Beard v. Porter,
124 U.S. 437 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Beard v. Porter, 124 U.S. 437 (1888)

Beard v. Porter

Argued January 19, 1888

Decided January 30, 1888

124 U.S. 437


Merchandise was delivered to its importer after he paid the duties on it as first liquidated. Within a year after the entry, the local appraiser made a reappraisal and a second report, from which the importer appealed within such year. The board of reappraisement met after the year; the importer was present; the merchandise was not reappraised because it could not be found, and it was not examined, and the fees of the merchant appraiser were paid by the importer. The second report of the local appraiser increased the values of the goods from the invoice values, disallowed a discount which appeared on the invoice, and changed the rate of duty on some of the merchandise. The collector, after the expiration of the year, made a new liquidation by disallowing the discount and changing the rate of duty, as suggested by the local appraiser. Held that under § 21 of the Act of June 22, 1874, 18 Stat. 190, the first liquidation of duties was final and conclusive against the United States, as it did not appear that the second liquidation was based on any increase of the value of the merchandise or that the disallowance of the discount and the change of the rate of duty depended on such increase or were involved in any proper action of the local appraiser in appraising the merchandise or were matters which could not have been finally acted upon by the collector at any time within a year from the entry as well as at any other time, and without any reference to any increase in the appraised values of the goods.

Whether the taking of steps by the collector for a reappraisement by a local appraiser, within a year from the time of the entry, in a case where the question of reliquidation depends strictly upon a reappraisement of the value of the merchandise will have the effect to make the reliquidation valid, under § 21, although that is made after the expiration of the year, quaere.

The "protest" referred to in § 21 is a protest against the prior "settlement of duties" which the section proposes to declare to be final after the expiration of the year.

It is not necessary that the plaintiff should show by his declaration that he has brought the suit within the time limited by § 2931 of the Revised Statutes, although that must appear as a condition precedent to his recovery.

This was an action against a collector to recover an excess of duties paid on imported goods. Judgment for plaintiff, to

Page 124 U. S. 438

review which defendant sued out this writ of error. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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