Bramwell v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co.,
269 U.S. 483 (1926)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bramwell v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co., 269 U.S. 483 (1926)

Bramwell v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company


Argued November 23, 1925

Decided January 11, 1926

269 U.S. 483


1. Indebtedness of a bank for Indian moneys, individual and tribal, deposited with it by the Superintendent of an Indian Reservation and secured by a bond given by the bank to the United States is an indebtedness to the United States within Rev.Stats. § 3466. P. 269 U. S. 487.

2. Section 3466, Rev.Stats., is to be liberally construed in favor of the United States. Id.

3. The Priority Act extends to all debts due the United States from insolvent living debtors when their insolvency is shown in one of the ways specified in § 3466. P. 269 U. S. 487.

4. The specified ways include all cases in which the insolvent debtor makes a voluntary assignment of his property, without regard to the purpose or manner of the assignment, and all in which an act of bankruptcy is committed under the laws of a state or a national bankruptcy law, and the Act does not expressly require that the debtor should be divested, or that the person on whom is imposed the duty to pay the United States first, shall have become invested, with the title to the debtor's property. P. 269 U. S. 488.

5. An act may be "an act of bankruptcy" within § 3466 although the debtor, being a bank, is excepted from the operation of the Bankruptcy Law. P. 269 U. S. 489.

6. Construed together, §§ 3466 and 3467 mean that a debt due the United States is required first to be satisfied when possession and control of the insolvent's estate are given to any person charged with the duty of applying it to payment of the debts of the insolvent as the rights and priorities of creditors may be made to appear. P. 269 U. S. 490.

7. Where the property and business of an Oregon bank were placed, through a resolution of its directors, in the exclusive possession and control of the state Superintendent of Banks to be administered and disposed of for the benefit of creditors pursuant to Oregon Ls. §§ 6220-6223, under which the Superintendent performs the function of assignee, receiver, or trustee for the liquidation of the debts

Page 269 U. S. 484

of the insolvent, held that, within the meaning of the Priority Act, there was a voluntary assignment, and also an act of bankruptcy within the definition of the Bankruptcy Law. P. 269 U. S. 490.

8. General expressions in an opinion are to be taken in connection with the case under consideration. P. 269 U. S. 489.

299 F. 705 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court (295 F. 331) in favor of the Guaranty Company in its suit to require the Oregon Superintendent of Banks to pay first, out of the assets of an insolvent bank, a debt to the United States which had been assigned to the plaintiff.

Page 269 U. S. 485

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