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Hood v. Webster

Court of Appeals of New York
2 N.E.2d 43 (1936)


Facts

Florence F. Hood received a farm in her husband’s will. The will provided that the farm would pass to Florence’s brother-in-law, William J. Hood (plaintiff), if Florence predeceased him. Florence lacked sufficient funds to live on the farm, and thus Hood agreed to pay Florence $200 per year during Florence’s lifetime, in exchange for the farm. In 1913, Florence executed an unrecorded deed and an agreement with Hood. The agreement required Florence to work on the farm and pay for taxes and maintenance from sales of the farm’s produce, in exchange for the $200 annual payment. Florence gave the deed to Hood’s lawyer to hold in escrow until Florence’s death. Hood did not pay Florence as promised. However, Florence’s nephew, Howard A. Webster (defendant), moved to the farm to help Florence. In 1928, Florence executed and recorded a deed that granted the farm to Webster and Florence’s brother, Almon B. Farwell (defendant). The deed provided that consideration was “one dollar and other good and valuable consideration.” Following Florence’s death, Hood recorded the 1913 deed and brought an action to annul the 1928 deed. The court found in Hood’s favor. On appeal, the parties conceded that § 291 of the Real Property Law governed the case’s outcome. The statute provided that an unrecorded property conveyance was void against a subsequent purchaser with a recorded conveyance, if the purchase was made in good faith and for valuable consideration. Webster and Farwell claimed that their deed was valid under the statute, because they had purchased the farm without notice and for value.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Loughran, J.)

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Dissent (Crane, C.J.)

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