Donohue v. Vosper
243 U.S. 59 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Donohue v. Vosper, 243 U.S. 59 (1917)

Donohue v. Vosper

No. 445

Argued January 26, 1917

Decided March 6, 1917

243 U.S. 59

Syllabus

When it appears by the state court's opinion that both parties relied upon the construction and effect to be given a decree of a federal court, and that the court applied it against one of them, rejecting the construction relied on by the other, a federal question is presented which this Court may determine on writ of error.

In a suit by the United States to determine the title to certain land, rival claims, arising independently under the public land laws and based on facts existing before the litigation, were asserted by two individuals on the one part and by two corporations on another. One of the individuals had deeded to the other with warranty before the suit, and the second corporation had succeeded to the first during its progress. By consent of the United States and the individuals, a decree was entered declaring that the title at the commencement of the suit was fully and completely vested in the first corporation and, pending the suit, had become fully and completely vested in the second, that neither the United States nor the individuals had any right, title, or interest in the land, that the title should be quieted in the second corporation against the United States and the individuals, and that the decree should operate as a release from the United States and each of the individuals of all right and title to the land, and might be recorded as such in the county records.

Held

(1) That the decree should be construed not as divesting any interest of the individuals or affecting their relations inter sese, but as adjudging that both were devoid of interest from before the beginning of the suit, and, consequently,

(2) That the covenant of warranty between them attached by estoppel to the title when afterwards acquired by the warrantor.

The warrantor, having acquired the title, conveyed to the plaintiff in error, the warrantee deeded part of his interest to another, and thereafter the plaintiff in error joined with the warrantee and the latter's grantee in an option and lease of the property, reciting the warrantee's interest. Held that this was a practical construction of the decree to the effect that it had not disturbed the warranty.

A decision by a state court against a claim of title by adverse possession,

Page 243 U. S. 60

where the question is essentially local and dependent on an appreciation of evidence as to the conduct of parties, is not reviewable by this Court.

189 Mich. 78 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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