Case v. Terrell - 78 U.S. 199 (1870)
U.S. Supreme Court
Case v. Terrell, 78 U.S. 11 Wall. 199 199 (1870)
Case v. Terrell
78 U.S. (11 Wall.) 199
1. No judgment for the payment of money can be rendered against the United States in any court other than the Court of Claims without a special act of Congress conferring jurisdiction.
2. A receiver of a national bank whose operations have been suspended by the Comptroller of the Currency for causes specified in the national Currency Act in no sense represents the government, and cannot subject it to the jurisdiction of the courts.
3. Nor can the Comptroller of the Currency, though he be sued himself and submit to it, subject the government to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts to determine the conflicting claims of the United States and other creditors in the funds of such a bank.
4. It is doubtful if he has a right to submit himself to the control of the courts in the discharge of duties specially entrusted to him by law.
Terrell and others, creditors of the First national Bank of New Orleans, which had failed and been put into liquidation, brought this bill in chancery in the court below against one Case, who on the failure of the bank had been appointed receiver of it, Hurlburd, Comptroller of the Currency of the United States, and one May and Beauregard, citizens of Louisiana.
The prayer for relief was that a certain admitted debt due to the United States from the bank be ascertained; that they (the United States) be charged with certain sums and required to account for them, and that a writ of injunction issue restraining the Comptroller from making a dividend of the funds of the bank until this account be adjusted.
Case and Hurlburd, the receiver and Comptroller as aforesaid, appeared and answered, the answer of the latter being put in for him by the district attorney, and neither signed by Hurlburd nor sworn to by him. In it,
"He submits, on behalf of the United States, to the decision of the court the claims of the United States to priority of payment over the allowed claims of the creditors of said bank that are not disputed."
The final decree, besides making a general order on the Comptroller to distribute the funds of the bank in his hands ratably among its creditors as the law directs, decreed against the United States in favor of the creditors of the bank for the sum of $206,039.91, and that no claim of the United States shall have any priority in the distribution of the funds of the bank except as to the bonds pledged to secure its circulation.
From this decree, Case, the receiver, and Hurlburd, the Comptroller, appealed.