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Rockafellor v. Gray

Citation. 194 Iowa 1280, 191 N.W. 107, 1922 Iowa Sup.
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Brief Fact Summary.

The Plaintiff, Gray (Plaintiff), sued to void a foreclosure sale on property he purchased. The Defendants, Hansen and Gregerson (Defendants), claim was brought on appeal to determine if a grantee who paid for the land from the foreclosure sale purchaser, could recover damages from him.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The covenant of seisin runs with the land and an action based on this covenant can be maintained by a remote grantee.


In 1907, the Plaintiff bought by warranty deed, 80 acres of land that had a $500.00 mortgage attached to it. The Plaintiff agreed to assume responsibility and pay the mortgage. Foreclosure was later instituted on the mortgage and the deed through Mr. Connolly was sold to the Defendants. Plaintiff brought suit to set aside the foreclosure sale. The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, determining the foreclosure was void. Mr. Connolly appealed the court’s finding against him concerning the breach of the covenant of seisin.


Whether or not the covenant of seisin runs with the land so that an action on it may be maintained by a remote grantee.


Affirmed, the remote grantee is entitled to the amount of consideration paid with interest.
The covenant of seisin runs with the land to a remote grantee because the rights of the remote grantee are acquired by conveyance and not by virtue of actual possession of the land.
If at the time of conveyance, the grantor does not own the land, the covenant of seisin is broken immediately and the measure of damages for breach of this is the consideration money and interest, unless the grantee can be shown to have lost less.


The court ruled that it was bound by past precedent regarding this case. The court was careful to note that the reason Defendants could sue on the covenant of seisin was because the right of action was assigned to them and did not run with the title of the land because the court found that they never did possess title.

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