Civil Procedure Keyed to Yeazell
Durfee v. Duke
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The Petitioners, Durfee and others (Petitioners) brought an action against the Respondent (Duke) in a Nebraska court to quiet title to certain land situated on the Missouri river. The Nebraska court had jurisdiction over the subject matter only if the land in question was in Nebraska. The river forms the boundary between Nebraska and Missouri, whether the land was in Nebraska depended entirely upon a factual question – whether a shift in the river’s course had been caused by avulsion or accretion. After a hearing, the court found in favor of Petitioners. The Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed the judgment, finding that the land in question was in Nebraska and that Nebraska courts therefore had subject matter jurisdiction over the land. Two months later Respondent filed suit in a Missouri court to quiet title to the same land. The suit was removed to federal district court on diversity grounds. Although the district court found the land to be in Missouri, it also found that it was bound by the judgment of the Nebraska Supreme Court under res judicata. The court of appeals reversed holding that the district court was not required to give full faith and credit to the Nebraska judgment. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) granted certiorari.
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