(Last update: September 1, 1999)


This file just simply contains cites to and quotes from a variety of cases concerning the requirement that public officers and employees have the delegated authority to act. Briefs on this issue may be easily drafted from this file.

Sources for additional authority: C.J.S., "Officers," §§ 190-199; C.J.S., "Public Admin. Law," §§ 49-58; Am Jur2d, "Public Officers," §§ 298-311; Am Jur2d, "Admin. Law," §§ 69-74, and 221-226. Related: 65 ALR 811, and 107 ALR 1483 (delegations re taxes).

Pierce v. United States ("The Floyd Acceptances"), 7 Wall. (74 U.S.) 666 (1869): Bills of exchange upon which Secretary of War had signed were at issue; the court held that the U.S. was not liable upon these instruments, stating:

"We have no officers in this government from the President down to the most subordinate agent, who does not hold office under the law, with prescribed duties and limited authority. And while some of these, as the President, the Legislature and the Judiciary, exercise powers in some sense left to the more general definitions necessarily incident to fundamental law found in the Constitution, the larger portion of them are the creation of statutory law, with duties and powers prescribed and limited by that law," 7 Wall., at 677-678.

"Our statute books are filled with Acts authorizing the making of contracts with the government through its various officers and departments but, in every instance, the person entering into such a contract must look to the statute under which it is made, and see for himself that his contract comes within the terms of the law," 7 Wall., at 680.

United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196, 1 S.Ct. 240 (1882): Arlington, Lee's estate, subject of litigation, the United States claiming ownership via tax sale some years earlier. In holding for Lee's heirs, the Court stated:
"No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All the officers of the government, from the highest to the lowest, are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it. It is the only supreme power in our system of government, and every man who by accepting office participates in its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and to observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority which it gives," 106 U.S., at 220.

"Shall it be said... that the courts cannot give remedy when the citizen has been deprived of his property by force, his estate seized and converted to the use of the government without any lawful authority, without any process of law, and without any compensation, because the president has ordered it and his officers are in possession? If such be the law of this country, it sanctions a tyranny which has no existence in the monarchies of Europe, nor in any other government which has a just claim to well-regulated liberty and the protection of personal rights," 106 U.S., at 220, 221.

United States v. Smith, 124 U.S. 525, 533, 8 S.Ct. 595 (1888): appointment of collector by head of agency. Agent indicted for embezzlement and issue was whether he was officer:
"The constitution ... declares that 'the congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the president alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.' There must be, therefore, a law authorizing the head of a department to appoint clerks of the collector before his approbation of their appointment can be required. No such law is in existence. Our conclusion, therefore, is that ... clerks of the collector .... are not appointed by the head of any department within the meaning of the constitutional provision."
Utah Power and Light Co. v. United States, 243 U.S. 389, 37 S.Ct. 387 (1917): Power company built structures upon federal lands and claimed right through prior approval of government agents; held:
"Of this it is enough to say that the United States is neither bound nor estopped by acts of its officers or agents in entering into an arrangement or agreement to do or cause to be done what the law does not sanction or permit," 243 U.S., at 409.
Botany Worsted Mills v. United States, 278 U.S. 282, 49 S.Ct. 129 (1929): The mills and subordinate revenue agent entered into informal compromise agreement regarding tax liability, the validity of which was at issue here. That agreement was held invalid:
"We think that Congress intended by the statute to prescribe the exclusive method by which tax cases could be compromised, requiring therefor the concurrence of the Commissioner and the Secretary, and prescribing the formality with which, as a matter of public concern, it should be attested in the files of the Commissioner's office; and did not intend to intrust the final settlement of such matters to the informal action of subordinate officials of the Bureau. When a statute limits a thing to be done in a particular mode, it includes the negative of any other mode," 278 U.S., at 288-89.

"It is plain that no compromise is authorized by this statute which is not assented to by the Secretary of the Treasury... For this reason, if for no other, the informal agreement made in this case did not constitute a settlement which in itself was binding upon the Government or the Mills," 278 U.S., at 289.

