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ARMSTRONG v. UNITED STATES

March 23, 1959

Henry ARMSTRONG, Administrator of the Estate of Ella Armstrong, Deceased,
v.
UNITED STATES of America (Carrie Holmes and Sarah Duhart, Third-Party Defendants)



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUSEN

I. Findings of Fact

The trial judge makes the following Findings of Fact:

 1. Henry Armstrong, the plaintiff in this action, is the administrator of the estate of Ella Armstrong, having been duly qualified and appointed as such on February 26, 1957.

 2. Henry Armstrong was the husband of the decedent, Ella Armstrong, with whom he lived happily.

 3. Defendant in this action is the United States of America, acting by and through the United States Post Office Department, Postal Savings System.

 4. Sarah Duhart and Carrie Holmes, sisters of the deceased Ella Armstrong, are third-party defendants in this action, defendant United States of America's motion to bring in Sarah Duhart and Carrie Holmes as third-party defendants having been granted on July 3, 1957.

 5. On August 1, 1955, Ella Armstrong had on deposit, credited to her own account (Account No. 12736), in the United States Post Office at 16th and Huntingdon Streets, Philadelphia, the sum of $ 1,400 plus accrued interest.

 6. On August 9, 1955, Ella Armstrong executed in her own handwriting Post Office Form PS 304 (Exhibit TP-1), entitled 'Depositor's Authorization to Postmaster to Pay Principal and Interest to a Representative,' which form authorized and directed the United States Postmaster to pay the principal and interest of Account No. 12736 to Sarah Duhart, and delivered this signed form to Sarah Duhart.

 7. On August 9, 1955, Sarah Duhart presented Form PS 304 (Exhibit TP-1) to the Post Office Department for payment, which was refused by the Post Office Department for the reason that this form lacked the necessary assurance (i.e., fingerprints of the depositor) that the signature thereon was that of Ella Armstrong.

 9. On August 10, 1955, Sarah Duhart presented the second executed Post Office form described above to the Postmaster, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for payment and received therefrom a United States Treasury Check (No. 38775), payable to Ella Armstrong, in the sum of $ 1400 and cash in the amount of $ 7, which represented accrued interest.

 10. On August 23, 1955, Ella Armstrong died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, survived by her husband, Henry Armstrong, and her two sisters, Sarah Duhart and Carrie Holmes.

 11. The defendant, through the Postmaster, was notified in writing of the death of Ella Armstrong on or about September 1, 1955, by George W. Cupps, Jr., counsel for Sarah Duhart.

 12. Around the end of August or the first few days in September 1956, Henry Armstrong went to the above-mentioned United States Post Office at 16th and Huntingdon Streets to inquire about the $ 1,400 in his deceased wife's account. He was told by the superintendent that the matter was being investigated by representatives of the Post Office Department in ...


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