A-947, APRIL 17, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 832

A-947: Apr 17, 1926

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WHEN AN APPEAL IS TAKEN BY THE UNITED STATES FROM A JUDGMENT RENDERED IN FAVOR OF A CLAIMANT IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS AND SAID JUDGMENT IS AFFIRMED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES INTEREST AT THE RATE OF 4 PERCENT PER ANNUM ACCRUES ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS FROM THE DATE OF FILING A TRANSCRIPT THEREOF IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE DATE THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE IS ISSUED BY THE SUPREME COURT. TO THE PROVISO THAT IN NO CASE SHALL INTEREST BE ALLOWED AFTER THE TERM OF THE SUPREME COURT AT WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED. THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE THAT ON MARCH 3. FROM THIS JUDGMENT AN APPEAL WAS TAKEN BY THE UNITED STATES AND ON JANUARY 18. WAS NOT ISSUED BY THE SUPREME COURT TO THE COURT OF CLAIMS UNTIL MARCH 11.

A-947, APRIL 17, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 832

INTEREST ON JUDGMENTS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1890, 26 STAT. 537, WHEN AN APPEAL IS TAKEN BY THE UNITED STATES FROM A JUDGMENT RENDERED IN FAVOR OF A CLAIMANT IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS AND SAID JUDGMENT IS AFFIRMED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES INTEREST AT THE RATE OF 4 PERCENT PER ANNUM ACCRUES ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS FROM THE DATE OF FILING A TRANSCRIPT THEREOF IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE DATE THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE IS ISSUED BY THE SUPREME COURT, SUBJECT, HOWEVER, TO THE PROVISO THAT IN NO CASE SHALL INTEREST BE ALLOWED AFTER THE TERM OF THE SUPREME COURT AT WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, APRIL 17, 1926:

I AM IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 31, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO THE PERIOD FOR WHICH INTEREST SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON A JUDGMENT OBTAINED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY THE WABASH RAILWAY CO. IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS (CASE C-74).

THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE THAT ON MARCH 3, 1924, THE COURT OF CLAIMS RENDERED A JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF THE WABASH RAILWAY CO. FOR $7,663.56. FROM THIS JUDGMENT AN APPEAL WAS TAKEN BY THE UNITED STATES AND ON JANUARY 18, 1926, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS. THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE, HOWEVER, WAS NOT ISSUED BY THE SUPREME COURT TO THE COURT OF CLAIMS UNTIL MARCH 11, 1926. YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO WHETHER INTEREST SHOULD BE COMPUTED TO "THE DATE OF THE AFFIRMANCE BY THE SUPREME COURT (IN THE SPECIFIC CASE HEREIN REFERRED TO, JANUARY 18, 1926) OR TO THE DATE OF THE ISSUANCE OF THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT AND ITS FILING IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS (IN THIS CASE MARCH 12, 1926).' YOU STATE THAT THE USUAL PROCEDURE AND PRACTICE IN THE PAST HAS BEEN TO ALLOW INTEREST ON THE AMOUNT OF THE JUDGMENT FROM THE DATE OF FILING OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT UP TO THE DATE WHEN THE JUDGMENT IS AFFIRMED BY THE SUPREME COURT AS SHOWN IN THE MANDATE AND NOT TO THE DATE WHEN THE MANDATE IS ISSUED; AND YOU INVITE ATTENTION TO DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN 4 COMP. DEC. 571, 576, AND 5 ID. 893, 898.

THE ALLOWANCE OF INTEREST ON JUDGMENTS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1890, 26 STAT. 537, WHICH PROVIDES:

THAT HEREAFTER IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO CERTIFY TO CONGRESS FOR APPROPRIATION ONLY SUCH JUDGMENTS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS AS ARE NOT TO BE APPEALED, OR SUCH APPEALED CASES AS SHALL HAVE BEEN DECIDED BY THE SUPREME COURT TO BE DUE AND PAYABLE. AND ON JUDGMENTS IN FAVOR OF CLAIMANTS WHICH HAVE BEEN APPEALED BY THE UNITED STATES AND AFFIRMED BY THE SUPREME COURT, INTEREST, AT THE RATE OF FOUR PERCENTUM PER ANNUM, SHALL BE ALLOWED AND PAID FROM THE DATE OF FILING THE TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT UP TO AND INCLUDING THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE BY THE SUPREME COURT:PROVIDED, THAT IN NO CASE SHALL INTEREST BE ALLOWED AFTER THE TERM OF THE SUPREME COURT AT WHICH SAID JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED.

