Brief Fact Summary. Both Plaintiffs and Defendants claimed title to the property in controversy. Both received title originating from the same individual.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A deed in the chain of title, discovered by the investigator, is constructive notice of all other deeds, which were referred to in the deed discovered.
In 1922, Susan Harper conveyed to Maude Harper by deed a farm for life. The remainder interest was to go to Maude’s named children, the Plaintiffs (Plaintiffs). This deed was lost for over thirty years, until 1957 when it was found and recorded. However in 1928, because the Plaintiffs could not find the deed, they executed another instrument which was recorded in 1928 stating that although they could not find the first 1922 deed, this deed conveyed the land to Maude. In 1933 Maude used the land in question to secure a loan from Thornton. When the loan went into default, Thornton foreclosed in 1936. There is an unbroken chain of title to the property from Thornton, which ends with the Defendants, the Paradise’s (Defendants) as owners. Plaintiffs sued to quiet title. The trial court found for the Defendants and the Plaintiffs appealed.
Issue. Whether the Defendants were on constructive notice as to the rights of the Plaintiffs.
Held. Reversed. Defendants were on constructive notice that another missing deed existed and had a duty to inquire of the interests in the missing deed.
It was incumbent upon the Defendants to ascertain through diligent inquiry the contents of the earlier misplaced deed and the interests conveyed therein.
A deed in the chain of title discovered by the investigator, is constructive notice of all other deeds which were referred to in the deed discovered.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
Thus it will be presumed that due inquiry would have disclosed the existent facts. View Full Point of Law
The court found for the Plaintiffs because the Defendants had constructive notice of another party that may have had an interest in the land. Since the deed from which their interest originated mentioned there had been a lost deed, they were now under a duty to inquire as to the interests in the lost deed. Because they did not, the court found for the Plaintiffs.