Title: Amos T. Akerman to Columbus Delano, 13 November 1871
Date: November 13, 1871
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Whitman Archive ID: nar.03469
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Melanie Krupa
Nov. 13, 1871.
Hon. C. Delano,
Secretary of the Interior.
I enclose the account of Standish and Ballard, (Standish being Dist. Attorney for the Western Dist. of Michigan,) for professional services and expenses in representing the Government in certain cases in the State Court of Michigan, against James H. Kidd, and Osmond S. Tower, Registrar and Receiver at the Land Office at Ionia, Michigan, amounting to Two thousand four hundred and fifty three 39/100 dollars. The account seems to be made out against the Department of the Interior.
The suits were first brought to my notice by a letter in January last from the District Attorney; requesting instructions as to whether or not he should appeal from an adverse decision in the lower court to the highest court.—He was instructed to take the appeal. I was not aware that his appearance in the case had been previously directed by any other Department; but it appears from his account that he was originally retained by the Land officers, and that on the 30th day of December, 1869, they, (Messrs. Standish and Ballard,) were directed by Mr. Cox, Secretary of the Interior, to proceed with the defence. Thus it appears that they have been employed by two Departments, to wit, that of the Interior, up to the time of the appeal, and since then by the Department of Justice.
It seems to me just, therefore, that the expenses of the service should be borne by the two Departments according to the proportions of service rendered while the matter was under the direction of the one or the other. The bill rendered divides the fees in the matter of time about in the proportions of two parts prior to the appeal, and one part since the appeal. I therefore suggest that two thirds of the bill be paid by the Department of the Interior, and one-third by this Department. I am confirmed by your letter of the 9th inst. in the opinion that the bill rendered is extravagant, and am disposed to think Twelve hundred ($1200) dollars will suffice—of which Eight hundred, ($800,) dollars might properly be paid by the Interior Department, and Four hundred (400) dollars by the Department of Justice. In this case, of course, different sets of vouchers would be required.
Very respectfully, &c.
A. T. Akerman,
Standish & Ballard's bill, Mich.
see p. 288 ante