Merritt v. United States - 267 U.S. 338 (1925)


U.S. Supreme Court

Merritt v. United States, 267 U.S. 338 (1925)

Merritt v. United States

No. 159

Argued January 5, 1925

Decided March 2, 1925

267 U.S. 338

Syllabus

1. Action by a subcontractor in the Court of Claims held not maintainable under the Dent Act, §§ 1 and 4, the petition not showing an agreement with the plaintiff entered into by or under authority of the Secretary of War, or performed, etc., prior to November 12, 1918, or a claim presented before June 30, 1919, or that, before a payment was made by the government to the prime contractor, the plaintiff had made expenditures, etc., "with the knowledge or approval of any agent of the Secretary of War duly authorized thereunto." P. 267 U. S. 340.

2. Where a contractor, upon settling with the government under the Dent Act, induced the claimant to release his subcontract for less than was due him by fraudulently misrepresenting to him the basis upon which the settlement was made, and the government, learning this, exacted a repayment to itself from the contractor of of an amount equal to that of which the claimant had thus been defrauded, but it did not appear that the exaction was for the claimant's benefit, held that the claimant had no cause of action to recover this amount from the United States under the Tucker Act, since the United States was under no express contract to pay the claimant, and none was to be implied in fact. P. 267 U. S. 340.

3. The Tucker Act does not give a right of action against the United States in those cases where, if the transaction were between private parties, recovery could be had upon a contract implied in law. Id.

4. The practice of the Court of Claims does not allow a general . statement of claim in analogy to the common counts, but requires

Page 267 U. S. 339

a plain, concise statement of the facts relied on, not leaving the defendant in doubt as to what must be met. P. 267 U. S. 341.

58 Ct.Clms. 371 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Claims dismissing the petition on demurrer.



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