The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, District Judge.
The question before the Court is whether the intervenor,
Alfred Featherston, should be permitted to intervene in the
instant case, and his right to intervene will be determined
largely from the record in the case.
The record in the instant case discloses the following facts:
On May 30, 1932, Ed B. Mooney and Fannie L. Mooney, his wife,
entered into a written agreement to sell certain lands owned by
them to the United States, including "Tract 373o T 4 S, R 27 W,
S 20, S1/2 SE, 80 acres at $2.75 per acre".
On October 10, 1933, the United States filed a petition in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas, Western Division, alleging among other things that it
had entered into an agreement of purchase with Ed B. Mooney and
Fannie L. Mooney, his wife, the apparent and presumptive owners
of "Tract 373o, T 4 S, R 27 W, Sec. 20, S1/2SE, 80 acres", but
that the United States had some doubt as to the title to the
lands, and in order to obtain perfect title it was necessary for
the United States to condemn the lands. The United States prayed
for a judgment condemning the land upon payment of just
compensation to the owners.
The action brought by the United States was styled "United
States of America v. 706.98 acres of land in Montgomery County,
Arkansas, Black Springs Lumber Company, et al., Civil Action
No. 7836, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division".
Attached to the petition for condemnation was a copy of the
purchase agreement between the Mooneys and the United States and
a plat of Tract 373o showing it to be the S1/2 of the SE1/4 of
Section 20, Township 4 South, Range 27 West, in Montgomery
County. The tract is also referred to on page 22-b of the
petition as "S1/2 SE1/4 of Sec. 20, T 4 S, R 27 W", and on page
25 of the petition the tract is again referred to as "S1/2 SE1/4
of Sec. 20, T 4 S, R 27 W".
On December 5, 1933, Ed B. Mooney and wife filed a petition
alleging ownership of "Tract 373o, T 4 S, R 27 W, S1/2SE S 20, 80
acres", and praying distribution of the money in the registry of
The condemnation suit was duly prosecuted, and on April 12,
1934, the jury returned a verdict finding just compensation to
be $220 ($2.75 per acre for 80 acres) for the Ed B. Mooney
Tract No. 373o. On July 11, 1934, the Court entered an order
reciting payment by the United States in the registry of the
court of the just compensation and ordering that all right,
title, and interest of the defendants be divested and that an
indefeasible and unencumbered title in fee simple be vested in
the United States.
On April 27, 1934, the Court entered a judgment reciting the
verdict of the jury and reciting that Ed B. Mooney and Fannie
L. Mooney are "the owners of the fee simple title in and to the
following described lands situate in Montgomery County, in the
State of Arkansas, to-wit: * * * S1/2SE1/4, Section 20, Township
4 South, Range 26 West". (Emphasis added.) The judgment divests
the title out of the Mooneys and vests title in fee simple in the
On June 26, 1956, the case was transferred from the Eastern
District of Arkansas, Western Division, to the Western District
of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division. (This change was made
because Montgomery County, which had formerly been located in
the Eastern District of Arkansas, was changed to the Western
District of Arkansas.)
Upon being transferred, the case retained the same style but
was assigned No. 675 in the Western District of Arkansas, Hot
Springs Division. Thus, the action now before the Court is the
same one that was filed by the United States on October 10,
1933, and it merely has a new number by reason of the transfer
from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, to the
Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division.
On July 13, 1956, the Court, "upon motion of the United
States of America, and from the pleadings, process, jury
verdict, judgment, and record in the above-entitled cause"
found that Tract 373o was located in Range 27 West; that fee
simple title in said tract was divested out of Ed B. Mooney and
Fannie L. Mooney and vested absolutely in the United States in
the condemnation proceeding; and that the United States was
entitled under Rule 60, F.R.C.P., to correction of the clerical
mistake. The Court ordered the clerical mistake corrected to
properly describe the tract as being in Range 27 West.
On July 1, 1957, the intervenor, Alfred Featherston, filed
his "Intervention and Motion to Set Aside Judgment". Among
other things, the intervenor alleges that on July 31, 1954, he
obtained a quitclaim deed from Ed B. Mooney, an unmarried
person, to "S1/2SE1/4, Sec. 20, Twp. 4 S.R. 27 West, containing
80 acres, more or less", and that said deed was filed of record
September 10, 1954, and duly recorded in the Deed Records of
Montgomery County, Arkansas. He alleges he is an innocent
purchaser for value of said lands, which are wild and unimproved,
and that he has paid all taxes on said lands for the past three
years. He alleges that he bought such lands "after making a
thorough search ...