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Corinne Mill Canal & Stock Co. v. Johnson, 156 U.S. 574 (1895)

Corinne Mill Canal and Stock Company v. Johnson

No. 216

Argued January 31, 1895

Decided March 4, 1895

156 U.S. 574


In an action to recover possession of land in Utah, the plaintiff set up that it was part of a grant to a railroad company under which he claimed. In the statute making the grant, there were exceptions and reservations. The plaintiff failed to show that the tract he claimed was not within them. The trial court ruled that he had failed to show title, and its ruling was upheld by the supreme court of the territory. Held that this was not error.

This was an action brought by the plaintiff in error (plaintiff below) in the District Court of the First Judicial District of Utah to recover possession of certain real estate. A trial before the court and a jury resulted in a verdict and judgment for defendant, which judgment was on appeal affirmed by the supreme court of the territory. 7 Utah 327.

Page 156 U. S. 575

The contention of plaintiff was that the lands were within the grant made by the Acts of Congress of July 1, 1862, 12 Stat. 489, and July 2, 1864, 13 Stat., to aid in the construction of a railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, and that, by virtue of the admitted completion of the road, the title to them had passed to the Central Pacific Railroad Company, under whom it claimed. The statement on motion for a new trial and appeal, signed by the trial judge, which is substantially the equivalent of a bill of exceptions, does not contain any patent from the government for the lands, nor does it purport to contain all the testimony offered on the trial. The trial court, in its instructions to the jury, expressed the opinion that the plaintiff had failed to prove any title, but, while expressing such opinion, submitted to them the question of the statute of limitations. The views of the supreme court of the territory are summed up in these two paragraphs:

"In this case, no evidence having been offered that the railroad ever obtained a patent for the lands in dispute, nor that it filed its map showing its line as definitely located within the time provided by the law, nor any proof as to the time when said railroad was completed, nor that the lands were not within any of the exceptions or reservations provided in the statute, we think plaintiff failed to show its title, and that there was no error in the instruction given by the court to the jury."

"The trial court submitted to the jury the issue of the statute of limitations raised in defendant's answer, and this is assigned as error, upon the ground that there was no evidence tending to support this issue. We have examined the evidence contained in the record, and while it does not purport to contain all the evidence in the case, yet, from the evidence set out in the printed transcript, we think no error was committed in this respect, and the judgment of the district court is affirmed. "

Page 156 U. S. 576

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