Norton v. Larney
266 U.S. 511 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Norton v. Larney, 266 U.S. 511 (1925)

Norton v. Larney

No. 146

Submitted December 8, 1924

Decided January 5, 1925

266 U.S. 511

Syllabus

1. An averment in a bill to quiet title to a Creek Indian allotment that the plaintiff went into possession by authority of treaties between the Creek Nation and the United States and the laws of Congress dealing with the lands and individuals of the Creek

Page 266 U. S. 512

Nation is insufficient to show that the case arose under those laws and treaties. P. 266 U. S. 513.

2. When a right to land set up by the plaintiff in a suit to quiet title would be defeated by a construction of an act of Congress contended for by the defendant, but supported by the opposite construction, the case arises under a law of the United States within the meaning of Jud.Code § 24. P. 266 U. S. 515.

3. If the jurisdictional facts are not alleged in the bill, it is the duty of the district court to dismiss the suit unless those facts be supplied by amendment. Id.

4. The district court, while it has control of the record, even after reversal and remand, can allow the initial pleading to be amended to show jurisdictional facts appearing of record. P. 266 U. S. 516.

5. Such an amendment will also be allowed in this Court (Rev.Stats., § 954) when the jurisdictional facts are in the record and indisputable and the amendment can occasion no surprise. Id., .

6. Of the findings made by the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes in enrolling children, under the Act of March 3, 1905, c. 49, 33 Stat. 1071, those upon matters merely incidental or collateral to the direct issues presented by the statute are not conclusive in subsequent proceedings -- e.g., as to whether a child's parents were known by aliases and the precise numbers of their enrollments. P. 266 U. S. 517.

7. A latent ambiguity in such findings may be resolved by parol evidence. Id.

8. Where two courts have reached the same conclusion on a question of fact, it will be accepted here unless clearly erroneous. P. 266 U. S. 518.

289 F. 395 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals affirming a decree of the district court in favor of the appellee, Larney, in his suit to quiet title to land allotted to him as a citizen of the Creek Nation.

Page 266 U. S. 513

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