Ontario Land Company v. Yordy - Supreme Court of the United States

Ontario Land Company v. Yordy

By Supreme Court of the United States

  • Release Date: 1909-02-01
  • Genre: Law
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MR. JUSTICE BREWER, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court. The contention of plaintiff in error in the state courts, as shown by the record, and also stated in the certificate of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, is that sustaining the tax proceedings, divests it of its property without due process of law, in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. At the time of those proceedings, while the land in controversy was within the limits of the Capital Addition to North Yakima, it had not been divided into lots and blocks, but was simply marked on the official plat ""reserved."" In other words, according to the record there was no such property as that described, and nothing to identify any property. There being no legal description, no official identification, no one could, by an examination of the records, know what property was the subject of the proceedings. Hence, they were void, and no one was bound to take notice of them. But land may be identified, although not technically or officially described, and the identification may be sufficient to sustain a contract, or conveyance. The owner of property is bound to take notice of the time and place provided for tax proceedings. He knows that his property is subject to taxation. The plaintiff was the owner of the entire Capital Addition to North Yakima. It was charged with notice of the fact of the platting and the condition shown by the plat. Examining the tax proceedings, it would find that four blocks not named on the plat, but within that addition, were listed and assessed for taxation. It would also know that if the tract reserved had been divided into blocks and lots and numbered in harmony with that of the balance of the addition, blocks 352, 353, 372 and 373 would occupy the place of the tract marked ""reserved."" It, therefore, had notice by the record that the authorities were listing and assessing for taxation certain blocks and lots which occupied the place marked upon the official plat as ""reserved."" It also had notice that that tract marked ""reserved"" was not otherwise listed or assessed for taxation, and that if its entire property was listed and assessed, the words ""blocks numbered 352,"" etc., were used by the authorities for describing the ""reserved"" tract. Could it ignore these facts because the description in the tax proceedings was not officially or technically correct or sufficient? But the case does not rest on this presumption. It appears from the testimony of the county treasurers that the plaintiff knew that the authorities were attempting to assess and tax this ""reserved"" tract under the description of blocks 352, etc., so that it had not merely notice from the record, but notice in fact, that the tract marked ""reserved"" was being assessed for taxation under the description of blocks 352, etc., and in no other way. The general rule in reference to description in conveyances is thus stated by Jones on Real Property, ? 323:

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