United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
February 2, 1953
PEOPLES NATIONAL BANK OF CHICAGO.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Igoe, District Judge.
On this 2nd day of February, 1953, the same being one of the
regular judicial days of this Court, this cause coming on for
trial on the complaint of the plaintiff, United States of
America, and the answer of the defendant, Peoples National Bank
of Chicago, a National Banking Association; the respective
parties hereto, by their attorneys, having agreed to submit the
issues to the Court for trial without a jury.
And the plaintiff, the United States of America, having
presented as evidence the official records of the Veterans
Administration pertaining to the deceased veteran, Harry L.
Marble, XC 16 510 889, and sworn testimony as to the authenticity
of said records and the pertinent contents thereof.
And it appearing to the Court from said evidence that the
veteran, Harry L. Marble, died on or about February 20, 1952, a
resident of Cook County, Illinois, and a veteran of the armed
forces of the United States; that no administration of his estate
has been instituted or contemplated; that on the date of his
death the deceased veteran was a patient receiving
hospitalization and medical care at the expense of the Government
in the Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, Illinois.
It further appearing to the Court that the deceased veteran,
Harry L. Marble, died intestate, leaving no spouse, heirs or next
of kin entitled to his personal property under the laws of
Illinois; that, as a condition precedent to his admission to the
Veterans Administration Hospital, the said veteran, Harry L.
Marble, had executed an application for such hospitalization,
which included his agreement as follows:
"I agree that, in the event of my death while under
care, leaving no heirs at law nor next of kin, all
personal property owned by me at the time of my
death, including money or choses in action held by me
and not disposed of by will, whether such property be
the proceeds of pension, compensation, retirement
pay, or life insurance, or otherwise derived, shall
vest in and become the property of the Veterans
Administration for the sole use and benefit of the
post fund, and that all my personal property shall
upon my death, while under care, at once pass to and
vest in the Veterans Administration subject to be
reclaimed by any legatee or person entitled to take
the same by inheritance at any time within 5 years
after my death."
It further appearing to the Court that the plaintiff has proved
and the defendant has admitted by its pleadings that the
defendant, a National Banking Association, is engaged in the
banking business at 8 North Ogden Avenue, Chicago, Illinois; that
during the course of its business it came into possession of
funds of the said deceased veteran, Harry L. Marble, in the
principal amount of $900 on deposit in savings account No. 13866
at the defendant bank; that, in addition to said amount, the said
savings account has also earned the semi-annual interest
installments of July 1, 1952 and January 1, 1953.
It further appearing to the Court that the deceased veteran was
buried at Government expense and that no claims of creditors have
It further appearing to the Court that the plaintiff has proved
and the defendant has admitted by its pleadings that demand was
made by the plaintiff upon the defendant in accordance with the
provisions of 38 U.S.C.A. § 17d, to release and transfer the
funds in the savings account of the deceased to the plaintiff,
but that the defendant has failed and refused to do so.
The Court, after considering all the evidence and the
pleadings, finds that, by virtue of Title 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 17 and
17a, it was at all times a condition precedent to the furnishing
and acceptance of the hospital care by the said Harry L. Marble
that, upon his death intestate, while receiving such care in a
Veterans Administration hospital, without surviving spouse, heirs
or next of kin, the United States of America, as trustee for the
sole use and benefit of the General Post Fund, would become
immediately vested with the ownership of all his personal
property, and that a valid contract to that effect existed
between Harry L. Marble and the United States of America, as such
trustee, at and before his death.
The Court further finds that the said Harry L. Marble died on
or about February 20, 1952, while receiving care and treatment at
Government expense in the Veterans Administration Hospital,
Hines, Illinois, and intestate, without leaving any surviving
spouse, heirs or next of kin entitled to receive his property
under the laws of Illinois; that no claims of creditors or other
claimants have been asserted.
The Court further finds that the defendant, by virtue of 38
U.S.C.A. §§ 17-17j, was obligated and required, upon demand by
the plaintiff, to deliver the personal property in its hands
belonging to the deceased veteran, Harry L. Marble, to the
Administrator of Veterans' Affairs or his authorized
representative, said funds to inure to the sole use and benefit
of the General Post Fund; that demand was made by the said
plaintiff to the said defendant but that the said defendant has
failed and refused to comply with the demand but is holding said
funds unlawfully and without justification despite the fact that
the above described statute provides a complete acquittance to
the defendant upon delivery of such funds.
The Court further finds that the provisions of 38 U.S.C.A. §§
17-17j, are self-executing and probate or administration
proceedings are not conditions precedent to the defendant's
release of said funds to the plaintiff; that the said statute
provides a full and adequate method whereby any possible heirs,
creditors or other entitled claimants may present their claims to
It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed and the Court
does hereby order, adjudge and decree that judgment be and is
hereby entered herein against the defendant, Peoples National
Bank of Chicago, a National Banking Association, and in favor of
the plaintiff, the United States of America, in the amount of
$900, plus the semi-annual interest installments
of July 1, 1952, and January 1, 1953, and that costs of suit be
and are hereby taxed against the defendant.
It is further ordered, that any remittance made in payment of
this Judgment shall be made payable to the Veterans
Administration and may be delivered to the attorney for the
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