Wickliffe v. Owings,
58 U.S. 47 (1854)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wickliffe v. Owings, 58 U.S. 17 How. 47 47 (1854)

Wickliffe v. Owings

58 U.S. 47


Where a bill in chancery avers that the defendant is a citizen of another state, this averment can only be impugned in a special plea to the jurisdiction of the court. The answer is not the proper place for it under the 33d rule of equity practice established by this Court.

The plea of the defendant that he had instituted a suit against the complainant in a state court in the same controversy prior to the institution of this one in the circuit court of the United States is not sustained by the evidence, nor is the allegation that the title of the complainant is invalid.

Upon a bill filed under a statute of Kentucky by a person having both the legal title to and the possession of land against a person setting up a claim thereto for the purpose of quieting the title, this Court decides that the complainant is entitled to relief, and proceeds to render such decree as the circuit court ought to have rendered.

This was a bill filed by Wickliffe under a statute of Kentucky to quiet the title to sundry tracts of land of which the complainant was in possession and to which he alleged that he had the legal title. Owings, it was averred, had removed to Texas and become a citizen of that state, but had visited Kentucky and set up a claim to the lands, threatening to institute suits against the complainant.

Owings, in his answer, denied the jurisdiction of the court upon the ground that he was not a citizen of Texas, denied that the complainant had any title to the land, or that if he had one, asserted that it was obtained by fraud, and alleged that prior to the institution of this suit, he himself had filed a bill against Wickliffe in the Bath Circuit Court of Kentucky, and relied on the priority of his bill in bar of Wickliffe's suit.

The district judge who tried the cause in the court below dismissed the bill, from which decree Wickliffe appealed to this Court.

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