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: 1,017
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UNITED STATES V. BRAINERD
the benefit of those who had their day in court as private parties liti-
gant, but slept on their rights until they cannot now be heard to com-
plain, and, indeed, are not complaining.
It has been many times held bonds or obligations of the nature set
forth in these actions in and of themselves neither create nor give any
right of action to the obligee therein named, or to the use of the per-
sons for whom given. The obligation out of which the cause of action
arises for its breach must rest in the law itself. The bonds given by
the referees impose no new or additional obligation on the referees.
The bonds are in the nature of a collateral security given by the ref-
erees to insure their faithful performance of the duties imposed by law.
Ryus v. Gruble, 31 Kan. 767, 3 Pac. 518; Spokane County v. Prescott,
19 Wash. 418, 53 Pac. 661, 67 Am. St. Rep. 737; City of Butte v.
Goodwin, 47 Mont. 155, 134 Pac. 670, Ann. Cas. 1914C, 1012. Hence
referees in bankruptcy are by the terms of the Bankruptcy Act re-
quired to give an obligation conditioned as above stated to insure the
faithful performance of their duties as ministerial officers, and not
their acts done in a judicial capacity. In Randle v. Brigham, 7 Wall.
523, 19 L. Ed. 285, Mr. Justice Field, delivering the opinion for the
"Now, it is a general principle, applicable to all judicial officers, that they
are not liable to a civil action for any judicial act done within their jurisdic-
tion. In reference to judges of limited and inferior authority, it has been
held that they are protected only when they act within their jurisdiction. If
this be the case with respect to them, no such limitation exists with respect to
judges of superior or general authority. They are not liable to civil actions
for their judicial acts, even when such acts are in excess of their jurisdiction,
unless perhaps where the acts in excess of jurisdiction are done maliciously
or corruptly. This doctrine is as old as the law, and its maintenance is
essential to the impartial administration of justice. Any other doctrine would
necessarily lead to the degradation of the judicial authority and the destruc-
tion of its usefulness."
See, also, Alzua v. Johnson, 231 U. S. 106, 34 Sup. Ct. 27, 58 L. Ed.
142; White v. Morse, 139 Mass. 162, 29 N. E. 539; Butler v. Potter,
17 Johns. (N. Y.) 145; State ex rel. v. Jackson, 68 Ind. 58.
As a necessary sequence the orders of allowance to the defendant
referees in these cases were made in the exercise of a judicial duty or
power. Even if it be conceded, for the purpose of argument, such or-
ders were erroneous under the terms of the Bankruptcy Act, they may
not by this court be reviewed or corrected in these purely collateral
actions, nor may the bondsmen be held liable to an action thereon by
the plaintiff after the estate in which the orders were made and the fees
paid to the referees is finally closed. In re Allert (D. C.) 173 Fed.
691; United States v. Sondheim (D. C.) 188 Fed. 378; In re Tebo (D.
C.) 101 Fed. 419.
It follows the several demurrers interposed by the defendants to
the petitions of plaintiff, for the reasons stated, must be sustained. It
is so ordered. Nothing herein to be construed as either approving or
disapproving the allowances made to the respective referees, defend-
ants herein. That question is not considered.
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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/m1/1032/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.