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McCoy v. Love

    Brief Fact Summary. An uneducated woman signed a deed in which she unknowingly gave away a large portion of land, which had been against her wishes.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Deeds obtained through fraud are voidable by the true owner.

    Facts. Mary Elliot (Plaintiff) owned 75 acres of land and could neither read nor write. B.G. Russell (Defendant) offered to buy her entire interest, but she refused. She orally agreed to sell him two of thirteen to fifteen mineral acres. Defendant prepared the deed and instead of the two acres orally agreed on, he substituted a clause, which called for a sale of one-fifth of the legal description of the 75 acres, which is 15 acres. Her daughter, who had a basic education, looked over the deed and said she guessed it was all right. Defendant conveyed a large portion of the land to another party without Plaintiff’s knowledge.

    Issue. When a grantor is fraudulently induced to convey a deed, is that deed voidable?

    Held. Yes.
    The grantor knew she was executing and delivering a deed of mineral rights. She is charged with the responsibility of knowing the legal effect of the document she signed.
    When all the essential legal requisites of a deed are present, it conveys legal title. Fraud in the inducement renders such a legally effective deed voidable.

    Discussion. When a deed is voidable by the true owner, a subsequent bona fide purchaser will be able to get good title and so keep the land.


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