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The evidence was not objected to as hearsay | high Valley R. R., 236 U. S. 434, 439, 35 Sup. when introduced, nor, indeed, at any time Ct. 337, 59 L. Ed. 659; Mills v. Lehigh Valley during the hearing before the commission. R. R., 238 U. S. 473, 482, 35 Sup. Ct. 888, Counsel did in some instances assert that 59 L. Ed. 1414), being open to contradiction there was a failure of proof, and suggest by the carrier when sued for recovery of that the proceeding ought to be dismissed. the amount awarded, is an added reason for But the objections came too late, and were too general in character, to be equivalent to an objection to the reception of the evidence because hearsay. Even in a court of law, if evidence of this kind is admitted without objection, it is to be considered, and accorded its natural probative effect, as if it were in law admissible. Diaz v. United States, 223 U. S. 442, 450, 32 Sup. Ct. 250, 56 L. Ed. 500, Ann. Cas. 1913C, 1138; Rowland v. St. Louis & S. F. R. R. Co., 244 U. S. 106, 108, 37 Sup. Ct. 577, 61 L. Ed. 1022; Damon v. Carrol, 163 Mass. 404, 408, 40 N. E. 185. And it is clear that the verification of the details of
the *claim's by the carriers after full investigation by their auditing departments constituted primary evidence against them, and went far towards showing that the facts as disclosed by the hearsay evidence might be depended upon.
 We are not here called upon to consider whether the commission may receive and act upon hearsay evidence seasonably objected to as hearsay; but we do hold that in this case, where such evidence was introduced without objection and was substantially corroborated by original evidence clearly admissible against the parties to be affected, the commission is not to be regarded as having acted arbitrarily, nor may its findings and order be rejected as wanting in support, simply because the hearsay evidence was considered with the rest.
In Interstate Com. Comm. v. Baird, 194 U. S. 25, 44, 24 Sup. Ct. 563, 569 (48 L. Ed. 860), it was said:
"The inquiry of a board of the character of the Interstate Commerce Commission should not be too narrowly constrained by technical rules as to the admissibility of proof. Its function is largely one of investigation and it should not be hampered in making inquiry pertaining to interstate commerce by those narrow rules which prevail in trials at common law where a strict correspondence is required between allegation and proof."
In Interstate Com. Comm. v. Louis. & Nash. R. R., 227 U. S. 88, 93, 33 Sup. Ct. 185, 187 (57 L. Ed. 431), the court recognized that
"The commission is an administrative body and, even where it acts in a quasi judicial capacity, is not limited by the strict rules, as to the admissibility of evidence, which prevail in suits between private parties."
And the fact that a reparation order has at most only the effect of prima facie evidence (Meeker & Co. v. Lehigh Valley R. R., 236 U. S. 412, 430, 35 Sup. Ct. 328, 59 L. Ed. 644, Ann. Cas. 1916B, 691; Meeker v. Le
not binding down the *commission too closely in respect of the character of the evidence it may receive or the manner in which its hearings shall be conducted.
In this case the commission did not act upon evidence of which the carriers were not cognizant and to which they had no opportunity to reply, as in the case supposed in Interstate Com. Comm. v. Louis. & Nash. R. R., 227 U. S. 88, 91, 93, 33 Sup. Ct. 185, 57 L. Ed. 431. All the carriers participated in the hearing, and had full opportunity to object, to cross-examine, and to introduce evidence on their own part.
It is objected that the evidence failed to show who owned the cattle shipped or who paid the freight. This cannot be sustained. True, it appeared that the cattle were not in all instances billed in the name of the owner, but sometimes in the name of a caretaker, his name being inserted in the bill as evidence of his right to free transportation. But it is probable that in the latter cases there was a want of correspondence between the claims as presented and the carriers' books, and that for want of checking by the carriers they were omitted from the award. The evidence upon the whole was sufficient to sustain a finding, so far as the claims were allowed, that the parties in whose behalf they were allowed were consignors of the shipments and presumably owners of the cattle shipped.
 If there be doubt whether it was sufficient to sustain each and every claim that was allowed, we are not now concerned with this; the ruling in question being the refusal of the trial court to treat the award as void in toto. This was not erroneous if to any substantial extent the award was legally valid. If a part only of the claims was unsupported by evidence, the request for an adverse ruling should have been directed to
The principal defense before the commission was that the payment of a published rate afterwards decided to have been excessive was not evidence that the party who
paid the freight sustained damage to the extent of the excess. The Circuit Court of Appeals sustained this contention at the first hearing. 246 Fed. 1, 23, 158 C. C. A. 227. But it has since been ruled otherwise by this court (Southern Pacific Co. v. DarnellTaenzer Co., 245 U. S. 531, 534, 38 Sup. Ct. 186, 62 L. Ed. 451), and, in view of this, upon the rehearing the Circuit Court of Appeals withdrew this part of its former opinion (249 Fed. 677, 161 C. C. A. 587).
