United States v. Caltex, Inc.,
344 U.S. 149 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Caltex, Inc., 344 U.S. 149 (1952)

United States v. Caltex (Philippines), Inc.

No. 16

Argued October 20, 1952

Decided December 8, 1952

344 U.S. 149


In the circumstances of this case, the wartime destruction of private property by the Army to prevent its imminent capture and use by an advancing enemy did not entitle the owner to compensation under the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 344 U. S. 150-156.

(a) Whether or not the principle laid down in United States v. Pacific R. Co., 120 U. S. 227, was dictum when enunciated, this Court holds that it is the law today. Pp. 344 U. S. 153-154.

(b) Mitchell v. Harmony, 13 How. 115, and United States v. Russell, 13 Wall. 623, distinguished. Pp. 344 U. S. 152-153.

(c) A different result is not required by the fact that the Army exercised "deliberation" in singling out this property, in "requisitioning" it from its owners, and in exercising "control" over it before destroying it, nor by the fact that the destruction was effected prior to withdrawal. Pp. 154-155.

120 Ct.Cl. 518, 100 F.Supp. 970, reversed.

In a suit to recover compensation under the Fifth Amendment for property destroyed by the Army in wartime to prevent its use by the enemy, the Court of Claims gave judgment for the plaintiffs. 120 Ct.Cl. 518, 100 F.Supp. 970. This Court granted certiorari. 343 U.S. 955. Reversed, p. 344 U. S. 156.

Page 344 U. S. 150

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