SCHLOSSER V. HEMPHILL, 198 U. S. 173 (1905)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Schlosser v. Hemphill, 198 U.S. 173 (1905)

Schlosser v. Hemphill

No. 175

Argued March 13-14, 1905

Decided May 8, 1905

198 U.S. 173


Where the judgment of the highest court of a state, in reversing a judgment against defendant, does not direct the court below to dismiss the petition, but remands the cause for further proceedings, in harmony with the opinion, it is not a final judgment in such sense as to sustain a writ of error from this Court.

The case is thus stated by the Supreme Court of Iowa, to which it had been carried by appeal from the district court of Palo Alto County:

"This is an action in equity to quiet title to a tract of some 290 acres of land in the south half of section 30, township 97, range 34, in Palo Alto County. Plaintiff is the admitted owner of lots two and three, forming a part of said tract, and containing about 99 acres. According to the

Page 198 U. S. 174

original government survey, made in 1857, this land was adjacent to a lake, which was meandered, and the meander lines were run along the north side of the said two lots. The remainder of the land claimed lies between this meander line and the alleged shore of the lake, and is the subject of the controversy. The half-section in question -- that is, such part of it as lies beyond the original meander line -- was resurveyed by the government in the year 1898, and platted into five lots, of which lots 11, 14, and 16 are claimed by defendant Hemphill, and lots 12 and 13 by defendant Ryan. These claims are founded upon conveyances from Palo Alto County, under a patent issued to the state, under the swamp land grant of 1850, and which is based upon the resurvey of 1898. Schlosser insists that the meander line is not his boundary, it not marking the edge of the lake, but that he is entitled to claim up to the east and west half-section line of said section. There was a decree for plaintiff, and defendants appeal."

118 Ia. 452.

The supreme court ruled that

"where a body of water is meandered, such lines are not boundary lines, and the adjacent owner will usually take title to the actual shore; but where there is no adjacent body of water proper to be meandered, such line becomes a boundary, and the purchaser from the government cannot claim title beyond it,"

and held upon the facts that there was no body of water in section thirty necessary to be meandered, and that plaintiff could not claim title beyond the meandered line. The court said, in concluding:

"In our opinion, the plaintiff has no right to any other than the land patented to his grantor, and the decree of the trial court must therefore be reversed."

And entered judgment as follows:

"In this cause, the court being fully advised in the premises, file their written opinion reversing the judgment of the district court."

"It is therefore considered by the court that the judgment of the court below be, and it is hereby, reversed and set aside, and the cause is remanded for further proceedings in harmony

Page 198 U. S. 175

with the opinion of this court, and that a writ of procedendo issue accordingly."

"It is further considered by the court that the appellee pay the costs of this appeal, taxed at $227.70, and that execution issue therefor."

This writ of error was thereupon brought.


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