 That court held, further, that upon [ grounds upon which the Circuit Court of Apthe undisputed evidence the legal title to the peals based it. It is insisted, however, that, claims for reparation never vested in Spil- failing this, the same result ought to have ler, and hence that the commission was whol- been reached upon the ground that the proly without authority to order reparation to visions of the Commerce Act do not perbe made to him. The minutes show that mit an assignment of a claim for reparation of the claims in favor of Spiller a number to a third party and hence the Interstate had been assigned to Crowley when he was Commerce Commission was without jurisdicsecretary of the Cattle Raisers' Association, tion to award reparation to Spiller. This is and afterwards assigned by him to Spiller based upon the language of sections 8 and 9 when Crowley retired and Spiller succeeded (Comp. St. §§ 8572, 8573), which remain in him; that other claims were assigned by their original form, of section 13, as amendthe consignors to Spiller direct; and that stilled June 18, 1910 (chapter 309, 36 Stat. 550), others had not been assigned. The assign- and of section 16 as amended June 29, 1906 ments were produced before Commissioner (34 Stat. 584). Section 8 (24 Stat. 382) makes Prouty, and an offer made to file them, but the common carrier, for anything done conas we interpret the minutes this was waived, trary to the prohibition of the act, "liable a copy of one of the assignments (they were said to be alike in form) being inserted in the stenographer's notes instead. There was evidence that the assignments were made for nominal considerations because the Cattle Raisers' Association was prosecuting the claims for the benefit of the owners thereof. In the schedule of the claims as submitted to the commission those assigned were suitably identified, and the commission awarded reparation to Spiller upon these, and in other cases made the order in favor of the parties named as owners. There was substantial evidence to support the finding that the claims had been assigned. Formal proof of the handwriting of the assignors by subscribing witnesses or otherwise was not necessary in so summary a hearing, in the absence of objection or contradiction. What
was shown as *to the relation of the shippers to the association and the possession of the instruments of assignment by the representative of the association who was prosecuting the claims gave a reasonable assurance of the genuineness of the instruments.
 The Circuit Court of Appeals held further, however, that, supposing there was sufficient evidence to support the finding that the claims had been legally assigned to Spiller, it showed that the purpose of the assignment was not such as to vest the legal title to the claims in him so as to authorize the commission to make the award of damages in his name. To this we cannot assent. The assignments were absolute in form, and plainly their effect-supposing the claims to be assignable-was to vest the legal title in Spiller. What they did not pass to him was the beneficial or equitable title. But this was not necessary to support the right of the assignee to claim an award of reparation and enable him to recover it by action at law brought in his own name but for the benefit of the equitable owners of the claims; especially since it appeared that such was the real purpose of the assignments.
 We have said enough to show that the reversal of the judgments of the District Court cannot be sustained on the
to the person or *persons injured thereby for
 The Interstate Commerce Commission, by Conference Ruling No. 362 (June 4, 1912). declared:
See Robinson Co. v. American Express Co., 38 Interst. Com. Com'n R. 733, 735. So far as this involves a construction of the act, we are unable to accept it, for reasons that have been indicated. Treating it as an administrative regulation, it of course constituted no limitation upon the jurisdiction of the commission, even were it consistent with a correct construction of the act, which we hold it was not. In any event, the commission had power to disregard the regulation, as in effect it did by recognizing the assignments in this case.
Other points discussed in the argument quire no special comment.
It results that the judgments of the Circuit Court of Appeals must be reversed, and those of the District Court affirmed.
4. UNITED STATES 111-ATTORNEY ACCEPT
ING AMOUNT OF FEE AS LIMITED BY APPRO-
Under Omnibus Claims Act March 4,
1915, making it unlawful for any attorney to collect any sum exceeding 20 per cent, of the amount of any item appropriated, any contract to the contrary notwithstanding, where an atretorney for a claimant received from the treasury a warrant for 20 per cent. of the sum appropri ated, he took under the act and could not repudiate its provisions and any reservation by him of his rights under the contract was futile.
CALHOUN v. MASSIE.
