United States v. Daniel - 47 U.S. 11 (1848)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Daniel, 47 U.S. 6 How. 11 11 (1848)
United States v. Daniel
47 U.S. (6 How.) 11
An action on the case will not lie against the executors of a deceased marshal where executions had been placed in the hands of the marshal and false returns made on some of them and imperfect and insufficient entries on others.
The rule respecting abatement is this: if the person charged has received no benefit to himself at the expense of the sufferer, the cause of action does not survive. But where, by means of the offense, property is acquired which benefits the testator, there an action for the value of the property survives against the executor.
As to the form of action, none will lie at common law against an executor where the general issue plea is "not guilty."
In August, 1841, the United States brought an action of trespass on the case against the defendants as executors of Beverly Daniel, late marshal, and at May term, 1843, a verdict was found for the plaintiffs, subject to the opinion of the court upon the following case stated.
Beverly Daniel, being in his lifetime marshal of the District of North Carolina, certain executions, at the instance of the United States, from the District Court of Newbern, came to the hands of one of the deputies of the said marshal, who, in the name and on behalf of his principal, made false returns upon some of them and imperfect and insufficient entries on others. After the death of Daniel, this action on the case was brought against the defendants, his executors, to recover damages for the said false and insufficient returns, and it is contended on the part of the defendants that the action will not lie and is not sustainable against them as executors, and it is agreed by the parties that judgment shall be rendered for the plaintiffs upon the said verdict if the court shall be of opinion that such action is sustainable; otherwise, the said verdict to be set aside and the said action to be discontinued.
The judges being divided in opinion, the cause came up to this Court upon a certificate of such division.