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GAINES V. RUGG, 148 U. S. 228 (1893)

U.S. Supreme Court

Gaines v. Rugg, 148 U.S. 228 (1893)

Gaines v. Rugg

Nos. 12 and 13 original

Argued March 7-8, 1893

Decided March 20, 1893

148 U.S. 228


This Court, in Goode v. Gaines, 145 U. S. 141, on an appeal by the defendant in a suit in equity from a decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas, reversed the decree and ordered that each party pay one-half of the costs in this Court, and the mandate recited the decree of this Court, and remanded the cause "for further proceedings to be had therein in conformity with the opinion of this Court," and commanded that such further proceedings be had in the cause,

"in conformity with the opinion and decree of this Court as, according to right and justice and the laws of the United States ought to be had, the said appeal notwithstanding."

The circuit court had decreed that the title of the defendant to a lot of land be divested out of him, and be vested in the plaintiffs, and that a master take an account of rents on the lot, taxes paid and improvements placed on it. This Court held that no error was committed in any matter relating to the title or possession of the land, but that error was committed, in acting on the report of the master, in allowing the plaintiffs for rents which accrued before the filing of the bill. On the presentation of the mandate to the circuit court, with a proposed decree thereon, the defendant filed exceptions, and the circuit court entered an order allowing the defendant to take further testimony in support of his exceptions "by way of defense to the title to the land in controversy," and set the cause down upon the issues formed by the pleadings and exceptions as to the title to the land, and sustained the exceptions, and overruled a petition of the plaintiffs for a writ of possession. This Court awarded a mandamus for the entry of the proposed decree, and for a writ of possession.

This Court had not disturbed the findings and decree of the circuit court in regard to the title and possession, but only its disposition of the matter of accounting.

The mandate and the opinion, taken together, although they used the word "reversed," amounted to a reversal only in respect to the accounting,

Page 148 U. S. 229

and to a modification of the decree in respect of the accounting, and to an affirmance of it in all other respects.

The construction of the intent and meaning of the opinion of this Court was not a matter for the exercise of judicial discretion by the circuit court, and the case is a proper one for a mandamus by this Court.

Petition for mandamus. The case is stated in the opinion.

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