acts of said Ulrici as a distiller, for which, on June 4, 1875, an information was filed against them in the name of the United States in the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, upon which a warrant of arrest issued to the marshal, who by virtue thereof took and held possession of the spirits, which, on January 28, 1876, were, pursuant to an order of the court, sold by the marshal to various persons for more than enough to pay all the taxes alleged by the United States to exist at the time against them or that were imposed thereon by law; on the same day, the marshal received the price of the spirits from the purchasers, and therewith, by authority of the United States, paid to the proper collector or internal revenue the taxes due and owing on the spirits, and the residue of the price he returned into court and delivered the spirits to the respective purchasers thereof.

The circuit court overruled a demurrer to this answer, and the plaintiff having taken issue thereon, the parties submitted the cause to the court both upon the facts and the law.

The bill of exceptions shows that there was evidence tending to prove the truth of the answer. Thereupon

"the court declared the law to be that on the pleadings and testimony, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover, and found for the defendants and rendered judgment for them."

To reverse that judgment, this writ of error was sued out.

Page 111 U. S. 40

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