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Deeds Could Cause Legal Tangle

October 04, 1987

There are no "flaws in the (recording) system." Rather there are serious flaws in David W. Myers' understanding of the system. Mr. Myers' article may cause needless fear that California property owners may be in jeopardy because some eccentric may record a deed, which purportedly divests them of their ownership.

If there is a problem at all, it is the dignity which Mr. Myers has given to a private computer firm's (Dataquick) work product.

California property owners have been protected for over 100 years, and continue to be protected, by California's recording system. When some eccentric records a "wild deed" (one not in the chain of title--i.e. a deed executed by one who does not own the property), it has no legal effect. (California Civil Code section 1214 et seq.)

Private computer firms do not affect legal title; they do not issue title insurance, and I suspect, their agreements contain exculpatory language whereby the attempt to disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy of their reporting.

If they issue a report which, contrary to law, predicates title on a wild deed, the computer company should be responsible for their misinformation, not the notary who notarized the deed. If these companies present a danger to the public, then possibly, they should be subjected to appropriate legislation--but for goodness sake, don't blame the notaries and the hard-working civil servants at the county recorder's office.


Beverly Hills

Lipofsky is a member of the law firm of Lipofsky & Ruben.

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