ABRAHAM V. ORDWAY, 158 U. S. 416 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Abraham v. Ordway, 158 U.S. 416 (1895)

Abraham v. Ordway

No. 274

Submitted April 5, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 416


Independently of any limitation for the guidance of courts of law, equity, may, in the exercise of its own inherent powers, refuse relief where it is sought after undue and unexplained delay and when injustice would be clone in the particular case by granting the relief asked.

This case is peculiarly suited for the application of this principle, as the plaintiffs claim that the lands in dispute became, after the divorce of Elizabeth Abraham from Burnstine, her legal and statutory, as distinguished from her equitable, separate estate, and that the trust deed to Norris, by sale under which the defendant acquired title, was absolutely void, while it appears that nineteen years elapsed after the execution of that deed before this suit was brought, that Elizabeth Abraham was divorced from her second husband thirteen years before the institution of these proceedings, that she paid interest on the debt secured by the trust deed for about eight years without protest; that she did not pretend to have been ignorant of the sale under the trust deed, nor to have been unaware that the purchaser went into possession immediately, and continuously thereafter received the rents and profits, and on these facts, it is held that the plaintiffs and those under whom they assert title have been guilty of such laches as to have lost all right to invoke the aid of a court of equity.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 158 U. S. 417

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