Longpre v. Diaz
237 U.S. 512 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Longpre v. Diaz, 237 U.S. 512 (1915)

Longpre v. Diaz

No. 51

Submitted March 15, 1915

Decided June 1, 1915

237 U.S. 512

Syllabus

Under the law of Porto Rico as it was in 1892, a widow and guardian ad litem had no authority to give the property of the minor child in payment of a debt of the deceased father in private sale, and there was no authority in any judge to approve such a voluntary partition as was involved in this action.

A disposition of a minor's property by private sale in Porto Rico, unauthorized by the local law, even if approved by a judge, is void, and the minor, on coming of age, may sue in ejectment under the provisions of the Civil Code of Porto Rico, then in force and applicable in this case, without first seeking rescission of the partition. An unsuccessful defendant in ejectment must, unless a purchaser in good faith, account for the fruits gathered during possession.

While, under the Civil Code of Porto Rico, good faith is presumed until bad faith is shown, one who purchases property belonging to a minor under a confessedly nonexistent and void instrument cannot be a purchaser in good faith.

The rule that the burden of proof to show bad faith is on him who charges it does not apply where bad faith is shown ipso facto by the acquisition's being contrary to law.

Under Art. 442 of the Civil Code of Porto Rico, an heir who possessed

Page 237 U. S. 513

property in personal good faith is relieved from liability to account, after ejectment, for the fruits during his possession, notwithstanding his ancestor from whom he derived the property may not have acquired it in good faith.

The facts, which involve the construction and application of the laws of Porto Rico relating to the accountability for fruits and profits of real estate of one evicted therefrom, are stated in the opinion.

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