Cary v. Curtis - 44 U.S. 236 (1845)
U.S. Supreme Court
Cary v. Curtis, 44 U.S. 3 How. 236 236 (1845)
Cary v. Curtis
44 U.S. (3 How.) 236
Since the passage of the Act of Congress of March 3, 1839, chap. 82, sec. 2, which requires collectors of the customs to place to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States all money which they receive for unascertained duties or for duties paid under protest, an action of assumpsit for money had and received will not lie against the collector for the return of such duties so received by him.
In what other modes the claimant can have access to the courts of justice this Court is not called upon in this case to decide.
This action was brought in the circuit court to recover money paid to Curtis as collector of the port of New York for duties. The declaration contained the common money counts, and the defendant pleaded the general issue. The cause was tried at November term, 1842.
The jury found for the plaintiffs, subject to the opinion of the court, among other things,
1. That the plaintiffs paid the sum of $181.75 to the defendants, on the 3d July, 1841, for duties on the goods imported as being raw silk.
2. That the goods on which the duties were demanded and paid, were not raw silk, but a manufactured article.
3. That the money so paid was under a written protest, made at the time of payment.
4. That the money had been paid into the Treasury by the defendant, in the month of July, 1841, and before the commencement of this suit.
Upon the argument of this cause, after verdict, several questions arose -- among others, the following, viz.:
Whether or not the 2d section of the Act of Congress, approved on 3 March, 1839, entitled "An act making appropriations for the civil and diplomatic expenses of government for the year 1839," was a bar to the action?
On this question the opinions of the judges were opposed. Whereupon, on motion of the plaintiffs by their counsel, it was ordered, that the foregoing state of the pleadings and facts, which is made under the direction of the judges, be certified under the seal of this Court, according to the statute in such case made and provided, to the Supreme Court of the United States, to the end, that the question on which the said disagreement has happened may be finally decided.