Mississippi ex Rel. Robertson v. Miller
276 U.S. 174 (1928)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Mississippi ex Rel. Robertson v. Miller, 276 U.S. 174 (1928)

Mississippi ex Rel. Robertson v. Miller

No. 206

Argued January 20, 1928

Decided February 20, 1928

276 U.S. 174

Syllabus

1. After services have been rendered by a public officer under a law specifying his compensation, there arises an implied contract under which he is entitled to have the amount so fixed. P. 276 U. S. 179.

2. The protection of the Contract Clause of the federal Constitution extends to such contracts. Id.

3. Relator, while a revenue agent in Mississippi, brought suits for recovery of past due taxes, and, by the law then in force, was thereupon entitled to a specified percentage of the taxes, payable upon their collection, and was authorized, upon his retirement, to prosecute the suits in the name of his successor. An Act passed after his retirement which authorized any suits brought by an outgoing agent to be conducted in the name of his successor upon petition of the latter showing to the court that he had investigated its merits and believed that it was just and should be maintained, and which provided that the commissions derived from such suits, when the successor had thus joined therein, should be shared equally between him and his predecessor, was construed retroactively by the state court as requiring that commissions due the relator from the suits brought by him should be so shared, albeit the successor had performed no services in the matters beyond receiving payment of the taxes from the taxpayers. Held violative of the relator's rights under the Contract Clause of the Constitution. P. 276 U. S. 178.

144 Miss. 614 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Mississippi which affirmed a judgment giving the relator but one-half of the amount of certain commissions claimed as compensation for services rendered by him as a revenue agent in investigating and suing for past due taxes. This suit was against his successor in office, to whom the taxes had been paid.

Page 276 U. S. 175

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