Dunphy v. Sullivan,
117 U.S. 346 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dunphy v. Sullivan, 117 U.S. 346 (1886)

Dunphy v. Sullivan

Argued March 16, 1886

Decided March 22, 1886

117 U.S. 346




Possession of land in Montana under claim of title for more than three years prior to August 1, 1877, perfected title as against adverse claimants.

Ejectment for a town lot in Montana. Defendant in error as plaintiff below claimed under a deed from the probate judge as trustee and mesne conveyances, and relied on a continued possession under claim of title from August, 1870, to October, 1877. The defendant below also claimed title from the probate judge as trustee through mesne conveyances. Judgment for plaintiff, which was affirmed by the supreme court of the territory. The defendant brought this writ of error.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

This judgment is affirmed. The jury has found as a fact that Mrs. Sullivan, the defendant in error, was in the actual possession of the property, under a claim of title, from August 2, 1870, until October 4, 1877. This, of course, includes the time from the 22d of February, 1873, when it is claimed the adverse title of Dunphy began, to October 4, 1877. It sufficiently appears that the court directed the jury to find upon the special issues submitted, and no complaint is made of the charge as to what was necessary to create a title by adverse possession. We are not permitted to inquire whether the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict. From a time prior to February 22, 1873, until August 1, 1877, a title could be acquired, under the statutes of Montana, by three years' adverse possession. After that, it required five years. It follows that

Page 117 U. S. 347

Mrs. Sullivan's title to the property was perfected by her adverse possession before Dunphy entered into actual possession, and that the judgment in her favor on the special findings, as well as on the general verdict, was right.


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