Rosewell Messinger v. Peter Anderson

Citation32 S.Ct. 739,225 U.S. 436,56 L.Ed. 1152
Decision Date07 June 1912
Docket NumberNo. 150,150
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Messrs. Harry E. King, Clayton W. Everett, and Oliver B. Snider for petitioner.

[Argument of Counsel from Pages 437-440 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Rhea P. Cary and C. H. Trimble for respondent.

[Argument of Counsel from Page 440 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court:

This is an action of ejectment for land in Toledo, Ohio brought by the respondent, Anderson. The case went three times to the circuit court of appeals, and ended in a judgment for the plaintiff. 7 L.R.A.(N.S.) 1094, 77 C. C. A. 179, 146 Fed. 929; 85 C. C. A. 468, 158 Fed. 250; 96 C. C. A. 445, 171 Fed. 785. The facts that need to be stated are these: In 1841 Charles Butler assigned an overdue mortgage of the land to Henry Anderson as security for a note of his own. He made default, Anderson brought a bill to foreclose (Butler not being served with process), got a decree, bought in, and got the sale confirmed. For the purposes of this decision it may be assumed that Anderson got the land in fee simple, subject to some question as to Butler's rights. The plaintiff below, the respondent here, claimed as remainderman under the will of Henry Anderson, who was his grandfather. The petitioner claims under a conveyance from Butler. If the plaintiff's title is bad, that is an end of the case.

In 1846 Henry Anderson, then domiciled in Mississippi, made his will and died, leaving two sons, William and James. These sons executed deeds declaring that their father, Henry, held and intended to hold the land in trust to secure the payment of Butler's note, and Butler subsequently made such payments on the same that it may be assumed that unless the plaintiff has a title that his father, James, could not affect by the above-mentioned deed, he has none. Whether he has such a title depends on the terms of Henry's will. That instrument, after creating a general trust of substantially all the testator's property, went on thus: 'Item. It is my will that when my son William arrives at the age of twenty-one years the trustees . . . shall deliver to him a settlement of the affairs of the trust, and if my debts are then paid, and as soon as that takes place, they shall put him in possession of one half of my property, reserving thereout two-fifth parts of said moiety, by valuation, which my said trustees shall hold in trust and properly invest and pay over to him at the age of twenty-five years. . . . And it is my will that my said trustees hold and invest and pay over the remaining moiety of my estate to my son James at the respective periods of twenty-one and twenty-five years of age, being governed as to the amounts to be paid at each of the respective periods by the same rules and directions as are above laid down in the bequest to William,' etc.

If these clauses were all, there would be no doubt that William and James got an absolute title when they reached the age mentioned. But a following paragraph reads: 'If either of my sons die without lineal descendants, the one surviving shall take his estate above bequeathed, and if the survivor die without lineal descendants, then' over to brothers and sisters of the testator. Later in the paragraph the testator says: 'I make the following explanation: The limitations over on the death of my surviving son without lineal descendants is intended to take effect if there be no lineal descendants living at the time of the decease of such son. Nothing in the foregoing will shall be construed as to deprive either of my sons of disposing of their portions by will on their attaining the age of twenty-one years respectively. The above limitations over shall give way to the provision of such wills.' The testator's son William died in 1850, unmarried and intestate. The other son, James, died in 1902, intestate and leaving the plaintiff his only child.

The circuit court of appeals, when this case first came up, held that James took only a life estate, and that the plaintiff got a remainder that his father could...

To continue reading

Request your trial
853 cases
  • Juniper v. Hamilton
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • March 29, 2021
    ......786, 157 L.Ed.2d 778 (2003), quoting Messenger v. Anderson , 225 U.S. 436, 444, 32 S.Ct. 739, 56 L.Ed. 1152 (1912). This indicates ......
  • In re Airport Car Rental Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 338.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • April 16, 1981
    ...... Messenger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444, 32 S.Ct. 739, 740, 56 L.Ed. 1152 (1912). The only ......
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 12, 2000
    ...the appellate court agrees on the merits with the second judge's analysis. As Justice Holmes wrote for the Court in Messinger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444, 32 S.Ct. 739, 56 L.Ed. 1152 (1912), the law of the case doctrine "merely expresses the practice of courts generally to refuse to reop......
  • Ohnmacht v. Commercial Credit Grp. Inc. (In re Ohnmacht)
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of North Carolina
    • November 3, 2017
    ...what has been decided, not a limit to their power." Id. at 816-17, 108 S. Ct. at 2177-78, 100 L. Ed.2d 811 (quoting Messinger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444, 32 S.Ct. 739, 740, 56 L.Ed. 1152 (1912)). The Fourth Circuit holds that courts should follow generally the law of the case doctrine "......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT