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St. Paul Title Insurance v. Owens Case Brief

Summary of St. Paul Title Insurance (subrogee of GECC Financial) v. Owens, S. Ct.  Alabama 1984

Facts: Albert Owen executed a warranty deed purporting to convey certain property to his brother and sister in law.  That deed was a warranty deed with express convenants in fee simple.  His brother in turn conveyed the same property to Dennis Carlisle.  Dennis then mortgaged the property to GECC Financial for $17,671.

Issue: Whether original grantor or subsequent grantor is liable for breach of covenants under a statutory deed?

How to assess damages for breach of covenants?

Holding: Yes and Either consideration paid by the grantee bringing suit to his immediate grantor or consideration paid by to original grantor.

Procedure: Trial ct. non-jury, entered judgment for Def.  Pl, GECC appealed.  Reversed and Remanded(damages).

Rule: A covenant of title runs with the land, all grantors, back to and including the original grantor-covenantor, become liable upon a breach of the covenant to the assignee or grantee in possession.  Neither is breached until there is an eviction.

Ct. Rationale:   Quiet enjoyment and warranty are virtually identical in operation, whatever constitutes a breach in one is a breach of the other.  The necessary eviction can be either actual or constructive.  The foreclosure judgment was adverse to the title of Carlisle by GECC. Albert Owen’s warranty deed ran with the land as conveyed.

PL A: (GECC) The original deed, as written, was a statutory warranty deed.

Def A: (Owens) Defendants had no interest in the property, and did nothing to affect the title, or breach any of the covenants contained in the statutory warranty deed given to Carlisle.

In futuro – in the future



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