UNDER THE PLAIN TERMS OF THIS STATUTE THE INTEREST ACCRUES "UP TO AND INCLUDING THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE BY THE SUPREME COURT," SUBJECT TO THE PROVISO THAT INTEREST SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED AFTER THE TERM OF THE SUPREME COURT AT WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED. TO HOLD THAT THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES INTEREST ONLY TO THE DATE OF AFFIRMANCE WOULD GIVE NO EFFECT WHATEVER TO THE WORDS "THE MANDATE OF" OR TO THE PROVISO. SAID PROVISO SHOWS CONCLUSIVELY THAT IT WAS NOT THE INTENT TO LIMIT THE INTEREST PERIOD TO THE DATE OF AFFIRMANCE, ITS PLAIN PURPOSE BEING TO PREVENT INTEREST FROM ACCRUING FOR THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE END OF THE TERM AT WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED AND THE SUBSEQUENT TERM IN CASES IN WHICH THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE MIGHT NOT BE ISSUED DURING THE TERM AT WHICH THE JUDGMENT WAS AFFIRMED.

IT IS FURTHER TO BE OBSERVED THAT THE COURT OF CLAIMS IN ALLOWING INTEREST UNDER THIS STATUTE IN THE CASE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK V. THE UNITED STATES, 31 CT.CLS. 276, DETERMINED THE PERIOD FOR WHICH INTEREST ACCRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE STATUTE AND AWARDED INTEREST TO THE DATE OF THE MANDATE ISSUED IN THAT CASE AND NOT MERELY TO THE DATE OF AFFIRMANCE. THERE THE SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED A JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS ON JANUARY 6, 1896, BUT THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE WAS NOT ISSUED UNTIL FEBRUARY 3, 1896. IN THAT CASE THE COURT OF CLAIMS SAID:

* * * THE ALLOWANCE OF INTEREST IS NOT A MATTER OF DISCRETION WITH EITHER COURT, BUT OF LEGAL RIGHT * * *. TAKING THE OPINION, MANDATE, AND ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT AND READING THEM TOGETHER IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT THE SUPREME COURT INTENDED THAT THIS COURT SHOULD ENTER ONE JUDGMENT WHICH WOULD INCLUDE ALL THAT THE CLAIMANT IS ENTITLED TO UNDER THE MANDATE AND THE STATUTE.

THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT IS THAT THE CLAIMANT RECOVERED THE SUM OF $91,320.84, THE AMOUNT OF THE FORMER JUDGMENT OF THIS COURT, WITH INTEREST AT 4 PERCENT PER ANNUM, FROM JULY 19, 1892, WHEN THE TRANSCRIPT OF RECORD WAS PRESENTED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, TO FEBRUARY 3, 1896, THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT, $12,926.97, AND THE ADDITIONAL SUM ALLOWED BY THAT COURT, $39,867.13, AMOUNTING IN ALL TO $144,114.94.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO DECISIONS OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER IT IS NOTED THAT IN 4 COMP. DEC. 571, IT IS STATED: "THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT IS DATED MARCH 22, 1898," AND THE CONCLUDING SENTENCE OF THAT DECISION HOLDS THAT INTEREST ACCRUED ,FROM THE DATE OF FILING THE TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO AND INCLUDING THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT, AS PRESCRIBED BY THE STATUTE.' IN THE DECISION RENDERED IN 5 COMP. DEC. 893, IT IS STATED THAT THE UNITED STATES APPEALED FROM A JUDGMENT RENDERED BY THE COURT OF CLAIMS IN THE CASE OF THE NEW YORK INDIANS V. UNITED STATES, AND THAT THE SUPREME COURT DISMISSED THE APPEAL ON MARCH 20, 1899. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT, ON MOTION OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, THE SUPREME COURT ISSUED ITS MANDATE AS OF APRIL 19, 1899. IN THAT CASE LIKEWISE THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY FOUND THAT INTEREST ACCRUED TO AND INCLUDING THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT. IT DOES NOT APPEAR DEFINITELY FROM THE DECISION FOUND IN 4 COMP. DEC. 571 WHETHER MARCH 22, 1898, WAS ACTUALLY THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OR THE DATE OF THE AFFIRMANCE OF THE JUDGMENT OF THE LOWER COURT AS IT APPEARED IN THE MANDATE. THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF EACH DECISION, HOWEVER, SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT INTEREST ACCRUES TO THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF THE SUPREME COURT.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS HELD THAT THE PHRASE "THE DATE OF THE MANDATE OF AFFIRMANCE" OCCURRING IN THE ACT REFERS TO THE DATE OF THE ISSUANCE OF THE MANDATE AND NOT TO THE DATE OF AFFIRMANCE AND, THEREFORE, THAT INTEREST ACCRUED ON THE JUDGMENT IN THIS CASE TO AND INCLUDING MARCH 11, 1926.