Lee County v. Rogers - 74 U.S. 181 (1868)
U.S. Supreme Court
Lee County v. Rogers, 74 U.S. 7 Wall. 181 181 (1868)
Lee County v. Rogers
74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 181
1. The principle of law held by this Court in Gelpeke v. City of Dubuque, 1 Wall. 176, 68 U. S. 223 -- the principle, namely, that bonds, issued by counties, cities, or towns in Iowa to railroad companies for stock in such companies, and which said bodies, at the time the bonds were issued, were held, by the settled adjudications of the highest courts of the state, to possess full power, under its constitution and laws, to issue the same, are ever after valid and binding upon the body issuing them in the hands of a bona fide holder, although the same courts may subsequently reverse their previous decisions -- is not open for reexamination in this Court.
2. The doctrine of lis pendens has no application to a case where there were three distinct and independent suits, with an interval of one year between the first and second and of two years between the second and third.
Rogers brought suit against Lee County, Iowa, upon the coupons of certain bonds signed by one Boyles, county judge, issued by the county under the county seal, to a certain railroad company named. [Footnote 1]
The defenses, as appearing on answer and amended answer, were:
1. That the bonds were issued and executed by Boyles, county judge &c.,
"without any authority of law, having been issued for the purpose of subscribing on behalf of this defendant to the stock of certain railroad corporations, which the defendant had no power or authority to do,"
and that they were "utterly null and void from the beginning."
2. That a bill had been filed by McMillan and others, taxpayers of Lee County, against Boyles, the county judge &c., on the 1st October, 1856, in a state court, before any bonds were issued, and that he was enjoined, on account of irregularities in preliminary proceedings, at the December Term 1856, against issuing the bonds; that soon afterwards, in January, 1857, the legislature passed an act confirming and legalizing these proceedings; that a second bill was filed by the same parties on the 26th February, 1859, a year after this act of the legislature, for the purpose of having both the act, and also the bonds, which, in the meantime, had been issued, declared void, and that on the 22d June, 1858, a decree was rendered declaring both the act and the bonds valid and binding; that a third bill was filed, which was a bill of review of the previous case, on the 28th July, 1860, two years after the previous decree, and that on the 18th October, 1862, a decree was rendered declaring the act of the legislature and bonds void and of no effect.
The defense meant to be set up by this second head was, of course, that of lis pendens.
The defendant demurred, and the court below sustaining the demurrer, the case was now brought here by the county.