Seeberger v. Wright & Lawther Oil & Lead Manufacturing Company
United States Supreme Court
SEEBERGER v. WRIGHT & LAWTHER OIL & LEAD MANUFACTURING COMPANY
This was an action at law by the Wright & Lawther Oil & Lead Manufacturing Company against Anthony F. Seeberger, collector of customs, to recover an alleged excess of duties paid under protest upon an importation of flaxseed. The circuit court entered judgment for the plaintiff. 44 Fed. 258. Defendant brought error.
This was an action against the collector of customs for the port and district of Chicago to recover certain duties paid, under protest, upon an importation of flaxseed which contained 4 per cent. of impurities. The only question in the case was whether the importers were entitled to an allowance, from the gross weight of the goods, of a percentage for impurities.
The case was tried without a jury under a stipulation, and the following facts found by the court:
'Plaintiff imported a quantity of flaxseed from Liverpool, which had been brought from Calcutta. The invoices show the gross weight and a tare of five pounds per bag, and a deduction of 'four per cent. for impurities.' The collector, in assessing the duties, deducted the tare, which was the weight of the bags, but refused to allow anything for impurities, assessing a duty of twenty cents per bushel of fifty-six pounds upon the gross weight, less the tare. Plaintiff paid the duties so assessed under protest, appealed to the secretary of the treasury, by whom the action of the collector was affirmed, and brought this suit in apt time to recover the excess of duties paid by reason of the refusal to make any deduction for impurities.
'The proof in this case shows without dispute that the seed contained dust, composed of clay, sand, and gravel, to an average of four per cent.'
Upon this finding of facts, the court entered judgment for the plaintiff, assessing its damages at $670.29, with interest. Defendant sued out this writ of error.
Asst. Atty. Gen. Whitney, for plaintiff in error.
Percy L. Shuman, for defendant in error.
C. B. Alexander filed brief on behalf of defendant in error, by leave.
Mr. Justice BROWN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.