Independent Coal & Coke Co. v. United States - 274 U.S. 640 (1927)
U.S. Supreme Court
Independent Coal & Coke Co. v. United States, 274 U.S. 640 (1927)
Independent Coal & Coke Co. v. United States
Argued April 26, 1927
Decided May 31, 1927
274 U.S. 640
1. A bill in the nature of a supplemental bill is appropriate for securing the benefits of a former decree when further relief to that end is made necessary by subsequent events. P. 274 U. S. 647.
2. In determining the scope of such a bill and the relief that may be given upon it, the pleadings and proceedings of the earlier suit may be considered when their nature is disclosed by the former decree and opinion set up in the supplementary bill. P. 274 U. S. 647.
3. One who, by fraudulent misrepresentation, induced a state to select, and the government to convey to it, public lands of a kind not subject to such selection, and obtained the equitable title from the state; who was perpetually enjoined, in a suit by the United States to which the state was not a party, from setting up or making any claim to the lands, by decree establishing the fraud
and declaring the United States the owner, and who subsequently, by a conveyance from the state, acquired the legal title, holds that title as a constructive trustee for the United States, even assuming that it was unassailable in the hands of the state because of the statute of limitations. P. 274 U. S. 647.
4. Unless bona fide, a purchaser under a title which has been acquired by fraud takes subject to the equities of the defrauded owner. P. 274 U. S. 649.
6. Bona fide purchase is an affirmative defense. P. 274 U. S. 650.
6. Statutes of limitation against the Unite States are strictly construed. P. 274 U. S. 650.
7. Whether a certification of public land is within the statute limiting suits by the United States to vacate or annul patents -- not decided. P. 274 U. S. 650.
8. Where land has been certified to and sold by a state, a suit by the United States to regain the title from the purchaser because of fraud in procuring the certification is not a suit to cancel it. P. 650..
9 F.2d 517 affirmed.
Certiorari (270 U.S. 639) to a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court dismissing a bill brought by the United States to impress a constructive trust on the legal title to coal lands which had been certified to the State of Utah as agricultural and sold. It was in aid of a former suit (228 Fed. 431) in which the United States was decreed to be the owner of the equitable title upon the ground that the certification had been procured by fraud.