Ackerlind v. United States,
240 U.S. 531 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ackerlind v. United States, 240 U.S. 531 (1916)

Ackerlind v. United States

No. 293

Argued March 15, 1916

Decided April 3, 1916

240 U.S. 531


Notwithstanding the requirements of § 3744 Rev.Stat., requiring contracts made by the Secretaries of War, of the Navy, and of the Interior to be reduced to writing and signed by the contracting parties, reformation of a contract so executed may be required in a proper case as against the United States, as it may be required notwithstanding the provisions of the Statute of Frauds.

Failure of a contractor to read the contract before executing the contract, the terms of which he had previously seen is not enough to debar him from seeking relief by having it properly reformed.

Although the Court of Claims may not have made findings in terms of certain facts which it has plainly assumed in its decision to be true,

Page 240 U. S. 532

if they are not controverted, and they do appear in the record, it is not necessary to send the case back for further finding.

In this case, held that a contract for delivery of coal should be reformed by striking out a clause in the printed form which it had been agreed should be, but by mistake of a clerk had not been, stricken out before execution.

When the government guarantees only a certain depth of water at an unloading dock, the fact that one vessel of greater draft had unloaded at it does not amount to proof that all vessels of that draft could do so, the Court of Claims having stated that it did not find as a fact there was generally an available depth of over twenty feet, and a claim for demurrage cannot be based on failure to unload vessels of greater draft than twenty feet of water at that dock.

The provision in the Philippine Tariff Act of March 3, 1905, c. 1408, § 15, 33 Stat. 928, 976, exempting from tonnage dues vessels belonging to, or employed in the service of, the United States does not apply to vessels that are not under the control of the United States. New Orleans-Belize S.S. Co. v. United States, 239 U. S. 202.

The ground of such exemption being to prevent interference with agencies of the government, it does not apply to an independent carrier who has simply contracted to deliver freight to the government.

49 Ct.Cl. 635 reversed in part and affirmed in part.

The facts, which involve the power of the Court of Claims to reform a contract with the United States and claims for demurrage arising under a contract for delivery of coal, are stated in the opinion.

Page 240 U. S. 533

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