(Argued March 11, 1920. Decided May 17,
1. UNITED STATES 111-CONTRACT PROVISION MAKING ATTORNEY'S FEE LIEN ON CLAIM VOID.
A provision of a contract employing an attorney on a contingent fee to prosecute a claim against the government that the fee should be a lien on any warrant issued in payment of the claim was void under Rev. St. § 3477 (Comp. St. § 6383), prohibiting transfers and assignments of claims against the United States.
2. UNITED STATES 111-STATUTE MAKING
APPROPRIATION FOR CLAIMS HELD TO LIMIT
Omnibus Claims Act March 4, 1915, § 4,
a claimant by his attorney upon his personal obligation, does not, as applied to a contract with an attorney for a greater compensation, in existence at the time of its passage, the services contemplated by which had been substan tially performed, deprive the attorney of lib5, especially where at the time the contract was erty and property in violation of Const. Amend. made there was no legislation conferring on the claimant any right of recovery, and the parties knew that Congress might refuse to recognize the claim or might impose such conditions as it deemed proper.
Omnibus Claims Act March 4, 1915, construed as limiting the amount recoverable from
Mr. Justice McReynolds, Mr. Justice McKenna, Mr. Justice Van Devanter, and Mr. Justice Pitney, dissenting.
On Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State of Virginia.
Action by C. C. Calhoun against Bland Massie. Judgment for defendant on demur. rer was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia (123 Va. 673, 97 S. E. 576), and plaintiff brings certiorari. Affirmed.
See, also, 249 U. S. 596, 39 Sup. Ct. 289, 63 L. Ed. 794.
*Mr. Charles F. Consaul, of Washington, D. C., for petitioner.
Mr. James R. Caskie, of Lynchburg, for respondent.
Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Omnibus Claims Act (Act March 4, 1915, c. 140, 38 Stat. 962), made appropriations for the payment of 1,115 claims arising out of the Civil War which had, from time to time during the preceding 28 years, been referred by resolution of the House or of the Senate to the Court of Claims for investigation, either under the Bowman Act (Act March 3, 1883, c. 116, 22 Stat. 485), or under the Tucker Act (Act March 3, 1887, c.
359, 24 Stat. *505), or under section 151 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1142). Among the claims which that court reported favorably was one of Bland Massie, which had been referred to it by resolution of the House on February 3, 1911.1 By section 1 of
163d Congress, 2d Session, House Report No. 97; Senate Report No. 357; 63d Congress, 1st Session. House Doc. 64.
For other cases see same topic and KEY-NUMBER in all Key-Numbered Digests and Indexes
the Omnibus Claims Act (page 989), the Sec-[the federal Constitution, and hence is void. retary of the Treasury was directed to pay Massie $1,900. Section 4 of the act (page 996), provided as follows:
"That no part of the amount of any item appropriated in this bill in excess of twenty per centum thereof shall be paid or delivered to or received by any agent or agents, attorney or attorneys on account of services rendered or advances made in connection with said claim.
“It shall be unlawful for any agent or agents, attorney or attorneys to exact, collect, withhold or receive any sum which in the aggregate exceeds twenty percentum of the amount of any item appropriated in this bill on account of services rendered or advances made in connection with said claim, any contract to the contrary notwithstanding. Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $1,000."
Massie had executed on April 18, 1911, an agreement as follows:
"Fee Agreement.-This agreement witnesseth: That I, Bland Massie, of Tyro, Nelson county, Virginia, have employed C. C. Calhoun, of Washington, D. C., as my attorney to prosecute my claim against the government of the United States for property taken by the federal forces during the late Civil War, and in consideration of his professional services in the prosecution of said claim I hereby agree and bind my heirs and legal representatives, to pay him, his heirs or legal representatives as a fee a sum equal to 50 per cent. of the amount which may be collected upon said claim, said fee to be a lien on any warrant which may be issued in payment of said claim."
