Saturday, December 28, 2013

Messersmith v. Smith case brief

Messersmith v. Smith case brief summary
60 N.W.2d 276 (1953)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The lower court entered default judgment against the grantee (D).
A North Dakota district court entered judgment against the plaintiff and for the subsequent purchaser (D) under North Dakota code. 
The court found that the defendant was entitled to first record mineral deeds. 
This was because the deeds were not procured through fraud or false representation.

CASE FACTS
A grantor quit claimed real property to the plaintiff.
Subsequently, the grantor granted mineral deeds to the defendant grantee who, afterwards, transferred his interest to the defendant purchaser.
Each defendant recorded mineral rights before the plaintiff recorded the deed.
The plaintiff filed a quiet title suit.
The purchaser (D) claimed the status of bona fide purchaser without actual or constructive notice of the claim of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff responded by alleging that the original mineral deed was void because it was never acknowledged, not entitled to record, and was obtained via fraud, misrepresentation, and deceit.
The trial court entered judgement for the purchaser (D).


DISCUSSION
  • Plaintiff appealed. 
  • The Court reversed, holding the mineral deed was not entitled to be recorded in the absence of acknowledgment.  The record thereof did not constitute notice of its execution or contents under the North Dakota statute. 
  • Thus, the defendant second purchaser did not become a "subsequent purchaser in good faith, and for a valuable consideration" within meaning of the statute.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed judgment against plaintiff.
The court held that the defendant purchaser was not a "subsequent purchaser in good faith, and for a valuable consideration" within meaning of the recording statute because, in absence of proper acknowledgment, the mineral deed was not entitled to be recorded and, as a result, did not constitute notice of its execution or contents.

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