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DUNCAN TOWNSITE CO. V. LANE, 245 U. S. 308 (1917)

U.S. Supreme Court

Duncan Townsite Co. v. Lane, 245 U.S. 308 (1917)

Duncan Townsite Co. v. Lane

No. 51

Argued November 15, 1917

Decided December 10, 1917

245 U.S. 308


An allotment certificate issued under the Choctaw-Chickasaw agreement of July I, 1902, c. 1362, 32 Stat. 641, passes the equitable title only; the legal title remains in the United States until conveyed by patent, duly recorded, as provided by § 5 of the Act of April 26, 1906, c. 1876, 34 Stat. 137, and the allotment in the meantime is subject to be set aside, by the Secretary of the Interior, for fraudulent procurement.

The doctrine of bona fide purchase will not aid the holder of an equity to overcome the holder of both the legal title and an equity.

Mandamus is a discretionary remedy, largely controlled by equitable principles; it will not be granted to promote a wrong -- to direct an act which will work public or private mischief, or which, while within

Page 245 U. S. 309

the letter, disregard the spirit of the law. So held where the relator, purchaser in good faith and without notice of a fraudulent Indian allotment, sought to get in the legal title as against the United States by compelling the Secretary of the Interior to issue and record a patent.

44 App.D.C. 63 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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