This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
- Claimant under quitclaim deed. In a very considerable number of jurisdictions it has been decided that the grantee under a "quitclaim deed" is entitled, to the same extent as the grantee in any other conveyance, to the protection of the recording laws as against a prior unrecorded conveyance.14 These decisions are usually in terms based upon the broad and inclusive language of the recording laws and sometimes upon the
14. Henry Wrape Co. v. Cox, 122 Ark. 445, 183 S. W. 955; Frey v. Clifford, 44 Cal. 335; Kelsey v. Norris, 53 Colo. 306, 125
Pac. 1ll; Marshall v. Pierce, 13 Ga. 543, 71 S. E. 893; Reed v. Mcconnell, 5 111. 117; Smith v. Mcclaiu, 146 Ind. 77, 45 N. E. 41; fact that what is ordinarily known as a quitclaim deed, that is, a deed which in terms conveys only the grantor's right title and interest in certain property, without covenants of title, does not, in that jurisdiction, differ in its nature and operation from one in terms conveying the property itself.15 In some states, however, a different view has been adopted, that a purchaser under a quitclaim deed cannot claim as a bona fide purchaser for value, as against a prior unrecorded deed, or at least that he is put on inquiry, by the form of the conveyance, as to possible defects in his grantor's title.16 In support of this view two reasons have been given. One is that the fact that the vendor offers a conveyance in this form is sufficient to raise a suspicion in the mind of the purchaser that the title is defective. As to this, however, it may well happen that the vendor prefers this form with an absence of covenants for title, merely
Eger v. Brown, 77 Kan. 510, 15 L. R. A. (N. S.) 459, 94 Pac. 803; Williams v. White Castle Lumber & Shingle Co., 114 La. 448, 38 So. 414; Dow v. Whitney, 147 Mass. 1, 16 N. E. 722; Fox v. Hall, 74 Mo. 315, 41 Am. Rep. 316; Schlott v. Dosh, 49 Neb. 187, 59 Am. St. Rep. 531, 68 N. W. 386; Brophy Min. Co. v. Mining Co., 15 Nev. 101; Wilhelm v. Wil-ken, 149 N. Y. 447, 52 Am. St. Rep. 743, 32 L. R. A. 370, 44 N. E. 82; Morris v. Daniels, 35 Ohio St. 406; Babcock v. Wells, 25 R. I. 23, 105 Am. St. Rep. 848, 54 Atl. 596; Shutz v. Tidrick, 26 S. D. 505, 128 N. W. 811; Campbell v. Home Ice & Coal Co., 126 Tenn. 524, 150 S. W. 427; Cutler v. James, 64 Wis. 178, 54 Am. Rep. 606, 24 N. W. 874; Eyanson v. Waidlich, 57 Wash. 234, 106 Pac. 746; Ellison v. Torpin, 44 W. Va. 414, 30 S. E. 183; Olmstead v. Mccrory, 158 Wis. 323, 148 N.
W. 87; Moelle v. Sherwood. 148 U. S. 21, 37 L. Ed. 350; United States v. California & O. Land Co., 148 U. S. 31, 37 L. Ed. 354; Boynton v. Haggart, 57 C. C. A. 301, 120 Fed. 819.
That a sheriff's conveyance of "all the right, title, and interest" of the execution debtor in certain described land is effective as against a prior unrecorded conveyance by the debtor, see Woodward v. Sartwell, 129 Mass. 210, and Parker v. Prescott, 87 Me. 444, 32 Atl. 1001.
15. See cases cited post, this section, note 21.
16. Wood v. Holly Mfg. Co., 100 Ala. 326, 46 Am. St. Rep. 56, 13 So. 948; Townley v. Corona Coal & Iron Co., - Ala. - , 77 So. 1; Snow v. Lake, 20 Fla. 656. 51 Am. St. Rep. 625; Steel v. Sioux Val. Bank, 79 Towa, 339, 7 L. R. A. 524, 18 Am. St. Rep. 370, 44 N. W. 564; Hannen v. Sciden2 R. P. - 64 because he knows nothing about the title, or because, though believing the title good, he prefers not to assume any responsibility, and it seems hardly proper to say that this preference on the vendor's part is calculated to raise a suspicion on the purchaser's part of a defect in the title.17 Indeed, as has been forcibly suggested by an able writer, the fact that a purchaser accepts a quitclaim deed without covenants of title, tends to indicate his confidence in the title, while his insistence on such covenants might well indicate the contrary.18 It is, moreover, very questionable whether the fact that the grantee in a conveyance has reason to suspect that the grantor has doubts as to the validity of the title should of itself preclude him from claiming as a bona fide purchaser for value, he having no clue by the aid of which to determine the propriety of the grantor's doubts.
The other reason given for the view that a "quitclaim deed" does not take priority of a prior unrecorded conveyance, is that by a quitclaim deed one undertakes to convey only his right or interest in the property, whatever that may be, and that it consequently passes only such interest as may remain to him after the execution of the first conveyance, and can pass no interest as against this latter, although this is not retopf, 113 Iowa, 658, 86 N. W. 44; Lasley v. Stout, 90 Kan. 712, 136 Pac. 249; Reed v. Knights, 87 Me. 181. 32 Atl. 870; Peters v. Cartier, 80 Mich. 124, 20 Am. St. Rep. 508, 45 N. W. 73; Backus v. Cowley, 162 Mich. 585, 127 N. W. 775; Mcadow v. Black, 6 Mont. 601, 13 Pac. 377; Wetzstein v. Largey, 27 Mont. 212, 70 Pac. 717; Muller x. Mccann, 50 Okla. 710, 151 Pac. 621; Fowler v. Will, 19 S. D. 131, 117 Am. St. Rep. 938, 8 Ann. Cas. 1093, 102 N. W. 598; Garrett v. Christopher,
Corded. The soundness of this reason for the view indicated appears to be beyond question, provided it be conceded that the deed was intended, not as a conveyance of the property as such, but as a disposition, merely of what interest the grantor had therein, subject, as it were, to any prior conveyance made by him or another in the chain of title. If a conveyance is to be construed as equivalent to a conveyance of "such interest as I may now have" or of "such interest as I have not disposed of,"19 the grantee therein cannot well claim any interest which has been previously disposed of by the grantor, whether the previous conveyance was or was not recorded, and if the previous conveyance disposed of all the grantor's interest, the later conveyance would be nugatory. Whether a conveyance in the form of a quitclaim deed is thus to be limited in its operation is a question, it seems, of the intention of the parties thereto, to be determined by a construction of the language used with reference to the circumstances of its execution, including the usage of the community as to the employment of such deeds. This view has been clearly expressed in occasional decisions.20