Baker v. Morton
, , was the first "serious" court case to come out of Omaha
, Nebraska Territory
, prior to statehood. In the trial a claim jumper
fought against local land barons
to stake out a homestead
in the area that was to become the city of Omaha. The case was important for establishing homesteaders rights and ensuring the future growth of Omaha would benefit everyone, not only wealthy landowners.
The case of Alexander H. Baker v. William S. Morton
was a case of an ill-gotten land claim. Baker was an early settler in the Omaha
area who lived on of land in an area of town then known as Orchard Hill
, which is now in North Omaha
An adjoining plot of land was owned by a man named Brown. The Omaha Claim Club did not recognize the men as legal residents for either of the plots and threatened the two men with death if they did not turn over the titles to the land. In 1857 Baker filed suit against the Club, and soon after the courts of the Nebraska Territory decided against Baker. The case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court which decided that regardless of the situation, the property was obtained under duress and was to be reinstated to the rightful owners.
Today this case is cited by legal experts as precedent in cases of contractual holdup
to establish the illegal nature of the Omaha Claim Club's activities and subsequent activities that reflect this form of collusion