United States v. Grimes - 67 U.S. 610 (1862)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Grimes, 67 U.S. 2 Black 610 610 (1862)
United States v. Grimes
67 U.S. (2 Black) 610
1. The assignee of a Mexican title was not prohibited from presenting his case to the land commissioners in his own name, and where he was assignee of the whole claim, that was his proper method of proceeding.
2. But where the land claimed was portioned out among many vendees, the proper party to the proceeding was the original grantee, who could produce the documents of title and who best knew how to establish it.
3. Though the assignee of a portion of a claim is not absolutely estopped by a decree of this Court adverse to the title under which lie holds, he cannot expect to shake that decree without producing new evidence which proves it to be erroneous.
4. The government cannot be required to give two patents for the same land, one to the original claimant and the other to his vendee.
5. Where the original Mexican grantee filed his petition for a confirmation of the title, and several of his assignees petitioned also for the confirmation of the parts conveyed to them, the commissioners should have consolidated all the cases.
6. It was their duty to establish the boundary as well as validity of the Mexican grant as between the original grantee and the government, but not to arbitrate the disputes of the several assignees.
On the first of March, 1853, Hiram Grimes filed his petition in the California Land Commission, on his own behalf and as executor of Eliab Grimes, deceased, praying confirmation of a title to certain lands derived from Mexico through and under John A. Sutter. On the 15th of January, 1856, the land commissioners rejected the claim, whereupon Grimes appealed to the district court. On the 6th of March, 1857, that court made its decree reversing the decision of the land commission and confirming the title. From this decree the United States appealed. The facts necessary to an understanding of the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.