Lane v. Watts - 234 U.S. 525 (1914)


U.S. Supreme Court

Lane v. Watts, 234 U.S. 525 (1914)

Lane v. Watts

No. 889

Argued April 14, 15, 1914

Decided June 22, 1914

234 U.S. 525

Syllabus

A title which has passed by location of a grant and its approval by proper officers of the Land Department cannot be subsequently divested by the then officers of the department. Ballinger v. Frost, 216 U. S. 240.

The action of the Commissioner in approving the location of a nonmineral float cannot be revoked by his successor in office, and an attempt so to do can be enjoined. Noble v. Union River Logging Co., 147 U. S. 165.

A suit to restrain the Secretary of the Interior and the Land Commissioner from doing under color of their office an illegal act which will cast a cloud upon the title of complainant is not one against the United States, nor in this case is it one for recovery of land merely, or an attempted appeal from the decision of the Interior Department, or a trial of title to land not within the jurisdiction of the court and wherein the United States is not present or suable.

A survey is necessary to segregate from the public domain lands attempted to be located by a float grant. Stoneroad v. Stoneroad, 158 U. S. 240. In this case, held that a survey was made and approved.

In this case, held that the report of the Surveyor General and the subsequent proceedings and survey by the Surveyor General of Arizona amounted to a survey and finding that the lands were nonmineral and that title thereto vested in the holder of the float grant selecting the lands and passed out of the United States.

Where, as in this case, in order to accommodate conflicting claims and at the instance of the government, claimants have given up rights to a definite tract and accepted float grants for an equal amount of land, it will be presumed that the government would make provision for the location of the substituted land as expeditiously as possible and without expense to the holders of the float.

41 App.D.C. 139 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the title to lands assigned on one of the Baca Float Grants issued in substitution of the Las Vegas Grant, are stated in the opinion.

Page 234 U. S. 526



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