Constant v. University of Rochester
New York Court of Appeals
19 N.E. 631 (1889)
Over the course of many years, and as frequently as weekly or even daily, Mary Constant (plaintiff) conducted real estate transactions through a lawyer named Deane. In one such transaction, a woman named Elizabeth Meehan mortgaged her property to Constant. Deane failed to record the mortgage. Eleven months later, Meehan mortgaged the same property to the University of Rochester (university) (defendant). Deane represented the university in this transaction, and this time he recorded the mortgage. Deane later found Meehan’s first mortgage mistakenly pigeonholed in a file of satisfied mortgages. Constant sought to foreclose on Meehan’s property and sued the university upon learning that the university held title to the same property. The trial court found that Deane retained knowledge of Meehan’s first mortgage at the time Deane took Meehan’s second mortgage. Therefore, the trial court imputed that knowledge to the university and entered judgment for Constant. The university appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Peckham, J.)
Dissent (Gray, J.)
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