Hapai v. Brown,
239 U.S. 502 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hapai v. Brown, 239 U.S. 502 (1916)

Hapai v. Brown

No. 120

Argued December 17, 1916

Decided January 10, 1916

239 U.S. 502


Where there is no doubt that the import of the decree pleaded as res judicata to a bill to quiet title was to the effect that plaintiff in the former action had no title to the property, the inquiry in the subsequent action is narrowed to the question of jurisdiction of the court rendering the decree pleaded.

This Court will not presume that the highest court of the Hawaiian Islands did not know its own powers or did not decide in accordance with law of the Kingdom. John Ii Estate v. Brown, 235 U. S. 342.

This Court affirms the decision of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Hawaii holding that the determination of the Supreme Court of the Hawaiian Islands in a suit for partition made without any objection by any of the parties and not appealed from is valid and binding upon, and res judicata as to, the same parties and their privies in a subsequent suit involving the same land.

Even though the party making a motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction does not press it, this Court is not at liberty to disregard it.

When, owing to confusion in the statutes, there is doubt as to whether appeal or writ of error is the proper course, this Court will, if possible, save a party's rights from being lost by mistake in technicalities, and so held that, under § 246, Judicial Code, writ of error was the proper course to review the judgment of the Supreme Court of Hawaii in a case involving over $5,000 in which trial by jury was waived.

21 Haw. 756 affirmed.

Page 239 U. S. 503

The facts, which involve the validity of a judgment of the courts of the Territory of Hawaii in an action affecting title to a tract of land in that Territory, are stated in the opinion.

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