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    DE LA METTRIE v. JAMES, 272 U.S. 731 (1927)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    DE LA METTRIE v. JAMES, 272 U.S. 731 (1927)

    272 U.S. 731

    DE LA METTRIE et al.
    v.
    JAMES et al.

    KEANE
    v.
    SAME.

    Nos. 54, 55.
    Argued Dec. 6, 1926.
    Decided Jan. 3, 1927.

    Citizens of France cannot recover from Alien Property Custodian funds seized by him November 5, 1918, as property of alien enemy, since claim did not arise with reference to property held by Custodian or by Treasurer of United States, in view of Trading with the Enemy Act, 9(e), as amended June 5, 1920 (Comp. St. 3115 1/2 e).

    Application of debtor's receiver to be made party to suit by third persons to recover from Alien Property Custodian funds seized November 5, 1918, as property of alien enemy held properly denied, in view of Trading with the Enemy Act, 9(f), as amended June 5, 1920 (Comp. St. 3115 1/2 e). [272 U.S. 731, 732]   Messrs. J. Noble Hayes, of New York City, and Guy H. Johnson and Ralph P. Barnard, both of Washington, D. C., for appellants.

    Messrs. W. D. Mitchell, Sol. Gen, of Washington, D. C., Assistant Attorney General Letts, and Dean Hill Stanley, of Washington, D. C., for appellee Alien Property Custodian.

    Messrs. Mansfield Ferry, of New York City, Frank Davis, Jr., S. M. Stellwagen, and William J. Neale, all of Washington, D. C., and Frederick Geller, of New York City, for other appellees.

    Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

    The challenged decrees were entered March 2, 1925. 55 App. D. C. 354, 6 F. (2d) 479. Both causes had been heard upon a single record.

    In No. 54 appellants, citizens of France, sought to recover from the Alien Property Custodian certain funds seized by him November 5, 1918, as the property of an alien enemy. They relied upon section 9, Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended by Act June 5, 1920, c. 241, 41 Stat. 977 (Comp. St. 3115 1/2 e). The court below held that the claim did not arise with reference to money or property held by the Custodian or by the Treasurer of the United States and affirmed the decree of the trial court which dismissed the bill. Banco Mexicano v. Deutsche Bank, 263 U.S. 591 , 44 S. Ct. 209. Considering the facts disclosed and the definite terms of the statute, this action was clearly right. Subsection (e) of section 9 provides:

    [272 U.S. 731, 733]   'No money or other property shall be returned nor any debt allowed under this section to any person who is a citizen or subject of any nation which was associated with the United States in the prosecution of the war, unless such nation in like case extends reciprocal rights to citizens of the United States; nor in any event shall a debt be allowed under this section unless it was owing to and owned by the claimant prior to October 6, 1917, and as to claimants other than citizens of the United States unless it arose with reference to the money or other property held by the Alien Property Custodian or Treasurer of the United States hereunder.'
    No. 55
    is a separate appeal by a receiver. The appellants in No. 54 instituted in the Supreme Court, New York County, supplemental proceedings for the purpose of enforcing judgments which they held against Mrs. James, and on June 18, 1923, that court appointed David Keane receiver of all the debtor's property. Thereafter he asked to be made party to cause No. 54, claiming that by reason of such appointment he had an interest in the fund held by the Custodian. The trial court denied this application and upon appeal the court below affirmed that action. The claim is without merit. Subsection (f) of section 9, Trading with the Enemy Act, provides:

    The appointment of the receiver gave him no better position than the one occupied by the judgment creditors-the New York court had no jurisdiction over funds held by the Custodian.

    The decrees below are affirmed.

    In No. 55 Mr. Justice BRANDEIS, Mr. Justice SANFORD, and Mr. Justice STONE concur in the result.

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