See also Brubaker v. United States, 342 F.2d 655 (7th Cir. 1965).

United States v. Mott, 37 F.2d 860, 862 (10th Cir. 1930): Indian leased land and got a million in royalties, which were held by Secretary. Agreement made to disburse funds held to be without authority:

"Where an executive officer, under his misconstruction of the law, has acted without or beyond the powers given him, the courts have jurisdiction to restore the status quo ante insofar as that may be done (cites omitted)."
Affirmed, Mott v. United States, 283 U.S. 747, 51 S.Ct. 642 (1931).

Federal Trade Commission v. Raladam Co., 283 U.S. 643, 51 S.Ct. 587 (1931): Battle over advertising of "obesity cure".

"Official powers cannot be extended beyond the terms and necessary implications of the grant. If broader powers be desirable, they must be conferred by Congress. They cannot be merely assumed by administrative officers; nor can they be created by the courts in the proper exercise of their judicial functions," 283 U.S., at 649.
State ex rel McConnell v. First State Bank, 22 Tenn. App. 577, 124 S.W.2d 726, 733 (1938): Bank insolvency case:
"All persons dealing with public officers are bound to take notice of the law prescribing their authority and powers."
Continental Casualty Co. v. United States, 113 F.2d 284 (5th Cir. 1940):
"Public officers are merely the agents of the public, whose powers and authority are defined and limited by law. Any act without the scope of the authority so defined does not bind the principal, and all persons dealing with such agents are charged with knowledge of the extent of their authority," 113 F.2d, at 286.
Department of Ins. of Indiana v. Church Members Relief Ass'n., 217 Ind. 58, 26 N.E.2d 51 (1940):
"When the right to do a thing depends upon legislative authority, and the Legislature has failed to authorize it, or has forbidden it, no amount of acquiescence, or consent, or approval of the doing of it by a ministerial officer, can create a right to do the thing which is unauthorized or forbidden," 26 N.E.2d, at 52.
United States v. Hawthorne, 31 F.Supp. 827, 829 (N.D. Tex. 1940):
"A regulation dies with the statute from which it gains its life."
Royal Indemnity Co. v. United States, 313 U.S. 289, 61 S.Ct. 995 (1941): A bond was given for taxes, the collector released that bond, but government sued on the bond. Held:
"Power to release or otherwise dispose of the rights and property of the United States is lodged in the Congress by the Constitution. Art. IV, § 3, Cl. 2. Subordinate officers of the United States are without that power, save only as it has been conferred upon them by Act of Congress or is to be implied from other powers so granted. [cites omitted]. Collectors of internal revenue are subordinate officers charged with the ministerial duty of collecting taxes... There is no statute in terms authorizing them to remit taxes, to pass upon the claims for abatement of taxes or to release any obligation for their payment. Only the Commissioner, with the consent of the Secretary of the Treasury, is authorized to compromise a tax deficiency for a sum less than the amount lawfully due...

"There is thus no basis in the statutes of the United States for implying an authority in a collector to release a bond for the payment of the tax which the Commissioner alone is permitted to reduce by way of compromise when the Secretary of the Treasury consents," 313 U.S., at 294-95.

Quaker Oats Co. v. Fed. Security Administrator, 129 F.2d 76, 80 (7th Cir. 1942), reversed on other grounds at 318 U.S. 218, 63 S.Ct. 589 (1943):
"We assume there could be no dissent from the proposition that an administrative agency has only such authority in the administration of a Congressional enactment as is expressly conferred, or as may be reasonably implied."
Youngblood v. United States, 141 F.2d 912 (6th Cir. 1944): Action to compel recorder to record tax liens.
"[T]he authority of ministerial officers is to be strictly construed as including only such powers as are expressly conferred, or necessarily implied," 141 F.2d, at 913.
See also United States v. Watashe, 102 F.2d 428, 431 (10th Cir. 1939).

