United States v. Cornell Steamboat Company (202 U.S. 184)
This was a petition under what is known as the Tucker act, defining the jurisdiction of the court of claims, to recover salvage upon the duties on 1,883 bags of sugar, cargo of the lighter Bangor.
The facts agreed upon and found by the court are substantially as follows:
The steamboat company, a New York corporation, and owner of the steam tug R. G. Townsend, at great risk and peril to the tug, saved a certain lot of 1,883 bags of sugar on board of a lighter called the Bangor, in the waters of the port of New York, which was in danger of being destroyed by fire. The sugar had been imported from a foreign country, was subject to duty under the laws of the United States, and at the time of the fire had not been delivered to the consignees, and was still in the possession and control of the customs officers. The duties on this sugar, amounting to $6,000, had been paid to the government.
Petitioner filed a libel in the district court against the cargo to recover salvage compensation for services rendered in saving the sugar. The case resulted in a decree awarding the petitioner salvage, amounting to 10 per cent of the value of the property saved, viz., $1,274.03. 108 Fed. 277. In fixing this sum, the district court considered the invoice value of the sugar only, excluding salvage upon the duties saved to the United States by the salving services.
Upon these facts the district court awarded the petitioner 10 per cent upon the amount of the duties saved to the United States, namely, $600, with clerk's fees, $3.60. 130 Fed. 480. The circuit court of appeals affirmed this judgment (137 Fed. 455), whereupon the United States applied for this writ of certiorari.
Assistant Attorney General McReynolds for petitioner.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 185-187 intentionally omitted]
Mr. R. D. Benedict and Messrs. Benedict & Benedict for respondent.
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[Argument of Counsel from 187 intentionally omitted]
Mr. Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the court: