4. Chain of Title Problems
a. Definition of Chain of Title – the recorded sequence of transaction by which title has passed from a sovereign to the present claimant
i. Definition varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but it generally refers to the recorded documents that give constructive notice to a subsequent purchaser.
b. Effect of Deed that does not show up in the Chain of Title (Wild Deed)
i. Definition – a recorded deed that does not show up in the chain of title because it is recorded either early or late and therefore may not count as recorded and may not serve as constructive notice
ii. Example of Wild Deed – Wild Deed occurs when the owner of property (O) sells to a subsequent purchaser (A) and the subsequent purchaser does not record. Later, O sells to a second subsequent purchaser (B) who does record. If the A then sells to another subsequent purchaser (D) who records, a subsequent purchaser (E) to D will have no way to find the unrecorded deed of B and therefore will not have constructive notice.
O ? A not recorded
O ? B B records, with knowledge of A
B ? C C records, no knowledge of OA
A ? D D records, no knowledge of BC
Note about this example
• In relation to the OB deed, A is a late recorded wild deed
o In literal interpretation of a race-notice statute, the OB deed would not be valid because B had actual but not constructive notice by virtue of A not recording
o In a literal interpretation of a notice statute, A would defeat B’s claim because B had notice
• In relation to the OA deed, B is an early recorded wild deed
• In relation to the BC Deed, OA is a late recorded wild deed
• In relation to the AD Deed, OB is an early recorded wild deed
iii. Split of Authority on the effect of the Wild Deed that occurs when a prior deed is Recorded Late
1. Morse v Curtis – held that the purchaser subsequent to D have good title because D had no duty to search for prior deeds recorded later, meaning that B’s failure to record nullifies C’s title.
2. Woods v Garnett – held that the purchaser subsequent to D does not have good title because D had a duty to search for prior deed recorded late.
a. Effects of the split:
i. Morse keeps search costs down for subsequent purchasers because subsequent purchasers don’t have to search more than the chain of title
ii. Morse protects subsequent purchasers of D
iii. Woods increases search costs because subsequent purchasers have to search for wild deeds outside the chain of title
iv. Woods protects the unrecorded deed of B and B’s subsequent purchasers
3. When the exception from Morse and Woods applies
a. Remember that when you are analyzing one of these situation, and there is a discrepancy as to whether a conveyance is good under
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