U.S. Supreme Court
NUTT v. KNUT, 200 U.S. 13 (1906)
200 U.S. 13
CALVIN R. NUTT, Julia W. Nutt, and Lilly N. Ward, Plffs. in Err.,
S. PRENTISS KNUT and John K. Nutt, Administrator de bonis non c. t. a. of the Estate of Haller Nutt, Deceased.
Argued November 29, 1905.
Decided January 2, 1906.
This suit was brought in the chancery court of Adams county, Mississippi, the plaintiff being S. Prentiss Knut, a defendant in error, and the defendants being the administrator, heirs, and devisees of Haller Nutt, deceased.
It was based upon a written contract between the late James W. Denver and the (then) executrix of Haller Nutt, deceased, as follows: 'That the party of the first part (Denver) agrees to take exclusive charge and control of a certain claim which the party of the second part (executrix of Nutt's estate) holds against the government of the United States, for the use of property and for property of which the said Haller Nutt and his estate was deprived by the acts of officers, soldiers, and employees of the United States in Louisiana and Mississippi, in the years 1863, 1864, and 1865, amounting to one million of dollars, more or less, and to prosecute the same before any of the courts of the United States, and upon appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, or before any of the departments of government, or before the Congress of the United States, or before any officer or commission or convention specially authorized to take cognizance of said claim, or through any diplomatic negotiations as may be deemed by him for the best interests of the party of the second part. And in consideration therefor the party of the second part agrees to pay the party of the first part a sum equal to 33 1/3 per cent of the amount which may be allowed on said claim, the payment of which is hereby made a lien upon said claim and upon any draft, money, or evidence of indebtedness which may be issued thereon. This agreement
not to be affected by any services performed by the claimant, or by any other agents or attorneys employed by him. All expenses of printing, costs of court, and commission fees for taking testimony, are to be charged to the party of the second part, and the party of the second part agrees to execute from time to time such powers of attorney as may be convenient or necessary for the successful prosecution and collection of said claim. No revocation of any authority conferred on the party of the first part by this agreement, or any power of attorney relating to the business covered by the same, to be valid.'
On the same day the executrix of Nutt executed to Denver a power of attorney, constituting the latter her attorney 'irrevocable,' for her and in her name and stead 'to prosecute a certain claim against the government of the United States, for property used and for property of which said Haller Nutt and his estate was deprived by United States officers, soldiers, and employees in Louisiana and Mississippi, amounting to $1,000, 000, more or less, before any court of the United States, or before any of the departments of the government, or before the Congress of the United States, or before any officer or commission or convention specially authorized to take cognizance of said claim, or through any diplomatic negotiations, to collect the same; and from time to time to furnish any further evidence necessary, or that may be demanded, giving and granting to my said attorney full power and authority to do and perform all and every act and thing whatsoever requisite and necessary to be done in and about the premises, as fully to all intents and purposes as I might or could do if personally present at the doing thereof, with full power of substitution and revocation, and to receipt and sign all vouchers and bonds of indemnity or appeal, and to indorse all drafts and vouchers in my name, either by or without indicating it is done by procuration, which may be requisite in the prosecution or collection of said claim, hereby ratifying and confirming all that my said attorney or his substitute may or shall lawfully do, or cause to be done by virtue hereof.' [200 U.S. 13, 15]
Full Text of Opinion