Bicknell v. Comstock

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Bicknell v. Comstock
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Submitted January 8, 1885
Decided January 19, 1885
Full case name Bicknell v. Comstock
Citations 113 U.S. 149 (more)
Court membership
Chief Justice
Morrison Waite
Associate Justices
Samuel F. Miller · Stephen J. Field
Joseph P. Bradley · John M. Harlan
William B. Woods · T. Stanley Matthews
Horace Gray · Samuel Blatchford
Case opinions
Majority Miller, joined by unanimous

Bicknell v. Comstock, 113 U.S. 149 (1885), was an action to recover the cost paid for a tract of land in Iowa and the value of the improvements made by the defendant. The complaint alleged a conveyance by Bicknell to one Bennett, the subsequent transfer to the defendant by sundry mesne conveyances, valuable improvements on the premises made by Bennett and his grantees, and a failure of title in Bicknell when the deed was made by reason of a superior title in the State of Iowa under a land grant. Judgment below for plaintiff, to reverse which this writ of error was brought.[1]

The mutilation (without the consent and against the protest of the grantee) of a patent for public land by the Commissioner of the Land Office, after its execution and transmission to the grantee, and the like mutilation of the record thereof, do not affect the validity of the patent. A state statute of limitations as to real actions begins to run in favor of a claimant under a patent from the United States on the issue of the patent and its transmission to the grantee.

The lapse of time provided by a statute of limitations as to real actions vests a perfect title in the holder.

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