Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. O'Connor - 223 U.S. 280 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co. v. O'Connor, 223 U.S. 280 (1912)
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. O'Connor
Argued January 24, 25, 1912
Decided February 19, 1912
223 U.S. 280
One denying the legality of a tax should have a clear and certain remedy, and where he cannot interfere by injunction, an action to recover back is the alternative unless he waits until the state commences an action and subjects himself to penalties and risks.
Courts have been too slow to recognize implied duress, in payment of taxes, where payment thereof would result disadvantageously.
Where, in addition to money penalties for delay in payment of a tax, there is forfeiture of right to do business and risk of having contracts declared illegal in case of nonpayment of disputed tax, the payment is made under duress.
Where a state officer receives money for a tax paid under duress with notice of its illegality, he has no right thereto, and the name of the state does not protect him from suit.
Where a state statute provides for refunding taxes erroneously paid to a state officer, it contemplates a suit against such officer to recover the taxes paid under protest and duress.
The facts, which involve the right to recover payments for taxes paid under duress and what constitutes duress, are stated in the opinion.