Stark v. Wickard, 321 U.S. 288, 64 S.Ct. 559 (1944): Milk price control act administered by Ag. Sec. was subject to challenge:

"When Congress passes an Act empowering administrative agencies to carry on governmental activities, the power of those agencies is circumscribed by the authority granted.... The responsibility of determining the limits of statutory grants of authority in such instances is a judicial function entrusted to the courts," 321 U.S., at 309-10.
See also Garvey v. Freeman, 397 F.2d 600, 605 (10th Cir. 1968).

Federal Crop Ins. Corp. v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380, 68 S.Ct. 1 (1947):

"Whatever the form in which the Government functions, anyone entering into an arrangement with the Government takes the risk of having accurately ascertained that he who purports to act for the Government stays within the bounds of his authority. The scope of this authority may be explicitly defined by Congress or be limited by delegated legislation, properly exercised through the rule-making power. And this is so even though, as here, the agent himself may have been unaware of the limitations upon his authority," 332 U.S., at 384.
United States v. Jones, 176 F.2d 278 (9th Cir. 1949): U.S. brought action to set aside sale of surplus WWII items, but Jones prevailed in both the District Court and on appeal. The court held:
"This means that a public officer, in exercising powers conferred upon him by statute and regulation, is bound to follow the mode or manner prescribed. One who deals with such official is on his notice of possible limitations of authority. And no estoppel can arise against the Government from the performance of unauthorized acts or from authority exercised in a manner forbidden," 176 F.2d, at 281.
Larson v. Domestic & Foreign Commerce Corp., 337 U.S. 682, 69 S.Ct. 1457 (1949): suits agent govt agents: personal if without authority.

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 72 S.Ct. 863 (1952): Truman's takeover of the steel mills held unconstitutional.

Sittler v. Board of Control of Michigan College of Mining and Technology, 333 Mich. 681, 53 N.W.2d 681 (1952):

" 'The extent of the authority of the people's public agents is measured by the statute from which they derive their authority, not by their own acts and assumption of authority.'

" 'Public officers have and can exercise only such powers as are conferred on them by law...'

" 'The powers of State officers being fixed by law, all persons dealing with such officers are charged with knowledge of the extent of their authority,' " 53 N.W.2d, at 684.

Peters v. Hobby, 349 U.S. 331, 75 S.Ct. 790 (1955): A doctor was cleared twice of loyalty charges, but the Board on its own reconsidered those charges and debarred him from federal service for such; in reversing, the Court held:
"Agencies, whether created by statute or Executive Order, must of course be free to give reasonable scope to the terms conferring their authority. But they are not free to ignore plain limitations on that authority," 349 U.S., at 345.
Phillips v. Fidalgo Island Packing Co., 238 F.2d 234 (9th Cir. 1956):
"Here the jurisdiction of the old commission over the subject matter had expired by abolition of the agency. The delegated power to the Executive Director of the old commission expired when it went out of existence. The rulings may be explained upon principles of agency as well as upon grounds of lack of jurisdiction. If the new commission desired to delegate power to the Executive Director, it could not act before its creation and assumption of authority. His purported action in the interim between the expiration of his delegation of power by the old commission and the organization of the new commission was void, not voidable, because no body had jurisdiction of the subject matter at the time and he had no delegated authority to act in the premises. The fact that the acts abolishing one body and creating another were passed simultaneously is without significance," 238 F.2d, at 235.
But, see contra authority at Pentheny, Ltd. v. Gov't. of Virgin Islands, 360 F.2d 786, 790 (3rd Cir. 1966): repeal and re-enactment considered as a substitution.

