Camp v. Boyd - 229 U.S. 530 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
Camp v. Boyd, 229 U.S. 530 (1913)
Camp v. Boyd
Argued February 28, March 3, 5, 1913
Decided June 9, 1913
229 U.S. 530
Parties in possession of land under titles from various sources and having the equitable, as well as the legal, title to a portion of it and the equitable, but not the legal, title to the remainder, may, under the circumstances of this case, properly invoke the aid of equity to restrain other parties from maintaining ejectment suits and to adjudicate the title to the entire tract in a single suit.
A court of equity ought to do justice completely, and not by halves.
As a court of equity should prevent multiplicity of suits, it may, to this end, if obliged to take cognizance of a suit for any purpose, retain it for all purposes, even though required to determine purely legal rights otherwise beyond its authority.
While a term, such as "ground rents," used in a conveyance may not be the recognized equivalent of any legal estate in lands, the court may ascertain the recognized meaning given to it and resort to that as evidence of the intent of the parties using it, and thus determine what effect ought in equity to be given to it.
The term " ground rents," as used in the deeds and proceedings involved in this case, did not import merely the rents that were to accrue during the residue of a 99-year lease renewable forever, but included the reversion as well, it appearing that the entire beneficial interest of the owner of the ground rents and the reversion was undoubtedly the subject of the sale, and within the contemplation of the buyer and seller.
Deeds made by a public officer in pursuance of a decree of the court which are defective in form by reason of a mistake made by such public officer will pass the title to the property intended to be conveyed, as harmful consequences should not fall upon purchasers who, in reliance upon apparent regularity, have paid their money for the property.
Equity regards that as done which ought to be done. It looks to the true intent and meaning, rather than to the form. It relieves of consequences of accident and mistake, as well as fraud.
35 App.D.C. 159 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the title, legal and equitable, to certain real estate in the City of Washington, District of Columbia, are stated in the opinion.