Brief Fact Summary. The controversy was between two purchasers who paid for the same oil and gas lease. Both parties claimed rights to the land and a suit ensued to determine if the second purchaser had constructive notice of the purchase by first buyer.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An innocent subsequent purchaser without constructive notice as to the rights of an initial purchaser will have rights to the land superior to those of the initial purchaser.
Issue. Whether or not the recording of an instrument of conveyance with a general conveyance clause of all of one’s property constituted constructive notice to a subsequent purchaser.
Held. Reversed. The subsequent purchaser, Burris, did not receive constructive notice of International Tours’ rights in the land.
A single instrument, properly executed, acknowledged and delivered can convey separate tracts by specific description and can convey separate tracts by general description as well.
The purpose of a statute authorizing the recording of instruments of conveyance is to impart to a subsequent purchaser notice of instruments, which affect title to a specific tract of land in which the subsequent purchaser may consider buying.
To give the subsequent purchaser constructive notice, the instrument needs to describe the land with sufficient specificity so that the land can be identified.
Discussion. The discussion focused on whether the “Mother Hubbard” clause in the first conveyance was specific enough in description of the land affected to give notice to subsequent purchasers. A “Mother Hubbard” clause is a clause, which intends to convey specific tracts of land, but does so using very general language. The court ruled that it would recognize this clause as legally assigning such land between the grantor and grantee. However the grantee must take steps to properly record using additional documents if necessary so that other subsequent purchasers will have notice.