The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918. Page: 1,013
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UNITED STATES V. BRAINERD
ruptcy, and were retained in pursuance of orders, either general or
special, made in the course of administration of such estates. It is
therefore evident any such funds arose out of the private property of
either the creditors of said estates in bankruptcy or of the bankrupts
themselves, and that the plaintiff has no pecuniary interest therein,
except it transpire in some particular case the government was a cred-
itor claiming under the law in its own right, and no such claim is pre-
sented in these cases. Being the private property of the parties to
the bankruptcy proceeding out of which the funds arose, and the
government having no pecuniary interest therein, more than it or the
state has in the private property of parties litigant in courts of their
creation, and conceding for the purpose of argument, but not so hold-
ing, in these cases, the moneys retained by the referees as fees or
compensation for services performed was, as claimed by plaintiff, in
excess of the amounts allowed under the provisions of the Bankruptcy
Act, and in consequence the orders of allowance made were erroneous,
the question presented here for decision, in its last analysis, is this:
May the United States, as the representative of those claimants be-
fore its bankruptcy court to whom the funds in dispute would have
gone, had such erroneous orders not been made, here, now, in these
purely collateral actions, have such erroneous orders gn which the
claims of the referees were allowed and paid re-examined and cor-
rected to the use and for the benefit of private parties litigant, who
failed, neglected, or refused in the time, manner, and form by the
law provided to have said orders reviewed for error?
An examination of the adjudicated cases discloses many instances
in which the government, in the exercise of a power expressly con-
ferred by the law, or in the exercise of power implied from the law,
as the representative of a class in which it has a special interest, or
in the performance of some public duty, has appeared as a party lit-
igant in such representative capacity as it must appear in these actions
in order to recover. Of such nature are all those suits brought by the
government to cancel patents to a portion of the public domain, to
recover or control the alienation of lands belonging to its Indian wards,
to cancel judgment of naturalization, letters patent, and the hke mat-
ters of equitable cognizance United States v. San Jacinto Tin Co.,
125 U. S. 273, 8 Sup. Ct. 850, 31 L. Ed. 747; United States v. Ameri-
can Bell Telephone Co., 128 U. S. 315, 9 Sup. Ct. 90, 32 L. Ed. 450;
United States v. Rickert, 188 U. S. 432, 23 Sup. Ct. 478, 47 L. Ed.
532; Heckman v. United States, 224 U. S. 413, 32 Sup Ct. 424, 56
L. Ed. 820; Causey v. United States, 240 U. S. 402, 36 Sup. Ct. 365,
60 L. Ed. 711.
Again, it has been held, in certain cases wherein a public official
acting under authority of the government is required to give an offi-
cial bond running to the government to account for and pay over to
those entitled to receive moneys coming into his hands as such official,
the government may institute an action on such official's bond for
the use and benefit of all those entitled to receive moneys coming into
the hands of such officer, for which he has failed or refused to ac-
count and pay over, but which he has appropriated to his own use under
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918., legislative document, 1918; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38821/m1/1028/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.