Green v. Watkins - 20 U.S. 27 (1822)
U.S. Supreme Court
Green v. Watkins, 20 U.S. 7 Wheat. 27 27 (1822)
Green v. Watkins
20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 27
In a writ of right, the tenant cannot give in evidence the title of a third person with whom he has no privity unless it be for the purpose of disproving the demandant's seizin.
Therefore, where the demandant proves an actual seizin by a pedis positio, the tenant cannot be permitted to prove a superior outstanding title, since it does not disprove the demandant's seizin.
But where the demandant relies for proof of seizin solely upon a constructive actual seizin in virtue of a patent from the state of vacant lands, the tenant may show that the land has been previously granted by the state, for that devests the title of the state and disproves the demandants' constructive seizin.
A writ of right brings into controversy only the titles of the parties to the suit and is a comparison of those titles, and either party may therefore prove any fact which defeats the title of the other or shows it never had a legal existence or has been parted with.
The case of Green v. Liter, 8 Cranch 229, commented on and explained.