Calhoun prosecuted Massie's claim before the Court of Claims and secured the allowance of a motion to transmit its report to Congress, which thereafter made the appropriation above stated. On May 5, 1915, the government paid the $1,900 by means of two treasury warrants, one for $380 (20 per cent. thereof), made payable to Calhoun, the other for $1,520 (80 per cent. thereof), made payable to Massie. Calhoun demanded of Massie a further sum of $570, equal to 30 per cent. of the claim. Payment was refused; and he brought this suit in a state court of Virginia to recover the amount, claiming that the warrant for 20 per cent. had been accepted by him without waiving or releasing his right under the contract to the balance. A declaration setting forth in substance the above facts was demurred to on the ground that recovery was prohibited by section 4 of the act under which the appropriation was made. The demurrer was sustained and judgment entered thereon was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeals of the State of Virginia (123 Va. 673, 97 S. E. 576). The case comes here on writ of certiorari (249 U. S. 596, 39 Sup. Ct. 289, 63 L. Ed. 794); Calhoun having contended in both lower courts, as here, that section 4 deprives him of liberty and property guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to
For nearly three-quarters of a century Congress has undertaken to control in some measure the conditions under which claims against the government may be prosecuted. Its purpose has been in part to protect just claimants from extortion or improvident bargains and in part to protect the treasury from frauds and imposition. See United States v. Van Leuvan (D. C.) 62 Fed. 52, 56. While recognizing the common need for the services of agents and attorneys in the presentation of such claims and that parties
would often be denied the opportunity *of securing such services if contingent fees were prohibited (Taylor v. Bemiss, 110 U. S. 42, 45, 3 Sup. Ct. 441, 28 L. Ed. 64) Congress has manifested its belief that the causes which gave rise to laws against champerty and maintenance are persistent. By the enactment from time to time of laws prohibiting the assignment of claims and placing limitations upon the fees properly chargeable for services2 Congress has sought both to prevent the stirring up of unjust claims against the government and to reduce the temptation to adopt improper methods of prosecution which contracts for large fees contingent upon success have sometimes been supposed to encourage. The constitutionality of such legislation, although resembling in its nature the exercise of the police power, has long been settled. Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., 16 How. 314, 336, 14 L. Ed. 953; United States v. Hall, 98 U. S. 343, 354, 555, 25 L. Ed. 180; Ball v. Halsell, 161
Assignment of Claims against the United States: Act July 29, 1846, c. 66, 9 Stat. 41; Act Feb. 26, 1853, c. 81, § 1, 10 Stat. 170; Rev. Stat. 3477 (Comp. St. § 6383). Repayment of moneys collected by direct tax: Act March 2, 1891, c. 496, § 3, 26 Stat. 822. Indian depredation claims: Act March 3, 1891, c. 538, § 9, 26 Stat. 851, 854. Pensions: R. S. 4785 (Act July 8, 1870, c. 225, § 7, 16 Stat. 193, 194, as amended by Act July 4, 1884, c. 181, § 3, 23 Stat. 98, 99 [Comp. St. §§ 9112, 9115]); R. S. § 5485 (Act March 3, 1873, c. 234, §§ 31, 32, 17 Stat. 566, 575 [Comp. St. § 9114]); R. S. § 4711 (Act March 3, 1873, c. 234, § 17, 17 Stat. 566, 572 [Comp. St. § 8999]); Act Jan. 25, 1879, c. 23, § 4, 20 Stat. 265 (Comp. St. § 9113); Act June 27, 1890, c. 634, § 4, 26 Stat. 182, 183 (Comp. St. § 8938); Act 3, 1891, c. 548, 26 Stat. 1081, 1082; Act Aug. 5, 1892, c. 379, 2, 27 Stat. 348, 349 (Comp. St. § 9071); Act Feb. 28, 1903, c. 858, § 3, 32 Stat. 920, 921 (Comp. St. $8995); Act April 19, 1908, c. 147, § 3, 35 Stat. 64 (Comp. St. § 8985); Act May 28, 1908, c. 208, 35 Stat. 418, 419; Act Sept. 8, 1916, c. 470, § 4, 39 Stat. 844, 845 (Comp. St. § 8981d); Act July 16, 1918, c. 153, § 2, 40 Stat. 903, 904 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, § 8985b). Pay and bounty of colored soldiers: Act March 3, 1873, c. 182, § 2, 20 Stat. 377, 402 (Comp. St. § 3969). Arrears of pay or allowances in connection with Act Dec. 22, 1911, c. services in the Civil War:
March 3, 1891, c. 542, 26 Stat. 948, 979; Act March
6, 37 Stat. 47, 49 (Comp. St. § 2204). Mississippi Choctaws: Act May 31, 1900, c. 598, 31 Stat. 221, 237. Services for Indians: Rev. Stat. § 2104 (Comp. St. § 4088); Act June 30, 1913, c. 4, § 17, 38 Stat. 77, 95; Act Aug. 1, 1914, c. 222, § 17, 38 Stat. 582, 599.
Claims under War Risk Insurance Act: Act June 12, 1917, c. 26, § 8, 40 Stat. 102, 104 (Comp. St. 1918, Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1918, § 514ee).
