Thomas v. Brockenbrough - 23 U.S. 146 (1825)
U.S. Supreme Court
Thomas v. Brockenbrough, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 146 146 (1825)
Thomas v. Brockenbrough
23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 146
Although bills of review are not strictly within the statute of limitations, yet courts of equity will adopt the analogy of the statute in prescribing the time within which they shall be brought.
Appeals in equity causes being limited by the Judiciary Acts of 1789, c. 20, s. 22, and of 1893, c. 353, s. 2, to five years after the decree, the same period of limitation is applied to bills of review.
Quaere whether a bill of review founded upon matter discovered since the decree is also barred by the lapse of five years?
It is in the discretion of the Court to grant leave to file a bill of review for that cause.
The appellant, Thomas, filed in the Circuit Court of Kentucky at the November term, 1818, a bill to review and reverse a final decree of the same court pronounced at the May term, 1810, by which the plaintiff in the bill of review and defendant in the original suit was decreed to convey
to the heirs of John Harvie, the plaintiffs in the original suit, a certain tract of land which formed the subject of controversy in that suit. The bill of review, after stating the substance of the original bill, which was filed by John Harvie, and the bill of revivor after his death, in the name of the present respondents, in whose favor the decree was passed, assigns the following errors in the said decree as causes for its reversal.
1. That the entry of James Clark under whom the said John Harvie claimed the land in dispute was void for uncertainty.
2. That before the final decree was passed, the said Harvie died, leaving a will by which he devised the land in controversy to his sons, Edwin and Jacqueline, two of the plaintiffs in the bill of revivor, of which will the plaintiff was wholly ignorant until long after the final decree was entered.
3. That the said Edwin Harvie died previous to the said decree, and his right in the said land descended to his heirs at law, John and Lewis, who were no parties to the said suit, of which facts the plaintiff was wholly ignorant until long after the decree complained of.
To this bill of review the defendants plead in bar the decree passed and enrolled in the original suit, and the prosecution by the plaintiff, Thomas, of a writ of error to the supreme court to reverse the same, which was dismissed, and then demurred to so much of the bill as sought to review and reverse the said decree. Upon argument of the plea and demurrer, the court below
dismissed the bill of review, and the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.