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Luthi v. Evans

Kansas Supreme Court
576 P.2d 1064 (1978)



Grace Owens owned interests in several oil and gas leases in Coffey County, Kansas. In February 1971, she assigned seven of her interests to International Tours, Inc. (Tours). The first paragraph of the assignment document specifically described the seven oil and gas leases to be assigned. The second paragraph of the assignment contained a so-called "Mother Hubbard" clause, which purported to convey to Tours “all interest” in oil and gas leases in Coffey County “whether or not specifically enumerated above.” Tours recorded this assignment in February 1971. One of the leases Owens owned in Coffey County was located in Kufahl; this lease was not specifically described in the assignment to Tours. John Evans (defendant) possessed a royalty interest in the Kufahl lease. In 1975, Owens assigned the Kufahl lease to J.R. Burris. Burris personally checked the register of deeds, and also secured an abstract and title to the Kufahl land after it had been assigned to him. He found nothing indicating a prior assignment of the land to Tours. Tours claimed that the 1971 assignment conveyed the Kufahl lease to Tours. Burris contended that the lack of specific description of the Kufahl land made the assignment too general to provide effective notice to subsequent purchasers. Owens's successors in title, Dale and Marcia Luthi (plaintiffs), sued to quiet title. The trial court found for Burris, subject to Evans's royalty interest. The trial court concluded that Burris was an innocent purchaser for value who did not have notice of Tours's prior interest in the Kufahl lease. The court of appeals reversed the trial court's judgment, holding that the general description in the assignment was sufficient to give notice to a subsequent purchaser. Burris appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Prager, J.)

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