Ball Engineering Co. v. J. G. White & Co. - 250 U.S. 46 (1919)
U.S. Supreme Court
Ball Engineering Co. v. J. G. White & Co., 250 U.S. 46 (1919)
Ball Engineering Company v. J. G. White & Company
Argued March 13, 1919
Decided May 19, 1919
250 U.S. 46
A provision in a construction contract that, in case of annulment,
"the United States all have the right to take possession of, wherever they may be, and to retain all materials, tools, buildings, tramways, cars, etc., or any part or parts of same prepared for use or in use in the prosecution of the work, . . . under purchase at a valuation to be determined by the Engineer Officer in charge"
held not applicable, in invitum, to property belonging to, and which had been used in the construction by, a third party. P. 250 U. S. 54.
Upon annulment of a construction contract, the government retained certain property on the site which belonged to a third party who had been doing the work, and, with knowledge of his claim and without his consent, valued it, credited the defaulting contractor accordingly, and leased or disposed of it to a new contractor at the latter's request for the completion of the work upon the understanding that the United States did not undertake to transfer title, nor guarantee peaceable possession, etc., and would not be responsible for the expense or cost of any action against the new contractor, nor subject itself to any claim on account of the seizure. Held that no contractual liability could be implied against the United
States, and that the new contractor, having so taken and used the property, was liable to its owner for the conversion. Id. United States v. Buffalo Pitts Co., 234 U. S. 228, distinguished.
241 F. 989 reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.