Government of the Virgin Islands v. Gordon, 244 F.2d 818 (3rd Cir. 1957): Defendant and endorser gave note to government as result of loan, and upon suit, District Attorney extended terms, for which endorser argued that he had been released. Court held act of DA void as lacking authority:

"It is well settled that no consideration of public policy can properly induce a court to reject the statutory definition of the powers of an officer, and that anyone dealing with such officer is required to take notice of the extent of authority conferred by law upon him," 244 F.2d, at 820-21.
Board of Comm. of Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund v. Clay, 214 Ga. 70, 102 S.E.2d 575 (1958):
"The powers of all public officers are defined by law... Where the law creates an office, one holding such office has no authority to perform any act not legitimately within the scope of such authority," 102 S.E.2d, at 577.
Flavell v. Dept. of Welfare, City and County of Denver, 355 P.2d 941 (Colo. 1960):
"It follows that a collateral attack may be made here for 'acts or orders [of administrative officers or agencies] which do not come clearly within the powers granted or which fall beyond the purview of the statute granting the agency or body its powers [such orders] are not merely erroneous, but are void'....'They [officers or agencies] are without power to act contrary to the provisions of the law or the clear legislative intendment, or to exceed the authority conferred on them by statute," 355 P.2d, at 943.
Ledgering v. State of Washington, 385 P.2d 522 (Wash. 1963): Driver's license revocation case.
"We do not believe, however, that when the legislature vested in the director discretionary power to suspend... it, absent express declaration, intended the power of executive decision in this area be delegated by the director to assistants, or relegated to a simple mechanical process.

"Gathering, collating, and presenting such facts as may be required by the director, together with making appropriate recommendations, preparing, signing, and mailing notices and orders in the name of the director are without doubt delegable duties. But, the basic responsibility and authority of exercising the discretion and power of decision...rests exclusively with the director," 385 P.2d, at 526.

Independent School District #639, Vesta v. Independent School District #893, Echo, 160 N.W.2d 686 (Minn. 1968):
"To allow one to take official action simply by giving oral approval to a letter which does not recite the action and which does not go out under one's name is to extend permissible delegation beyond reasonable bounds," 160 NW 2d, at 689.
Country Gas Service, Inc. v. United States, 405 F.2d 147 (1st Cir. 1969): Taxpayers entered into compromise with revenue agent to settle tax liability in beneficial manner. In holding the agent's agreement void, the court stated:
"The narrow issue presented by this case is whether the revenue agent had authority to make a binding agreement ... The exclusive procedure for compromising tax liabilities is set forth in Int. Rev. Code of 1954 § 7122. This section explicitly reposes such authority in 'the Secretary or his delegate', and such delegation stops at the district level. Since the exclusive means of compromise established by § 7122 was not utilized in this case, any arrangement taxpayer made with agent McInnis had no legal standing," 405 F.2d, at 149-50.
Court cited delegation orders in this case.

See also Brooks v. United States, 833 F.2d 1136, 1145 (4th Cir. 1987), and excellent list of cases cited therein.

California School Employees Ass'n. v. Personnel Comm. of P.V.U.S.D., 89 Cal. Rptr. 620, 474 P.2d 436 (1970):

"As a general rule, powers conferred upon public agencies and officers which involve the exercise of judgment or discretion are in the nature of public trusts and cannot be surrendered or delegated to subordinates in the absence of statutory authorization [cites omitted]. Under normal circumstances and absent statutory provisions to the contrary the dismissal of employees involves the exercise of judgment or discretion.

"On the other hand, public agencies may delegate the performance of ministerial tasks, including the investigation and determination of facts preliminary to agency action [cites omitted]. Moreover, an agency's subsequent approval or ratification of an act delegated to a subordinate validates the act, which becomes the act of the agency itself," 474 P.2d, at 439.

Tulsa Exposition and Fair Corp. v. Board of County Commissioners, 468 P.2d 501 (Ok. 1970):
"Counties have only such authority as is granted by statute [cites omitted]. The Board of County Commissioners in exercising corporate powers is limited to those fields expressly assigned to such subdivisions of the state by the legislature [cites omitted]. Public officers possess only such authority as is conferred upon them by law and such authority must be exercised in the manner provided by law," 468 P.2d, at 508.
See also Brown v. State Election Board, 369 P.2d 140 (Ok. 1962).

Baker v. Deschutes County, 498 P.2d 803 (Or.App. 1972): Contract to sell county land held void:

"It is fundamental law that government entities and their officers must find sanction for their actions in the statute itself. There is no apparent authority in a public officer whose duties are prescribed by law as there would be in the case of an agent for a private party [cites omitted].

