Labette County Commissioners v. Moulton - 112 U.S. 217 (1884)
U.S. Supreme Court
Labette County Commissioners v. Moulton, 112 U.S. 217 (1884)
Labette County Commissioners v. Moulton
Submitted October 24, 1884
Decided November 17, 1884
112 U.S. 217
Mandamus will lie against county commissioners to compel steps to enforce a judgment recovered against an incorporated township within the county, when the law casts upon them the duty of providing for its satisfaction, and when mandamus is, in other respects, the proper remedy.
Under the statutes of Kansas referred to in the case and opinion, it was the duty of the county commissioners to make the proper levy of a tax for payment of bonds of a township in the county issued in payment of a subscription to railroad stock. The assent and concurrence of the trustee of the township was not necessary.
One writ of mandamus against all officers concerned in the separate but cooperative steps for levying and collecting a tax is the proper and effective remedy to enforce its collection.
The relator, on June 7, 1877, recovered a judgment in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kansas, against the Township of Oswego, in the County of Labette, in that state, for $9,221.34, with interest and costs, which is still in force and unpaid. That judgment was recovered upon coupons for unpaid interest on bonds, issued in the name and on behalf of Oswego Township, by the Board of County Commissioners of Oswego Township, pursuant to the act of the legislature of the state entitled "An act to enable municipal townships to subscribe for stock in any railroad, and to provide for the payment of the same," approved February 25, 1870, and were payable to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, or bearer.
On his information, an alternative writ of mandamus was allowed by the circuit court June 10, 1881. The command of the writ was as follows: that
"The said Board of County Commissioners of Labette County, State of Kansas, do forthwith levy and collect and pay over, or cause to be collected and paid over to the relator a tax on all the taxable property within the Township of Oswego as constituted in the year 1870, and to do and perform in the manner and at the time required by law each and every and all singular the matters and things in respect to this special tax that are required by law by you to be done in respect to general taxation, and we do further command that you, the said clerk of the said board of the said county, do enter or record the levy of such tax, and enter the same on a tax roll or list, and record the proceedings of said board in respect to such taxation, and all proceedings that by law should be had and recorded in reference to taxation, and determine, extend, and carry out the sum or sums of money to be levied or extended against each and every tract or lot of land, and all other taxable property, as provided by said laws, and set down such tax in a separate column, and complete the said tax roll or list in the manner and at the time required by law, and attach thereto your certificate and the seal of your office and the seal of your county and corporation, and that you deliver the same, so sealed and signed, to the treasurer of your said county at the time and in the manner required by law, and
that you do and perform in the proper manner and at the proper time each and every act and thing by law required to be done in respect to taxation, and we command you, the said treasurer of said county, to accept and receive the said tax roll or list from said clerk, and to proceed as provided by law to collect such tax and to publish the list required by law, and to distrain for said tax, and to advertise lands for sale for the nonpayment of such tax, and to offer the same for sale, and to strike them off at such sale, all to be done in the manner and at the time required by law, and to take each and every and all and singular the process and proceedings, and do and perform each and every act and thing imposed upon you by the law in respect to the enforcement or collection of taxes, the same in respect to this tax as to other and general taxes at the time and in the manner provided by law, and that you pay the said moneys to the relator, or into this court for his use."
To this the respondents jointly and severally demurred, and, for causes of demurrer, assigned the following:
1. Because the court has no jurisdiction of the persons of the respondents or the subject of the action.
2. Because of defect of parties defendant.
3. Because several causes of action are improperly joined.
4. Because the writ does not state facts sufficient to entitle the relator to the relief demanded against the respondents.
This demurrer was overruled by the circuit court, and a peremptory writ of mandamus awarded, to reverse which judgment this writ of error has been sued out.