Hew Hampshire Fire Ins. Co. v. Scanlon,
362 U.S. 404 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hew Hampshire Fire Ins. Co. v. Scanlon, 362 U.S. 404 (1960)

Hew Hampshire Fire Insurance Co. v. Scanlon

No. 339

Argued March 22, 1960

Decided April 25, 1960

362 U.S. 404


Acting under statutory authority to levy, distrain or seize property or rights to property belonging to a delinquent taxpayer, a District Director of Internal Revenue served notices of levy on a city demanding that it pay to him money alleged to be due from the city to a contractor for construction work. The surety on the contractor's performance and payment bonds then instituted a summary proceeding in a Federal District Court to have the levy quashed, claiming that the money was due to it, instead of to the contractor, since the surety had been compelled to complete performance of the contract when the contractor defaulted.

Held: the District Court was without jurisdiction to determine the rights of the parties in a summary proceeding. Pp. 362 U. S. 405-410.

(a) Especially when a controversy like this is begun by peremptory seizure without an initial determination of the taxpayer's liability, there is neither justification nor authority for carving out an exception to the uniform and regular civil procedure laid down by the Federal Rules, either for the benefit of the party from whom the property was seized or for any other claimant. Pp. 362 U. S. 406-408.

(b) Such a summary trial of a claim for property seized by Internal Revenue officers is not authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 2463. Pp. 362 U. S. 408-410.

267 F.2d 941 affirmed.

Page 362 U. S. 405

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