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YAZOO AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD COMPANY v. BREWER

December 1, 1913

YAZOO AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD COMPANY
v.
BREWER



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Lurton, Hughes, Van Devanter, Lamar, Pitney

Author: Day

[ 231 U.S. Page 245]

 MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a suit by Mrs. Annie E. Brewer as plaintiff, now defendant in error, brought in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans in the State of Louisiana against

[ 231 U.S. Page 246]

     the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company, one of the plaintiffs in error, to establish title to a certain portion of the square of ground known as square No. 150 in the city of New Orleans. The District Court decided the case in favor of Mrs. Brewer and the judgment was affirmed upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Louisiana (Brewer v. Yazoo & M.V.R. Co., 128 Louisiana, 544) and the case is brought here.

Both parties claim title under one Henry Parish, who, in 1848, appears to have been the owner of the land. He died in New York, and on December 17, 1857, his will was there admitted to probate. By the will, the square in controversy passed to Peter Conrey in trust for the benefit of one Henry Parish Conrey, with directions that it should be conveyed to him. In December, 1859, Henry Parish Conrey died and his succession was opened in the Second District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Inventory was taken, including the property now in question, and on June 9, 1860, James Grimshaw, as administrator, executed a notarial act conveying the property to George Brewer. On December 28, 1875, George Brewer was adjudged a bankrupt and on January 15, 1876, his estate, real and personal, was conveyed to Charles H. Reed, as assignee, who on November 23, 1876, by order of court conveyed the property to Mrs. Annie E. Brewer, plaintiff below. This is the title upon which Mrs. Brewer relied.

The defendants claimed title from the fact that Daniel Parish on April 11, 1868, appearing as a resident of the State of New York, presented a petition to the Second District Court of the Parish of Orleans, alleging that the will of Henry Parish had been admitted to probate in that State and that he had qualified as one of the executors, and submitted an exemplified copy of the will and of the proceedings and prayed that the will be executed, which was accordingly done. The executor under an order of sale

[ 231 U.S. Page 247]

     on April 25, 1871, conveyed the property in question to H. C. Boucher. On January 15, 1872, Boucher sold to George W. Babcock, and on September 8, 1896, the widow and heirs of Babcock sold to Benjamin Recurt, and on March 31, 1897, Recurt sold to William Laferriere, Etienne Gele and Jean Marie Gele, and these last named on November 22, 1898, sold a portion of square 150 to the Railroad Company.

For reasons dependent upon the law of the State, which we need not now recite, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held that the property had vested in Henry Parish Conrey and that subsequently by the various means stated had passed to the present defendant in error, plaintiff below. It also held that the title of the Railroad Company was fatally defective for reasons resting upon state law, which are set forth in the opinion.

It is contended by the plaintiff in error that the record presents a question decided in the Supreme Court of the State in such manner as to deny rights asserted in that court under a statute of the United States. This contention rests upon the prescription claimed by Laferriere and the Geles, warrantors of the Railroad Company (the various warrantors in title having been made parties to the suit), which is said to arise under ยง 5057 of the Revised Statutes of the United States which reads as follows:

"No suit, either at law or in equity, shall be maintainable in any court between an assignee in bankruptcy and a person claiming an adverse interest, touching any property or rights of property transferable to or vested in such assignee, unless brought within two years from the time when the cause of action accrued for or against such assignee. And this provision ...


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