Rudolph v. United States/Opinion of the Court

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United States Supreme Court

370 U.S. 269

C.J.D. RUDOLPH et al., Petitioners,  v.  UNITED STATES.

 Argued: April 3, 1962. --- Decided: June 18, 1962

The petition for certiorari in this case was granted because it was thought to present important questions involving the definition of 'income' and 'ordinary and necessary' business expenses under the Internal Revenue Code. 368 U.S. 913, 82 S.Ct. 195, 7 L.Ed.2d 130. An insurance company provided a trip from its home office in Dallas, Texas, to New York City for a group of its agents and their wives. Rudolph and his wife were among the beneficiaries of this trip, and the Commissioner assessed its value to them as taxable income. [*] It appears to be agreed between the parties that the tax consequences of the trip turn upon the Rudolphs' 'dominant motive and purpose' in taking the trip and the company's in offering it. In this regard the District Court, on a suit for a refund, found that the trip was provided by the company for 'the primary purpose of affording a pleasure trip * * * in the nature of a bonus, reward, and compensation for a job well done' and that from the point of view of the Rudolphs it 'was primarily a pleasure trip in the nature of a vacation * * *.' D.C., 189 F.Supp. 2, 4-5. The Court of Appeals approved these findings. 5 Cir., 291 F.2d 841. Such ultimate facts are subject to the 'clearly erroneous' rule, cf. Commissioner v. Duberstein, 363 U.S. 278, 289-291, 80 S.Ct. 1190, 1199, 4 L.Ed.2d 1218 (1960), and their review would be of no importance save to the litigants themselves. The appropriate disposition in such a situation is to dismiss the writ as improvidently granted. See Rice v. Sioux City Memorial Park Cemetery, 349 U.S. 70, 78 n. 2, 75 S.Ct. 614, 618, 99 L.Ed. 897 (1955).

Writ of certiorari dismissed.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER took no part in the decision of this case.

Mr. Justice WHITE took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Separate opinion of Mr. Justice HARLAN.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).