U. S. 72, 82, 84, 16 Sup. Ct. 554, 40 L. Ed., statute is impossible, because the act forbids 622. the collection or receipt of any compensation in excess of 20 per cent.
[1-3] The provision in the contract sued on purporting to give a lien upon any warrant issued was void under section 3477 of the Revised Statutes (Comp. St. § 6383). Nutt v. Knut, 200 U. S. 12, 20, 26 Sup. Ct. 216, 50 L. Ed. 348. It is urged that the act here in question should be construed as limiting only the proportion of the specific funds received from the government which may be applied to payment of attorney's fees; but the second paragraph of the law leaves no room for construction. It provides that:
In the case at bar there are special reasons why the contract cannot prevail over the statute enacted later. At the time when the contract was entered into there was no legislation, general or special, which conferred upon Massie any right of recovery even if he should establish to the satisfaction of Congress that his claim was equitable. A statute making an appropriation to pay the claim was thus a condition precedent to liability on the part of Massie to Calhoun; and "It shall be unlawful for any at- the thing contracted for was Calhoun's aid torney * to ** * receive any in securing its enactment. The aid was to which in the aggregate exceeds twenty per be given by representing Massie before the centum" of the claim. Court of Claims. But both of the parties
knew that, although Calhoun might have success before the Court of Claims, Congress would still be free to refuse both to recognize the claim as an equitable one and to make an appropriation for its payment. They also knew that, if it concluded to grant relief, Congress was free to do so upon such conditions as it deemed proper. Compare Ball v. Halsell, supra, 161 U. S. 82, 84, 16 Sup. Ct. 554, 40 L. Ed. 622; Kendall v. United States, 7 Wall. 113, 117, 19 L. Ed. 85. In view of the past action of Congress limiting attorney's fees, referred to above, it was at
least conceivable when the contract was
L. Ed. 364; Hoke v. United States, 227 U.
 Furthermore, Calhoun accepted and received from the treasury a warrant for 20 per cent. of the sum appropriated. The money was paid and it was received under the act which provided that it was unlawful to collect any sum in excess of 20 per cent., "any contract to the contrary notwithstanding." Calhoun cannot take under the act and repudiate its provisions. Compare Shepard v. Barron, 194 U. S. 553, 567, 24 Sup. Ct. 737, 48 L. Ed. 1115; Grand Rapids & IndiL. Ed. -. The sovereign right of the gov-ana Ry. Co. v. Osborn, 193 U. S. 17, 29, 24 Sup. ernment is not less because the property af- Ct. 310, 48 L. Ed. 598; Interstate Railway fected happens to be a contract. Louisville Co. v. Massachusetts, 207 U. S. 79, 28 Sup. & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Mottley, 219 U. Ct. 26, 52 L. Ed. 111, 12 Ann. Cas. 555. The S. 467, 484, 31 Sup. Ct. 265, 55 L. Ed. 297, allegation in the declaration that he accepted 34 L. R. A. (N. S.) 671; Union Dry Goods the 20 per cent. "without waiving or reCo. v. Georgia Public Service Corporation, leasing any of his rights under the aforesaid 248 U. S. 372, 39 Sup. Ct. 117, 63 L. Ed. 309. contract" was doubtless intended as a stateHere, unlike New York Central v. Gray, 239 ment that the amount collected from the U. S. 583, 587, 36 Sup. Ct. 176, 60 L. Ed. 451, government was not accepted as a full seta performance of a substitute for the obligation undertaken and later prohibited by the
See 51 Cong. Rec. p. 324; 52 Cong. Rec. 5289, 5316.
Calhoun contends, however, that if the act is construed as limiting the amount recoverable from a claimant upon his personal obligation, it is void as applied to contracts in existence at the time of its passage, at least where, as here, the services contemplated had then been substantially performed.
That an act limiting the compensation of attorneys in the prosecution of claims against the government is valid also as to contracts which had been entered into before its passage was expressly held in Ball v. Halsell, supra. The act there in question was passed 17 years after the date of the contract, and the attorney had performed important services before its enactment. Here, it is said, substantially all the services required of Calhoun had been performed when the act was passed. The difference in the percentage of services performed cannot here affect the legal result. An appropriate exercise by a state of its police power is consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment although it results in serious depreciation of property values; and the United States may, consistently with the Fifth Amendment, impose for a permitted purpose restrictions upon property which produce like results. Lottery Case, 188 U. S. 321, 357, 23 Sup. Ct. 321, 47 L. Ed. 492; Hipolite Egg Co. v. United States, 220 U. S. 45, 58, 31 Sup. Ct. 364, 55