Fenn v. Holme - 62 U.S. 481 (1858)
U.S. Supreme Court
Fenn v. Holme, 62 U.S. 21 How. 481 481 (1858)
Fenn v. Holme
62 U.S. (21 How.) 481
The plaintiff in ejectment must in all cases prove a legal title to the premises in himself, at the time of the demise laid in the declaration, and evidence of an equitable title will not be sufficient for a recovery.
Hence, the holder of a New Madrid certificate, upon which no patent had been issued, and whilst it was yet uncertain whether or not the proposed location of it was reserved under older surveys, could not recover in ejectment. The legal title was in the government.
The cases referred to, showing the necessity of preserving the distinction between legal and equitable rights and remedies.
The practice of allowing ejectments to be maintained in state courts upon equitable titles cannot affect the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States.
The case is explained in the opinion of the Court.