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Orvis v. Brownell

Supreme Court of the United States

February 4, 1953, Argued ; March 16, 1953, Decided

No. 404

Opinion

 [*184]   [**596]   [***942]  MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.

 [**597]  This suit, under § 9 (a) of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 1 asks a decree that petitioners have an interest in vested property  [****3]  of Japanese nationals in the hands of the Alien Property Custodian, that he holds the property  [*185]  subject to petitioners'  [***943]  attachment lien and must satisfy their judgment. The controlling facts are not in controversy. The Japanese nationals involved were indebted to petitioners, while a third party, Anderson, Clayton & Co., was indebted to those Japanese. On June 14, 1941, Executive Order No. 8389 became effective as to Japan, and it blocked all transfers of evidences of debt or interests in property of Japanese citizens. Thereafter, petitioners commenced suit against the Japanese debtors in a New York state court and, without obtaining a license therefor, attached the Anderson, Clayton & Co. credit on June 25, 1943. Judgment was obtained, whereupon petitioners applied for a federal license to permit Anderson, Clayton & Co. to pay it. The application was refused.

 [****4]  Meanwhile, on June 27, 1947, the Custodian vested the Anderson, Clayton & Co. credit by a res vesting order and it was paid over to the Custodian. Petitioners filed notice of their present claim under § 9 (a) of the Act for return of an interest in vested property, which was treated as another application for a retroactive license. The claim was dismissed insofar as it was a claim under § 9 (a), based on interest in property, but was left and still is pending as a claim for payment of a debt under § 34 of the Act.

The difference between what was denied and what was left pending is important, for if the attachment and judgment create an interest in the property which can be retrieved from the Custodian under § 9 (a), the judgment will be paid in full. On the other hand, if it is only an allowable debt under § 34, unless granted a priority it apparently will be paid only in part, since it appears that claims against the Japanese nationals considerably exceed the funds in the Custodian's hands.

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345 U.S. 183 *; 73 S. Ct. 596 **; 97 L. Ed. 938 ***; 1953 U.S. LEXIS 2611 ****

ORVIS ET AL. v. BROWNELL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, SUCCESSOR TO THE ALIEN PROPERTY CUSTODIAN

Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND  [****2]  CIRCUIT.

The District Court granted petitioners' motion for judgment on the pleadings in a suit against the Custodian under § 9 (a) of the Trading with the Enemy Act. The Court of Appeals reversed. 198 F.2d 708. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 902. At the time of the argument, February 4, 1953, Brownell, present Attorney General, was substituted as respondent for McGranery, former Attorney General. Affirmed, p. 189.

Disposition:  198 F.2d 708, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

attachment, vested, Enemy, liens, freezing, claimant, license

Governments, Federal Government, Property, Executive Offices, International Trade Law, International Commerce & Trade, Exports & Imports, General Overview, Tax Law, Federal Tax Administration & Procedures, Effect of Treasury Regulations, US Treasury Authority, Authority to Regulate, Estate, Gift & Trust Law, Trusts