Levinson v. United States
258 U.S. 198 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Levinson v. United States, 258 U.S. 198 (1922)

Levinson v. United States

No. 145

Argued March 3, 1922

Decided March 13, 1922

258 U.S. 198

Syllabus

1. A suit in the nature of interpleader by the United States against one to whom it had given a bill of sale of a vessel and another whose bid had been overlooked, to determine their rights, held cognizable in equity (all parties consenting) although the plaintiff did not stand indifferent, but sought to maintain the higher bidder's claim, and thus get the higher price. P. 258 U. S. 200.

2. Under the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 141, § 5, 22 Stat. 599, governing sales of vessels not needed for the Navy, the President is empowered to direct a departure from the prescribed manner of sale, and his direction to the Secretary of the Navy to sell "for such price as he shall approve," empowered the latter to sell to the lower of two bidders, notwithstanding the advertisement was that the sale would be to the highest bidder. P. 258 U. S. 201.

3. The Secretary, overlooking a higher bid by mistake, approved a lower one as the highest and issued a bill of sale of the vessel accordingly. Held that his action was conclusive in favor of the lower bidder, and that the mistake, not attributable to the latter, gave the competitor no equitable claim to the title. P. 258 U. S. 201.

4. An appeal here from a decision of the circuit court of appeals adjudging property to one of two interpleaded defendants held not affected by entry of decree, under that court's mandate, in the district court, and the act of the plaintiff in delivering the property under it. P. 258 U. S. 202.

267 F. 692 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court in favor of Levinson and adverse to Johnson in a suit in the nature of an interpleader brought against them by the United States to determine their respective rights in a vessel.

Page 258 U. S. 199

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