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MCCASKILL CO. V. UNITED STATES, 216 U. S. 504 (1910)

U.S. Supreme Court

McCaskill Co. v. United States, 216 U.S. 504 (1910)

McCaskill Co. v. United States

No. 103

Argued January 25, 1910

Decided February 28, 1910

216 U.S. 504


In this case, it was held that the averments set forth in the bill of fraud and perjury in ex parte proceedings before the land office were sufficient to give a court of equity jurisdiction of a suit brought by the United States to cancel a patent.

In this case, the testimony sustained the averments of the bill that the patent was obtained by fraud.

The rule that courts will not review decisions of the Land Department on questions of fact or reverse discretion properly exercised does not prevent the courts from setting aside a patent obtained by fraud upon the Department.

The presumption that a corporation is, in law, an entity distinct from its stockholders and officers cannot be carried so far as to enable the corporation to become a means of fraud, and knowledge of fraud on the part of the officers, who are also the principal stockholders and whose interests are identical, is properly to be imputed to the corporation itself.

In this case, the testimony of an agent of the General Land Office as to conversations and admissions made by the entryman, with knowledge that he was a government officer seeking the facts as to the settlement of the land, was properly admitted, as was also the report made by such officer who testified as to the facts recited therein.

When testimony is admitted, but is not followed up by other testimony necessary to give it effect, this Court will assume that the court below attributed to it no probative strength.

Page 216 U. S. 505

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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