United States v. Whited & Wheless, Ltd. - 246 U.S. 552 (1918)


U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Whited & Wheless, Ltd., 246 U.S. 552 (1918)

United States v. Whited & Wheless, Limited

No. 204

Submitted March 19, 1918

Decided April 15, 1918

246 U.S. 552

Syllabus

The provision in the Act of March 3, 1891, § 8, 26 Stat. 1099, that

"suits by the United States to vacate and annul patents hereafter issued shall only be brought within six years after the date of the issuance of such patents,"

was designed for the security of patent titles, and does not apply to an action at law to recover the value of patented land as damages for deceit practiced by the defendant in procuring the patent.

A statute of limitations should be strictly construed in favor of the government.

Where there are two remedies for the protection of the same right, one may be barred and the other not.

The provision in the Act of March 2, 1896, limiting the government's money recovery to the minimum government price (see 29 Stat. 42, § 2), when patents have been "erroneously issued under a railroad or wagon road grant" and the lands have been sold to bona fide purchasers, does not apply to a case in which the government seeks money damages because of deceit practiced in procuring a patent under the Homestead Law.

232 F. 139 reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 246 U. S. 560



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