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BATES MANUFACTURING CO. v. UNITED STATES

decided: March 28, 1938.

BATES MANUFACTURING CO
v.
UNITED STATES



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT.

Hughes, McReynolds, Brandeis, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Black; Mr. Justice Cardozo and Mr. Justice Reed took no part in the consideration or decision of this case

Author: Black

[ 303 U.S. Page 568]

 MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Revenue Act of 1926*fn1 provides that "No suit . . . shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any internal-revenue tax alleged to have been erroneously or illegally assessed or collected, . . . unless such suit . . . is begun within two years after the disallowance of . . . such claim . . ."

The Tucker Act of March 3, 1887*fn2 as amended, gives concurrent jurisdiction to the District Courts and the Court of Claims in suits against the United States including those for recovery of erroneous or illegally collected taxes.*fn3 Section 5 of the Tucker Act requires a plaintiff bringing suit against the government in the District Court to "file a petition, duly verified with the clerk of the respective court having jurisdiction of the case." Section 6 requires "that the plaintiff . . . cause

[ 303 U.S. Page 569]

     a copy of his petition . . . to be served upon the district attorney . . . , and . . . mail a copy . . . to the Attorney General . . . , and cause to be filed with the clerk of the court . . . affidavit of such service and . . . mailing . . ."

March 22, 1927, the petitioner's claim for tax refund was disallowed. March 21, 1929, within two years after the disallowance, a duly verified petition was filed in the District Court claiming the refund. March 25, 1929, two years and four days after the disallowance, the petition was served on the United States Attorney and mailed to the Attorney General.

The District Court held suit was not "begun" by filing the verified petition and dismissed the cause of action.*fn4 The Court of Appeals affirmed.*fn5

It is conceded that suit in the Court of Claims is "begun" when the petition is filed. Yet, it is insisted that suit is not "begun" in the District Court when the petition is filed although the Court of Claims and the District Courts are given concurrent jurisdiction by the Tucker Act. Consideration of the history and language of the statute leads us to a different conclusion.

Section 10 of the Act of March 3, 1863,*fn6 provides "That every claim against the United States, cognizable by the Court of Claims, shall be forever barred unless the petition setting forth a statement of the claim be filed . . . within six years after the claim first accrues . . . "

When the Tucker Act in 1887 greatly expanded the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims and gave District Courts concurrent ...


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