"Persons contracting with a public officer acting under a public law must, at their peril, ascertain the scope of the officer's authority [cites omitted] and are chargeable with notice of the contents of the enactment conferring that authority. A contract by a public officer in excess of the provisions of the statute authorizing such contract is void, so far as it departs from or exceeds the terms of the law under which it was attempted to be negotiated," 498 P.2d, at 805.

Soriano v. United States, 494 F.2d 681 (9th Cir. 1974):
"[A]n administrative agency is a creature of statute, having only those powers expressly granted to it by Congress or included by necessary implication from the Congressional grant," 494 F.2d, at 683.
Steele v. Gray, 64 Wis.2d 422, 219 N.W.2d 312 (1974): Question regarding delegation of authority to revoke "good time" credits of prisoners:
"[A]n officer in whom discretionary power is vested cannot delegate that power without statutory authority to do so," 219 N.W.2d, at 316.
United States v. Gemmill, 535 F.2d 1145 (9th Cir. 1976): Indians convicted of trespass had convictions reversed due to lack of delegated authority of Forest Service officials to close part of national forest:
"Absent an explicit delegation from the Secretary, the boundaries of the Forest Supervisors' authority should not be extended into areas the regulations have clearly reserved for higher officials.

"By immediately closing the entire area, the Supervisor went beyond the limits of his authority and exercised a power that had not been granted to him. The closure orders were invalid and the trespass convictions cannot stand," 535 F.2d, at 1152.

Court referenced organizational structure and delegation orders published in the CFR.

Lopez-Telles v. I.N.S., 564 F.2d 1302 (9th Cir. 1977): Deportee alleged that administrative law judge could refuse to deport for humanitarian reasons. In rejecting this argument, it was stated:

"Immigration judges, or special inquiry officers, are creatures of statute, receiving some of their powers and duties directly from Congress... and some of them by subdelegation from the Attorney General... These statutes and the regulations implementing them... contain a detailed and elaborate description of the authority of immigration judges. Nowhere is there any mention of the power of an immigration judge to award the type of discretionary relief that was sought here," 564 F.2d, at 1303.
Churchill v. S.A.D. No. 49 Teachers Ass'n., 380 A.2d 186 (Me. 1977):
"[P]ublic bodies or officers may exercise only that power which is conferred upon them by law. The source of that authority must be found in the enabling statute either expressly or by necessary inference as an incidence essential to the full exercise of the powers specifically granted," 380 A.2d, at 192.
Champaign County, Illinois v. United States Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 611 F.2d 1200 (7th Cir. 1979):
"[A] delegation of authority survives the resignation of the person who issued the delegation," 611 F.2d, at 1207.
See also Railroad Yardmasters of America v. Harris, 721 F.2d 1332, 1343 (D.C. Cir. 1983): Delegations are not affected by change in personnel but continue until revoked; cites several cases; United States v. Morton Salt Co., 216 F.Supp. 250, 255-56 (D. Minn. 1962); and In re Subpoena of Persico, 522 F.2d 41, 62 (2nd Cir. 1975).

Hoppe v. King County, 95 Wash.2d 332, 622 P.2d 845 (1980):

"Public officers have only those powers expressly granted or necessarily implied by statute, " 622 P.2d, at 848.
Lavin v. Marsh, 644 F.2d 1378 (9th Cir. 1981): Retirement benefits case. Court stated:
"Persons dealing with the government are charged with knowing government statutes and regulations, and they assume the risk that government agents may exceed their authority and provide misinformation," 644 F.2d, at 1383.
Bollow v. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 650 F.2d 1093 (9th Cir. 1981): Employment contract action involving charge of age discrimination. Court held:
"All persons in the United States are chargeable with knowledge of the Statutes-at-Large....[I]t is well established that anyone who deals with the government assumes the risk that the agent acting in the government's behalf has exceeded the bounds of his authority," 650 F.2d, at 1100.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees v. Olson, 338 N.W.2d 97 (N.D. 1983): Union action to compel state to pay wage increase via union agreement:
"It is well settled that public officials have only such authority as is expressly given them by the constitution and statutes together with those powers and duties which are necessarily implied from the express grant of authority," 338 N.W.2d, at 100.
In re Benny, 29 B.R. 754, 762 (N.D. Cal. 1983):
"[A]n unlawful or unauthorized exercise of power does not become legitimated or authorized by reason of habitude."
See also Umpleby, by and through Umpleby v. State, 347 N.W.2d 156, 161 (N.D. 1984).

