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Supreme Court of the United States
April 27, 1998, Argued ; June 8, 1998, Decided
[*39] [**1864] [***36] CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.
In 1979, the United States brought a quiet title action (the Adams litigation) in the Southern District of Mississippi against respondents and nearly 200 other defendants. On the eve of trial, the Government and the respondents entered into a settlement whereby title to the disputed land was quieted in favor of the United States in return for a payment of $ 208,175.87. Judgment was entered based on this settlement agreement. In 1994, some 12 years after that judgment, respondents sued in the District Court to set aside the settlement agreement and obtain a damage award for the disputed land. Their claims for relief were based on the [*40] Court's ancillary jurisdiction, relating back to the Adams litigation, and on the Quiet Title Act (QTA). 28 U.S.C. § 2409a. We hold that respondents were not entitled to relief on either of these grounds.
The land in dispute between the [****5] United States and respondents is located on Horn Island. Situated in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 13 miles southwest of Pascagoula, Horn Island is currently within the state of Mississippi. It was, at various times during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, controlled by France, Britain, and Spain. It is part of the territory that came under the control of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1950, Clark Beggerly, respondents' predecessor-in-interest, purchased color of title to two tracts of land on Horn Island at a tax sale in Jackson County. Beggerly paid $ 51.20 for one 626-acre tract. He and a friend also purchased a second tract for $ 31.25. Beggerly retained 103 acres upon a later division of this second tract.
In 1971, Congress enacted legislation authorizing the Department of the Interior to create the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a federal park on lands that include Horn Island. 16 U.S.C. § 459h. The legislation authorized the Secretary of the Interior to acquire privately owned lands within the proposed park's boundaries. § 459h-1. The National Park Service (NPS) began negotiating with respondents to purchase the land. Before [****6] any deal could be completed, however, the NPS learned that the United States Government had never patented the property. Believing that this meant that respondents could not have had clear title, the NPS backed out of the proposed deal.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
524 U.S. 38 *; 118 S. Ct. 1862 **; 141 L. Ed. 2d 32 ***; 1998 U.S. LEXIS 3734 ****; 66 U.S.L.W. 4436; 98 Cal. Daily Op. Service 4315; 98 Daily Journal DAR 5953; 28 ELR 21290; 40 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 756; 1998 Colo. J. C.A.R. 2951; 11 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 604
UNITED STATES v. CHRIS W. BEGGERLY, ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 114 F.3d 484, reversed and remanded.
independent action, equitable tolling, statute of limitations, settlement agreement, respondents'
Civil Procedure, Pleadings, Time Limitations, General Overview, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, Independent Actions, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Preclusion of Judgments, Res Judicata, Statute of Limitations, Tolling of Statute of Limitations, Governments, Legislation, Time Limitations, Real Property Law, Title Quality, Adverse Claim Actions, Quiet Title Act, Federal Government, Property, Extensions & Revivals, Tolling, Quiet Title Actions