Benbow v. Iowa City
74 U.S. 313 (1868)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Benbow v. Iowa City, 74 U.S. 7 Wall. 313 313 (1868)

Benbow v. Iowa City

74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 313

Syllabus

A return to a mandamus ordering a municipal corporation forthwith to levy a specific tax upon the taxable property of a city for the year 1865 sufficient to pay a judgment specified, collect the tax and pay the same, or show cause to the contrary by the next term of the court is not answered by a return that the defendants,

"in obedience to the order of the court, did proceed to levy a tax of one percent upon the taxable property of the said city for the purpose of paying the judgment named in the information and other claims, and that the said tax is sufficient in amount to pay the said judgment and other claims for the payment of which it was levied."

The return should have disclosed the whole act constituting the levy, so as to enable the court to determine whether it was sufficient to pay the judgment of the relator. It was also erroneous in returning that the tax was levied to pay this judgment "and other claims."

Benbow recovered judgment on the coupons attached to certain bonds which Iowa City issued to pay its subscription

Page 74 U. S. 314

to the stock of the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Company, and having failed by the ordinary process at law to obtain satisfaction of his judgment, he applied to the circuit court for a mandamus to compel the mayor and aldermen, in obedience to the provisions of the ordinance authorizing the issue of these bonds, to levy and collect the requisite tax to pay the judgment.

The court awarded the writ and commanded the mayor and aldermen forthwith to levy a specific tax upon the taxable property of the city for the year 1865 sufficient to pay the judgment, interest, and costs, collect the tax and pay the same, or show cause to the contrary by the next term of the court.

The defendants made return to the writ, that

"in obedience to the order of the court, they did proceed to levy a tax of one percent upon the taxable property of the said city for the purpose of paying the judgment named in the information and other claims, and that the said tax is sufficient in amount to pay the said judgment and other claims for the payment of which it was levied."

To this return the relator demurred as insufficient. The court overruled the demurrer and gave judgment accordingly; and the relator brought the case here.

Official Supreme Court caselaw is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia caselaw is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.