US Coins

Langbords file appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for Third

Shown is one of 10 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagles that remain the subject of a suit to determine ownership of the coins.

Image by Thomas Mulvaney, courtesy U.S. Mint.

The family that lost its case to keep 10 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagles that it allegedly discovered in a safe deposit box has filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

Joan Langbord, and her sons David and Roy filed their appeal on Dec. 21, 2012. The Langbords are seeking review of District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis’ Aug. 29, 2012, order confirming the jury’s decision and are also appealing several other less-inclusive judgments and orders.

The 10 coins were allegedly discovered in a Langbord family safe deposit box in 2003.

The family sued the government and other entities on Dec. 6, 2006, seeking legal possession of the coins.

In 2009 the trial court ruled that the government had to file a forfeiture action against the coins and in July 2011 a jury unanimously found that the government proved its position that the 10 coins could not be privately owned and should be forfeited by the Langbords.

The Langbords challenged the verdict, contending that no reasonable jury could have found that the coins were stolen or otherwise removed from the Mint unlawfully, among other things. These challenges were unsuccessful at the trial court level.

A losing party in a decision by a trial court may appeal a decision to a federal court of appeals. The Langbords now must show that the trial court made a legal error that affected the decision in the case. A court of appeals makes a decision based on the record of the case established by the trial court and does not receive additional evidence or hear witnesses. The three-judge panel then may decide on the basis of written briefs, or may allow oral arguments before the court.

A decision by a court of appeals is usually final, unless it sends the case back to the trial court for additional proceedings or the parties ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. ¦

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