Inhabitants of Monmouth v. Inhabitants of Leeds

Decision Date20 February 1884
Citation76 Me. 28
CourtMaine Supreme Court


Petition for the appointment of commissioners to ascertain and determine the line between the towns of Monmouth and Leeds.

The facts are sufficiently stated in the opinion.

Potter and Moody, for the petitioners, cited: Outhwite v Porter, 13 Mich. 533; Goudy v. Hall, 30 Ill 109; Wort v. Finley, 8 Blackf. (Ind.) 335; Webster v. Reid, 11 How. (U. S.) 437; 6 Wait's Actions and Defences, 805, 806; Freeman, Judgments, § 117; James v. Smith, 2 S.C. 183; Morris v. Halbert, 36 Tex. 19; Pen. R R. Co. v. Weeks, 52 Me. 456; Ware v. Hunnewell, 20 Me. 291; Hathaway v. Persons unknown, 32 Me. 136.

F. M. Drew, for the respondents, contended that the action of the court in the former cases on petition of Leeds v. Monmouth and of Monmouth v. Leeds, before this court in Androscoggin county, was binding upon the parties here; because it is a well settled principle of law that where a matter has been once determined by judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction between the same parties or their privies it is binding until reversed by proceedings instituted for that purpose, citing the Duchess of Kingston case, 20 Howell's St. Tr. 538; Sawyer v. Woodbury, 7 Gray 499; Walker v. Chase, 53 Me. 258.

The petitioners have had their day in court. If aggrieved at the judgment of the court dismissing their former petition, in Androscoggin county, they should have alleged exceptions. Having once chosen a legal venue they ought not to be allowed to select a new one for no better reason than that they hoped for a better result.

The record shows that in the former case but two commissioners were appointed " " by agreement between the selectmen" of the two towns. Where both parties to a cause, for the purpose of saving expense, agree upon the number and the members of a commission, surely there can be no legal objection to the constitution of the commission.

Counsel further ably argued other questions presented by the case.


A petition for the appointment of commissioners to ascertain and determine the line between the towns of Monmouth and Leeds alleged to be in dispute. The defence is that all controversy has been ended by a similar process brought to a conclusion in this court in the county of Androscoggin. The presiding justice " ruled, pro forma, that the former proceedings are valid until quashed or reversed by some proceeding in court, and upon this ground only refuses the petition." This ruling having been excepted to, presents the question before the court.

A portion of the former proceedings, as in all cases of this kind, were in court, but the most important were before the commissioners. There is no occasion to reverse them, nor is there any process known to the law by which they can be reversed. This is a statute process, and if the proceedings are in accordance with the statute provisions they are final and conclusive, and the controversy is ended. But if otherwise they are a nullity and the dispute still exists. The duty and authority of the court end with the appointment of the commissioners. The commissioners so appointed " after being sworn to the faithful discharge of their duty and after giving notice to all persons interested of the time and place of their meeting and the purpose thereof, ascertain and determine the lines in dispute. . and make duplicate returns of their doings," one to the court and one to the office of the secretary of state. This report if in accordance with the law is the final action. It neither requires, nor does the statute authorize an acceptance by the court. It may undoubtedly be recommitted or perhaps the commissioners be discharged for sufficient reasons, but its acceptance adds nothing to its force. It could not reach the copy filed in the office of the secretary of state, which is an original report equally with that returned to court. Hence there is no judgment of the court upon its validity, but the line ascertained and determined by the report itself, is by express provision of the statute, to be " deemed in every court of law and for every purpose the true dividing line between such towns." R. S., c. 3, § 43. These principles are the necessary result of the provisions of the statute and were considered and so settled in Lisbon v. Bowdoin, 53 Me. 324.

It is true that by the records of the court in Androscoggin county in the case, it appears that a subsequent petition was put in alleging that the report in the former case was irregular and unauthorized and asking that the case " be reopened and the commissioners instructed to review the line, or that new commissioners be appointed for that purpose." Whether the court had the authority to comply with this request, it is not necessary now to enquire. This petition is not referred to in the exceptions and the ruling of the court does not appear to have been affected by it, nor is it shown how it could have influenced the ruling. True, the petition was dismissed and it is now claimed that the dismissal is in effect a judgment of the court that the former proceedings were valid. What the effect would have been if...

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9 cases
  • Portland Pipe Line Corp. v. Environmental Imp. Com'n
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • June 4, 1973
    ...word 'may' appearing in the first paragraph ('may after hearing') should be construed as mandatory. See: The Inhabitants of Monmouth v. The Inhabitants of Leeds, 76 Me. 28, 31 (1884); Furbish v. County Commissioners, 93 Me. 117, 131, 44 A. 364, 368 In summary we interpret Section 551(7) as ......
  • Sheidley v. Lynch
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 4, 1888
    ...Cooley on Tax. 215; French v. Edwards, 13 Wall. 506; People v. Supervisors, 51 N.Y. 401; Dryfuss v. Bridges, 45 Miss. 247; Monmouth v. Leeds, 76 Me. 28; Fowler Perkins, 77 Ill. 271; Griffith v. Follett, 20 Barb. 633; Hudson v. Mayor, 9 N.Y. 169; People v. Connelly, 4 Abt. Prac. (N. S.) 377;......
  • Board of County Commissioners of Crook County v. Board of County Commissioners of Sheridan County
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • March 29, 1909
    ...words that the establishment of a common boundary between towns must be made pursuant to law to become binding and conclusive. (Monmouth v. Leeds, 76 Me. 28.) description of the boundary line of a county or of a state by reference to the line of another county or state is not unusual and ge......
  • O'Connell v. City of Cambridge
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • January 8, 1927
    ...Corporations and Taxation (Mass.) 153 N. E. 333;People v. Commissioners of Highways, 130 Ill. 482, 22 N. E. 596,6 L. R. A. 161;Monmouth v. Leeds, 76 Me. 28, 31; Seiple v. Borough of Elizabeth, 27 N. J. Law, 407; People v. City of Syracuse, 59 Hun, 258, 12 N. Y. S. 890, affirmed in 128 N. Y.......
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