Hannewinkle v. Georgetown
82 U.S. 547 (1872)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hannewinkle v. Georgetown, 82 U.S. 15 Wall. 547 547 (1872)

Hannewinkle v. Georgetown

82 U.S. (15 Wall.) 547

Syllabus

1. A bill to restrain the collection of a tax cannot be maintained on the sole ground of the illegality of the tax. There must be an allegation of fraud, that it creates a cloud upon the title, that there is apprehension of multiplicity of suits, or the allegation of some cause presenting a case of equity jurisdiction.

2. There exists no such cloud upon the title as justifies the interference of a court of equity where the proceedings are void upon their face. Dows v. City of Chicago, 11 Wall. 109, affirmed.

Hannewinkle filed his bill against the corporation of the City of Georgetown and its collector of taxes to enjoin them from selling certain real estate for a tax claimed by the corporation under a certain act of Congress, which made part of the city charter. The bill alleged that the corporation attempted to condemn to public use and open and improve Stoddard Street in that city; that the complainant owned

Page 82 U. S. 548

certain premises described on that street; that a part of the premises were condemned to public use, and his damages assessed at $3,139; that the same jury which thus assessed his damages, assessed him also for benefits to the residue of his property arising from the same improvements in the sum of $3,425, and attempted to make the assessment a lien and charge on the said residue, by and for which the same could be sold. This the bill alleged was without authority of law and contrary to the act of Congress under which the city professed to act. The bill prayed that the defendants might be restrained from selling the property. An answer was put in. The cause was brought to a hearing upon an agreed state of facts, and the bill dismissed with costs. From this decree of dismissal the defendant now appealed to this Court.

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