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Eastwood v. Shedd

    Brief Fact Summary. In this case, Cleo Alexander (Alexander) on December 2, 1958, made a gift of property to the Defendant, Shedd (Defendant), who did not record the deed until October 16, 1964. On October 15, 1963, Alexander gift deeded the same property to the Plaintiff, Eastwood (Plaintiff), who recorded her deed on October 23, 1963. The Plaintiff had no actual nor constructive knowledge of the deed to the Defendant until the deed to the Defendant was recorded a year after the Plaintiff recorded her deed. The Plaintiff brought suit against the Defendant to quiet title to the property and was successful at the trial court level, from which decree the Defendant appealed.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Colorado act required all deeds to be recorded and provided that no deed should have any effect, except between parties, until the deed was recorded. This protection is against all classes of persons with any rights claimed.

    Facts. In this case, Alexander, on December 2, 1958, made a gift of property to the Defendant, who did not record the deed until October 16, 1964. On October 15, 1963, Alexander gift deeded the same property to the Plaintiff, who recorded her deed on October 23, 1963. The Plaintiff had no actual nor constructive knowledge of the deed to the Defendant until the deed to the Defendant was recorded a year after the Plaintiff recorded her deed. The Plaintiff brought suit against the Defendant to quiet title to the property and was successful at the trial court level, from which decree the Defendant appealed.

    Issue. The Court stated the issue as, “Is the donee of real property, who has duly recorded the instrument of conveyance, entitled to the protection of the provisions of C.R.S. 1963, 118-6-9, of the Colorado Conveyancing and Recording Act?”

    Held. Yes. Judgment affirmed.
    The Colorado act required all deeds to be recorded and provided that no deed should have any effect, except between parties, until the deed was recorded. This protection is against all classes of persons with any rights claimed.
    The Defendant pointed out that 39 states have recording acts, which protect only bona fide purchasers for value and without notice. In other words, in those states, an unrecorded deed is invalid only against the claims of a bona fide purchaser for value without notice.
    The trial court found, and this Court agreed, that Colorado has a “race-notice statute,” which gives priority to a second grantee only if he takes the instrument without notice of the prior conveyance and gets his instrument recorded ahead of the prior instrument. Thus, the Plaintiff (the second grantee) who took her deed without notice of the prior conveyance and then recorded ahead of the prior deed, was entitled to the protection of the recording statute.
    The Colorado statute is one of a kind with regard to its protection of “any class of persons with any kind of rights” and the fact that the legislature worded the statute in that manner is to be given legal effect.

    Discussion. Obviously, from the Court’s opinion, this case would possibly have been decided differently almost anywhere else. This statute seems to be a pure “race-notice statute” in that the first to record takes the property. As stated in prior cases, it is good practice to record a deed within a reasonable time of the delivery of the deed.


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