John Ii Estate, Ltd. v. Brown - 235 U.S. 342 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
John Ii Estate, Ltd. v. Brown, 235 U.S. 342 (1914)
John Ii Estate, Limited v. Brown
Argued November 13, 1914
Decided December 7, 1914
235 U.S. 342
The decision of the Supreme Court of the Hawaiian Islands, made while the present Territory was an independent sovereignty, in a case construing a will, that a devise of lands was in fee, and not in trust, should not be disturbed or pronounced void by the courts of the Territory on grounds mainly of form and procedure.
A duly filed written decision of the highest court of the former sovereignty must be regarded as an adjudication if at that time it was the recognized practice that the case, the submission, and the written decision constituted the record.
Where the constitution and statutes of the former sovereignty permitted the highest court to fill a vacancy by calling in a member of the bar, and it was the practice for years to fill more than one vacancy, the question of the validity of a judgment of that court should not be raised long after the change of sovereignty.
Even if under, the statutes of the Republic of Hawaii, questions in equity
could not be reserved, if the highest court did act on questions so reserved and entertained the cause, it had authority to decide, and its judgment cannot be subsequently attacked in another court on that ground. Even if a case holding that a prior decision should not be disturbed did not again make the matter res judicata, the later case may be referred to as authority with regard to local procedure.
201 F. 224 reversed.
The facts, which involve a will as the same had been construed by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Hawaii and the effect of that decision as an adjudication in subsequent actions in the courts of the Territory, are stated in the opinion.