Elizabeth Esterline owned property in Los Angeles. On June 22, 1960, Stanley Scott Singley forged Esterline’s signature on a deed, falsely transferring her Los Angeles property to Frank N. Debbas. Glen E. Plumb (defendant) was the notary public who acknowledged the forged signature. