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U.S. Supreme Court

Sprague v. Ticonic National Bank, 307 U.S. 161 (1939)

Sprague v. Ticonic National Bank

No. 543

Argued March 28, 1939

Decided April 24, 1939

307 U.S. 161


1. When a litigant in the District Court, through the prosecution of a suit on his own behalf and at his own expense, has affixed a lien on earmarked funds in an insolvent bank for the repayment in full, with ordinary costs and interest, of a sum theretofore deposited by him in trust, and, by so doing, has incidentally, through the principle of stare decisis, established like rights for other depositors, not parties to the suit, but in like situation, it lies within the power of the court as a court of equity to make the successful litigant an allowance of costs "as between solicitor and client," for counsel fees and litigation expenses, to be paid out of the earmarked funds. P. 307 U. S. 163.

2. Costs "as between solicitor and client" are allowed only in exceptional cases, for dominating reasons of fairness and justice in the circumstances of the particular case. P. 307 U. S. 167.

3. While a mandate is controlling as to the matters within its compass, on the remand, the lower court is free to act as to other issues. P. 307 U. S. 168.

4. The equitable right of a litigant to reimbursement for expenses (costs "as between solicitor and client") incurred in a successful suit redounding also to the benefit of others in like situation may appropriately be asserted by supplemental petition, after the suit, in other respects, has been finally disposed of in the District Court and on review. P. 307 U. S. 168.

This right was not waived by failure to claim it expressly in the original suit, nor was it impliedly an issue; hence, it was not covered by the original decree and appellate mandates which allowed recovery of principal, interest and ordinary costs.

5. An application to the District Court for an allowance of costs as between solicitor and client at the foot of the main decree and not involving any modification of it need not be made before the expiration of the term at which the decree was entered. P. 307 U. S. 170.

99 F.2d 583 reversed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 307 U. S. 162

Certiorari, 306 U.S. 623, to review the affirmance of a decree of the District Court denying a petition for an allowance of counsel fees and expenses over and above the regular taxable costs.

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