Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiffs filed suit to quiet title to land they bought from real estate brokers. The real estate brokers acquired land after the Defendant and recorded the deed after the Defendant. However, by the time the real estate brokers had recorded, they had already conveyed title to Plaintiff, who had recorded their deed after the Defendant.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. It was necessary not only that the deed to the Plaintiff be recorded, but that the deed to Plaintiff’s grantor should first be recorded.
It is settled that a deed that does not name a grantee is a nullity, and wholly inoperative as a conveyance, until the name of the grantee is legally inserted.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The court addressed the following issues:
Did the deed from the Hoergers to the Defendant become operative?
If so, is the Defendant a subsequent purchaser whose deed was first duly recorded?
Held. Reversed. Defendant was the subsequent purchaser in good faith and is protected by the recording of his deed before the prior deed was recorded.
A deed that does not name a grantee is a nullity and wholly inoperative as a conveyance until the name of the grantee is legally inserted. Therefore, Defendant’s deed was legally inoperative until his name was inserted.
When the grantor receives and retains the consideration for the property and delivers the deed to the purchaser, authority to insert one’s own name as the grantee is presumed.
The deed of the first grantee must be recorded before the deed to a subsequent grantee is recorded.
Discussion. The discussion focused on two separate lines of analysis:
First, that the Defendant was given implied authority to insert the name of the grantee to this deed, thus giving him a legally operative document.
Second, that the real estate brokers should have recorded their deed to the lot prior to conveying the lot to the Plaintiffs. Because they failed to do this, the chain of title was flawed and although the Defendant had purchased the land first, under the recording laws, the Defendant became the subsequent purchaser for value and was protected by the recording laws.