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Los Angeles Farming & Milling Co. v. Los Angeles, 217 U.S. 217 (1910)

Los Angeles Farming & Milling Company v. Los Angeles

No. 137

Argued March 10, 11, 1910

Decided April 4, 1910

217 U.S. 217


In this case, both parties claim under Spanish or Mexican titles, confirmed by proceedings under the Act of March 3, 1851, c. 41, 9 Stat. 631. The federal rights alleged by plaintiff in error to have been violated by the decision of the state court, so far as concerns this act, relate to the extent of the right and ownership of the parties in the use of the Los Angeles River. Plaintiff in error contended that, by its grant, it became the owner of riparian rights without limitations by any right of the City of Los Angeles to use the water of the river, and that the city, by failing to present its claim for the use of such water to the commission under the Act of 1851, is foreclosed from now asserting them. The state court held that the City of Los Angeles had the exclusive right to the water of the Los Angeles

Page 217 U. S. 218

River from its source to the most southern part of the city. In dismissing a writ of error to review the judgment of the state court held that:

The Act of 1851 was a confirmatory act, and not one granting titles; that, by its terms, it did not originate titles nor make the patents to be issued in pursuance of decisions of the commission conclusive except upon the United States.

The extent of riparian rights belonging to pueblos or persons receiving patents of the United States in pursuance of the decisions of the commission under the Act of March 3, 1851, are matters of local or general law.

The decision of the state court in this case was put upon the effect of the old Spanish or Mexican law as to the rights of the original pueblo of Los Angeles succeeded to by the present city and such rights were merely confirmed and not originated by proceedings under acts of Congress, and therefore, as no rights existing under an authority of the United States were denied, this Court has no jurisdiction to review the judgment under § 709, Rev.Stat.

Writ of error to review 152 Cal. 645 dismissed.

The facts, which involve the title of the City of Los Angeles to the waters of the Los Angeles River and to the use thereof, are stated in the opinion.

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