Ramirez de Arellano v. Weinberger, 745 F.2d 1500, 1523 (D.C. Cir. 1984):

"[W]hen an officer acts wholly outside the scope of the powers granted to him by statute or constitutional provision, the official's actions have been considered to be unauthorized."
Outboard Marine Corp. v. Thomas, 610 F.Supp. 1234, 1242 (N.D. Ill. 1985):
"Acting without statutory power at all, or misapplying one's statutory power, will result in a finding that such action was ultra vires."
(On appeal: 773 F.2d 883 (7th Cir. 1985), and 107 S.Ct. 638.

Boulez v. C.I.R., 810 F.2d 209 (D.C.Cir. 1987): Oral compromise held invalid as contrary to regulations. Court relied upon delegation orders.

United States v. Providence Journal Company, 485 U.S. 693, 108 S.Ct. 1502 (1988): District judge appointed a private attorney to pursue contempt charge against a party in judge's court. On appeal, contempt vacated, and attorney pursued writ, which was granted. In vacating writ, the Supremes held that only the Solicitor General had authority to apply for writ on behalf of the United States, a power not possessed by the attorney. United States v. Solomon, 563 F.2d 1121 (4th Cir. 1977): AG has no right to sue without authority in statute.

United States v. Plesinski, 912 F.2d 1033 (9th Cir. 1990): State Attorney General appointed special U.S. prosecutor. His authority was upheld.

Cases concerning proposition that agencies must act within their statutory authority:

(a) Regents of University System of Georgia v. Carroll, 338 U.S. 586, 597, 598, 70 S.Ct. 370 (1950): "As an administrative body, the Commission must find its powers within the compass of the authority given it by Congress".

(b) F.T.C. v. National Lead Co., 352 U.S. 419, 428, 77 S.Ct. 502 (1957): "the Commission may exercise only the powers granted it by the Act".

(c) Civil Aeronautics Board v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 367 U.S. 316, 322, 81 S.Ct. 1611 (1961): "the fact is that the Board is entirely a creature of Congress and the determinative question is not what the Board thinks it should do but what Congress has said it can do".

Excellent summary of law and principles regarding delegations: Shreveport Engraving Co. v. United States, 143 F.2d 222 (5th Cir. 1944), and Krug v. Lincoln National Life Ins. Co., 245 F.2d 848 (5th Cir. 1957).

Authority of public officials limited by statute:

City of Los Angeles v. Industrial Accident Comm., 8 Cal. App. 2d 580, 47 P.2d 1096 (1935); Davis v. Pelley, 230 Ind. 248, 102 N.E.2d 910 (1952); Blue Boar Cafeteria Co. v. Hackett, 312 Ky. 288, 227 S.W.2d 199 (1950); J.S. Bradley Co. v. Squire, 65 Ohio App. 186, 29 N.E.2d 430 (1939); Probasco v. Sikes, 77 Wyo. 108, 307 P.2d 817, 821 (1957); Crosthwait v. State, 135 Tex. 119, 138 S.W.2d 1060, 1061 (1940).

Thornton v. United States, 73-1 USTC 9232 (E.D.Pa. 1973): no delegated authority to make jeopardy.

