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United States v. Pink

United States Supreme Court
315 U.S. 203 (1942)


Facts

In 1907, the New York branch of the First Russian Insurance Co. (FRIC) was organized under the former Russian government. In 1919, the newly created Russian government nationalized Russian insurance companies, including FRIC, and canceled all company debts and shareholder rights. FRIC continued to do business in New York until 1925, when the Supreme Court of New York ordered that Pink (defendant), the New York Superintendent of Insurance, take control of FRIC’s assets. After Pink paid FRIC’s U.S. creditors, there remained a balance of more than $1,000,000. In 1931, the New York Court of Appeals ordered Pink to use the balance to first pay FRIC’s foreign creditors who had previously filed attachments, then pay any surplus to FRIC’s board of directors. This action was stayed, however, due to a claim on FRIC’s assets by the United States (plaintiff). In 1933, the United States recognized the new Russian government and accepted Russia’s Litvinov Assignment regarding certain claims. The United States, in honoring the Litvinov Assignment, sued Pink to recover the remaining assets under Pink’s control.

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Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

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