United States v. Shannon
342 U.S. 288 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Shannon, 342 U.S. 288 (1952)

United States v. Shannon

No. 47

Argued November 27, 1951

Decided January 14, 1952

342 U.S. 288

Syllabus

Respondents purchased from the owners a tract of land on which stood buildings that had been damaged by members of the Armed Forces. By the sale agreement, the vendors assigned any claim which they had against the United States for damage to the property. Respondents brought an action under the Tort Claims Act to recover on the damage claim, and joined their assignors as well as the United States as parties defendant. The District Court entered judgment for respondents against the United States alone, on the ground that all possible claimants were before the Court and the Anti-Assignment Act was therefore inapplicable. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The assignment of the claim against the United States was void under the Anti-Assignment Act, and the judgment is reversed. Pp. 342 U. S. 289-294.

1. The judgment below is based on a voluntary assignment. The considerations justifying exceptions to the Anti-Assignment Act for certain types of voluntary assignments are not present here, so the assignment falls within the prohibition of that Act. Pp. 342 U. S. 292-293.

2. The Anti-Assignment Act is not rendered inapplicable to this case by the fact that all possible claimants were before the court; nor by the fact that the assignment was executed under a "mutual mistake of law;" nor by the fact that "hardship" might otherwise result. Pp. 342 U. S. 293-294.

3. There was in this case no "unconscionable" conduct on the part of the government agents, who had no part in the making of the assignment. P. 342 U. S. 294.

186 F.2d 430, reversed.

In an action brought under the Tort Claims Act against the United States and others, the District Court entered judgment for the respondents against the United States alone. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 186 F.2d 430. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 808. Reversed, p. 342 U. S. 294.

Page 342 U. S. 289

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