Marcus Neff

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Marcus Neff (1826 - February 20, 1896) was the respondent in the United States Supreme Court case Pennoyer v. Neff. Neff was one of the early settlers of the US state of Oregon, having traveled there from Iowa in early 1848. Neff subsequently claimed a parcel of land in Oregon under the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. In 1862, Neff transacted some business with a local attorney by the name of John H. Mitchell, possibly in connection with his American land patent. On November 3, 1865, Mitchell brought action against Neff for failure to pay legal fees and won. The court had Neff's land sold at sheriff's auction to pay the less than $300 Mitchell was owed. Mitchell also bought the land in question at the auction, assigning it later to Sylvester Pennoyer.[1] Neff then sued Pennoyer over the land. Neff prevailed in the trial court and Pennoyer subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in an opinion authored by Justice Stephen J. Field upheld the lower court's judgment on the case, but on different grounds.


  • Jack H. Friedenthal, Arthur R. Miller, John E. Sexton and Helen Hershkoff, Civil Procedure: Cases and Materials, Ninth Edition (St. Paul: Thomson/West, 2005).

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