The following is a short summary of the above which I have used previously as a footnote:

The American public should know the functions and delegated authority of federal agencies because it is charged with the knowledge of the scope and limitations upon the authority of federal agents, who can only act within the scope of such authority; see Federal Crop Insurance Corp. v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380, 384, 68 S. Ct. 1, 3 (1947); Dade Park Jockey Club v. Commonwealth, 253 Ky. 314, 69 S.W.2d 363, 365 (1934); Morris Plan Bank of Georgia v. Simmons, 201 Ga. 157, 39 S.E.2d 166, 175 (1946); Northern Pac. Ry. Co. v. United States, 70 F. Supp. 837, 860 (D.Minn. 1946); Sunshine Dairy v. Peterson, 183 Or. 305, 193 P.2d 543, 552 (1948); United States v. Jones, 176 F.2d 278, 281 (9th Cir. 1949); Patten v. State Personnel Board, 234 P.2d 987, 990 (Cal. App. 1951); State ex rel Young v. Niblack, 99 N.E.2d 839, 841 (Ind. 1951); State v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 138 Conn. 334, 84 A.2d 579, 581 (1951); Davis v. Pelley, 102 N.E.2d 910, 912 (Ind. 1952); Lien v. Northwestern Engineering Co., 54 N.W.2d 472, 476 (S.D. 1952); Sittler v. Board of Control of Michigan College, 333 Mich. 681, 53 N.W.2d 681, 684 (1952); Bear River Sand & Gravel Corp. v. Placer County, 258 P.2d 543, 546 (Cal. App. 1953); Rogers v. County Comm. of New Haven County, 141 Conn. 426, 106 A.2d 757 (1954); Mason County Civic Research Council v. County of Mason, 343 Mich. 313, 72 N.W.2d 292, 296 (1955); Government of Virgin Islands v. Gordon, 244 F.2d 818, 821 (3rd Cir. 1957); Joseph A. Cicci, Inc. v. Allanson, 187 N.Y.S.2d 911, 913 (1959); Atlantic Co. v. Moseley, 215 Ga. 530, 111 S.E.2d 239, 242 (1959); Flavell v. Dept. of Welfare, City and County of Denver, 355 P.2d 941, 943 (Colo. 1960); City of Calhoun v. Holland, 222 Ga. 817, 152 S.W.2d 752, 754 (1966); Gray v. Johnson, 395 F.2d 533, 537 (10th Cir. 1968); Gammill v. Shackelford, 480 P.2d 920, 922 (Okl. 1970); Baker v. Deschutes County, 498 P.2d 803, 805 (Or.App. 1972); City of Mercer Island v. Steinmann, 9 Wash. App. 479, 513 P.2d 80, 83 (1973); United States v. Gemmill, 535 F.2d 1145 (9th Cir. 1976); Lopez-Telles v. I.N.S., 564 F.2d 1302 (9th Cir. 1977); Bollow v. Federal Reserve Bank, 650 F.2d 1093, 1100 (9th Cir. 1981); Lavin v. Marsh, 644 F.2d 1378, 1383 (9th Cir. 1981); Smith v. Sorensen, 748 F.2d 427, 432 (8th Cir. 1984); and Watrel v. Commonwealth Dept. of Education, 488 A.2d 378, 381 (Pa. Comwlth. 1985). And acts of federal agents without delegated authority are void; see Cudahy Packing Co. v. Holland, 315 U.S. 357, 62 S.Ct. 651 (1942); United States v. Giordano, 416 U.S. 505, 94 S.Ct. 1820 (1974); United States v. Pees, 645 F. Supp. 687 (D. Col. 1986); United States v. Hovey, 674 F. Supp. 161 (D. Del. 1987); United States v. Spain, 825 F. 2d 1426 (10th Cir. 1987); United States v. Emerson, 846 F. 2d 541 (9th Cir. 1988); United States v. McLaughlin, 851 F. 2d 283 (9th Cir. 1988); and United States v. Widdowson, 916 F.2d 587, 589 (10th Cir. 1990). If a federal agent exceeds his delegated authority and commits a tort within a state, he may be sued in state court; see Johnston v. Earle, 245 F. 2d 793 (9th Cir. 1957); Hunsucker v. Phinney, 497 F. 2d 29 (5th Cir. 1974); and Rutherford v. United States, 702 F.2d 580 (5th Cir. 1983).