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United States v. Ryan

    Brief Fact Summary. In this case, the Plaintiff, the United States (Plaintiff), filed suit to establish and enforce certain liens and claims, for the foreclosure thereof and to obtain a judgment from the Court that the Defendants, Piltz and Engdahl (Defendants), purchased the real estate subject to the lien claimed by the Plaintiff. The Defendants claimed that the Plaintiff did not take proper steps, under the Torrens System of land registration in Minnesota, to perfect a lien as required by law. The Plaintiff contended that the filing of a notice of tax lien, by name only, in the office of the registrar of deeds was sufficient to create a lien against property registered under the Torrens System.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The basic principle of the Torrens Law is the registration of the title to the land, instead of registering, as under the old system, the evidence of such title. [In Re Bickel, 301 Ill. 484].

    Facts. In this case the Plaintiff filed suit to establish and enforce certain liens and claims, for the foreclosure thereof and to obtain a judgment from the Court that the Defendants purchased the real estate subject to the lien claimed by Plaintiff. The Defendants claimed that the Plaintiff did not take proper steps, under the Torrens System of land registration in Minnesota, to perfect a lien as required by law. Plaintiff contended that the filing of a notice of tax lien, by name only, in the office of the registrar of deeds was sufficient to create a lien against property registered under the Torrens System.

    Issue. Was the lien filed by name only sufficient to create a lien against property under the Torrens System of land registration?

    Held. No. The Defendants are entitled to a summary judgment of dismissal and the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is denied.
    The registration of the title to the property results in the transferring of a title from the recording act system to the certificate system, under the Torrens Law, by a judicial proceeding in the nature of a suit to quiet title against all persons, both known and unknown, who could by any possibility assert and adverse interest. The original registration, and all subsequent involuntary transfers of title, is accomplished by obtaining a decree of the Court followed by the issuance of a certificate of title thereunder.
    The basic principle of the Torrens Law is the registration of the title to the land, instead of registering, as under the old system, the evidence of such title. [In Re Bickel, 301 Ill. 484].
    The purpose of the Torrens System is to establish an indefeasible title free from any and all rights or claims not registered with the registrar of titles, with exceptions not discussed by this Court, to the end that anyone may deal with such property with the assurance that the only rights or claims of which he need take notice are those registered.
    The statute of the jurisdiction provides for a method of filing of liens and states that the lien is invalid without proper notice. The only exception to the law requiring the notice of liens to be filed are those liens or claims arising under the laws or the United States Constitution (Constitution), which the state cannot require to appear of record. However, the Supreme Court here found the exception to not apply to the type of lien sought by Plaintiff.
    The Court found that the Plaintiff did not follow the proper procedure to have the lien noticed. Thus, the lien was found to not apply.

    Discussion. The Court discussed the Plaintiff’s contention that the Torrens Law requires too much of the government in establishing a lien. The Plaintiff argued that all the State of Minnesota could do was direct the United States in where to file its lien, it could not require the Plaintiff to do more than that. The decision here, it should be noted, was reversed by the circuit court.


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