Summary of Board of Education of Minneapolis v. Hughes, Supreme Court of MN (1912)
Parties: PL – Appellee – Board of Education
DF – appellant Hughes
Cause of action/remedy sought: The following is an equitable action to quiet title.
Procedural History: Trial court found for PL. This court reverses and orders a new trial.
Facts: 5-17-06 Hoerger execute and acknowledge a deed w/ grantee left blank for $25, and mail it to D. D fills in name just prior to recording.
4-27-09 Durea and Wilson pay Heorger $25 for a quitclaim deed to the same lot.
11-19-09 D and W (real estate dealers) execute and deliver warranty deed to PL
1-27-10 PL records
12-16-10 DF records
12-21-10 D &W record the quitclaim to them
Issue(s): Under MN property law, did the deed from Hoerger to DF become operative, and would DF be a subsequent purchaser who recorded first, under the statute?
Holding: Yes. The deed became operative when he put in his name, and he recorded before the prior purchaser. Court reversed and ordered a new trial.
Court’s Rationale/Reasoning: Even though DF was a subsequent purchaser, he recorded before D&W, prior purchaser.
Even though PL recorded first, there was no deed from grantor to PL, so PL was a stranger to the title, and this did not constitute notice to DF of the prior conveyance to D&W from the grantor.
When he received the deed from the seller, defendant had implied authority to insert his name as grantee, in the absence of evidence showing the want of such authority. Defendant’s deed then became operative. When defendant’s deed was recorded, there was a record of a deed from the real estate dealers to plaintiff, but no record showing that the real estate dealers had any title to convey. This was not notice to defendant of the prior unrecorded conveyance by his grantor. He was a subsequent purchaser in good faith for a valuable consideration, and he was thus protected by the recording of his deed before the prior deed was recorded.
Rule: A deed that does not name a grantee is a nullity, and wholly inoperative as a conveyance, until the name of the grantee is legally inserted. Grantees should insert names and record immediately.
In case of the execution of a sealed instrument, complete in all respects save that the blank for the name of the grantee is not filled in, the grantee may insert his name in the blank space, provided he has authority from the grantor to do so, and further, that this authority may be in parol, and may be implied from circumstances. (this is considered the better rule for purposes of equity
Did court avoid issues?: No.