Enrique del Pozo y Marcos v. Wilson Cypress Co. - 269 U.S. 82 (1925)
U.S. Supreme Court
Enrique del Pozo y Marcos v. Wilson Cypress Co., 269 U.S. 82 (1925)
Enrique del Pozo y Marcos v. Wilson Cypress Company
Motion submitted October 5, 1925
Decided November 16, 1925
269 U.S. 82
1. An appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals entered prior to the Jurisdictional Act of February 13, 1925, was not affected by that Act. P. 269 U. S. 87.
2. Under Jud.Code §§ 128, 241, a decree of the circuit court of appeals in a case not of a class defined by § 128 as final in that court was reviewable by appeal to this Court if involving $1,000, exclusive of costs. Id.
3. Upon a motion to affirm, questions determined on a former appeal of the case, after a full hearing followed by denial of a petition for rehearing, and which were so determined by reaffirming and applying earlier decisions which covered the questions, cannot reasonably be regarded as debatable. P. 269 U. S. 88.
4. On the former appeal in this case ( 236 U. S. 236 U.S. 635) this Court held, in substance:
(a) The purpose of the Act of May 23, 1828, c. 70, 4 Stat. 284, in confirming the land grant in controversy, was not to create a new right, but to recognize, in fulfillment of treaty obligations, a right conferred by Spain while the land was under her dominion;
(b) As the grant contained a less acreage than a league square, the confirmation by that Act was subject only to a needed survey giving precision to the boundaries of the grant;
(c) When the survey was made, and received the approval of the Surveyor General in 1851, the confirmation was complete, and the land was thenceforth effectively separated from the public domain and subject to the taxing power of the state;
(d) The survey did not require the special approval of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, for, under the law and practice of that period, the approval of the Surveyor General sufficed;
(e) The patent, issued in 1895, was in the nature of a convenient muniment or record of the confirmation already effected by the Act of 1828 and the approved survey, rather than a conveyance speaking from the date of its issue. P. 269 U. S. 86.
5. As the record shows that the original plat was approved in 1851, and the patent recites that the description of the land in the patent was taken from the approved field notes of the original survey, a mention in the patent of a descriptive plat and notes "authenticated and approved" by the Surveyor General shortly before its date obviously refers to a plat and notes made from the approved survey of 1851 to provide a suitable description for the patent, authentication and approval of which by the then Surveyor General amounted to no more than a certificate that they were accurately taken from the earlier survey as shown on the records of his office. P. 269 U. S. 88.
6. A claimant under a Spanish grant whose claim was confirmed by an Act of Congress and approved survey was not obliged by the Act of March 3, 1807, c. 46, 2 Stat. 445, to abstain from acts of proprietorship until subsequent issue of a patent. P. 269 U. S. 89.
7. When title so passed by confirmation and approved survey, the doctrines of laches and adverse possession became applicable against the claimant, also a local statute of limitations which did not begin to run as to lands derived from the United States, "until the passage of the title " from the government. P. 269 U. S. 89.
8. Concurrent findings of fact of two federal courts below, having substantial support in the evidence, and sustaining defenses of adverse possession and laches, are accepted by this Court. P. 269 U. S. 89.
299 F. 261 affirmed.
Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court dismissing on the merits a suit brought by the appellants to quiet title to a confirmed land grant in Florida. The decision now reported was made on a motion to affirm the decree appealed from, an alternative motion to dismiss the appeal being overruled. Upon a former appeal taken by the Cypress Company, this Court reversed a decree which had been rendered in favor of the plaintiffs. See 236 U. S. 236 U.S. 635.