description void, for the remaining line may be determined by the lines given and if need be, the description may be aided by extrinsic evidence. 6 Thompson on Real Estate, Permanent Edition, sub-section 3275, p. 446, and cases cited.
But whatever error appeared in the description in the second deed, and whatever uncertainty existed in the description contained in the first deed, have been cured by the acts of the parties with respect to the lands conveyed. Acting on the deeds of 1830 and 1833 the grantee entered upon, occupied and used the lands without objection from the grantor, who acquiesced in that possession for more than a quarter of a century as regards the first deed and for twenty-three years as regards the second. This is itself a practical construction of the deeds by the acts of both parties to them, and in such cases the acts of the parties recognizing the premises conveyed are held by the court to make certain what otherwise might have been an uncertain or ambiguous description and the deeds will not after more than twenty years acquiescence by the grantor be declared to have been void for uncertainty. I find the deeds of 1830 and 1833 to have been valid conveyances.
It follows that the deed of 1856 was a nullity, the grantor having completely divested himself of all right and title to the premises attempted to be conveyed therein by the two earlier deeds.
It is not necessary here to explore the mind of the grantor to determine why the third deed was given. In all probability it was given to amplify the descriptions in the prior deeds and to obtain the wife's release of dower. I am satisfied that the deed of 1856 was not intended nor understood by the parties thereto to be in lieu of the earlier deeds. While satisfied of the ineffectiveness of the alleged deed of 1856 as a conveyance, it may be fruitful to consider the recitals therein as declarations and admissions by the would be grantors, indicative of the intention of the grantor in the 1830 and 1833 deeds. There seemed to be no question in their minds as to the nature and extent of the grants effected by the deeds of 1830 and 1833, as is evidenced particularly by reference to the statements in the 1856 deed that the description contained therein "embraces two tracts heretofore conveyed by the said James Searing to the party of the second part by deeds dated January 11, 1830 and March 28, 1833" and that "The above tract of land is the same now occupied by the Morris Canal".
In an opinion rendered by Judge Fake of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in a previous hearing of this matter there was discussed the question of whether the granting clause in the 1830 deed might be limited by a condition found in the habendum. Judge Fake in his opinion, reported in 31 F.Supp. 892, found that it was settled law in New Jersey that the granting clause of a deed, and not the habendum, is the standard by which the estate granted must be measured and that it is only where the granting clause is silent that resort may be had to the habendum to ascertain the intention of the grantor. With the findings of Judge Fake in the opinion referred to, this court is in accord.
There is further and compelling argument against the contention of the plaintiff in the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Graf v. City of Newark, 124 N.J.L. 312, 11 A.2d 764, 766. In that case the court held the use to which the lands in question are now devoted constituted "* * * no change in the use of the land as a public highway, that there was no reversion and that the City as successor in title to the canal company acquired a good and valid title from the State."
The habendum clauses in the deed here in question containing the limitation, and that involved in the Graf case, are almost identical. It will be seen also that the claimants in the instant case stand in a like position with the heirs in the Graf case. In the instant case as in the cited case, the plaintiffs claim under a deed given by their ancestor. Both claim on the fact that they are heirs and take by descent. The fact that in the Graf case the action was mandamus and in the instant case the action is in ejectment does not alter the legal question of reversionary rights. The form of action here is immaterial.
That this court is bound by the decisions of the courts in the state in which the controversy arises is no longer debatable. Erie Railroad Company v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S. Ct. 817, 82 L. Ed. 1188, 114 A.L.R. 1487.
There remains to be disposed of the question of whether federal jurisdiction has been completely invoked under rule 19, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A. following section 723c, which provides under subsection (a) relating to "necessary joinder" that persons possessed of a "joint interest" shall be made parties and joined on the same side as plaintiffs or defendants.
In Goldwyn, Inc., v. United Artists Corporation, 3 Cir., 113 F.2d 703, 707, the court referring to the above rule stated: "We conclude that the 'interest' referred to both in Rule 19 and the decided cases is one which must be directly affected legally by the adjudication."
In the instant case there are other persons standing in the same class with some of the plaintiffs. That is, they are heirs of James Searing, the grantor, and have interetts similar to those of the plaintiffs in an undivided portion of the lands in question.It appears that some of the other heirs of James Searing reside in New Jersey and some reside in distant states.
In the case of Board of Chosen Freeholders v. Buck, 79 N.J.Eq. 472, 82 A. 418, 421, the defendants stood in a position essentially the same as that occupied by the plaintiffs here. In the cited case, in an action brought to quiet title, the defendants under the reverter clause of a deed, claimed as heirs of one of two grantors who were equal owners as tenants in common. In an opinion written by Vice-Chancellor Leaming, the court stated as follows: "I reach the conclusion that when the county of Cumberland permanently abandoned the use of the lot in question for county offices an absolute title, as to the undivided one half thereof, vested in the heirs of John Buck, deceased, by reverter."
The claim of the plaintiffs in the present case is for their undivided portion of the land in question. An adjudication in this matter will not directly affect legally the interest of the omitted heirs or deprive them of any rights or remedies. It is my conclusion that the interest of other heirs, not made a party hereto, is not such a "joint interest" as is contemplated under rule 19(a).
As between those already parties hereto, a complete adjudication may be had upon the merits without the necessity of joining other persons not already made parties, hence they are not necessary or indispensable. Sauer v. Newhouse, D.C.N.J., 1938, 24 F.Supp. 911.
Since, therefore, persons not joined had not a "joint interest" with the plaintiffs, nor were they necessary or indispensable parties, I find that federal jurisdiction has been completely invoked.
Judgment in favor of the defendants.
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