O'Neil v. Northern Colorado Irrigation Co.,
242 U.S. 20 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

O'Neil v. Northern Colorado Irrigation Co., 242 U.S. 20 (1916)

O'Neil v. Northern Colorado Irrigation Company

No. 68

Argued November 6, 1916

Decided November 20, 1916

242 U.S. 20


Under the laws of Colorado here applicable, as construed by her highest court, a suit by a claimant of a water right in one water district to contest a water priority defined by a general adjudication in another is barred if not brought within four years from the rendition of the decree.

A state law which provides for a public adjudication of property rights in a given subject matter and declares that even persons who are not entitled to be heard in the proceeding shall ultimately be bound does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment quoad such persons if it allows them an adequate opportunity, including a reasonable time, to assert their rights in other judicial proceedings.

A judicial construction of a statute, supportable by frank reasoning and not subversive of any earlier judicial construction upon which a party might be held to have relied, does not deprive him of due process though it take him by surprise and come too late for him to act upon it, and thus save his rights.

A departure by state decision from a rule of property established by earlier state decisions may not be relied on, without more, as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Sauer v. New York, 206 U. S. 536; Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. Tranbarger, 238 U. S. 67.

56 Colo. 545 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 242 U. S. 24

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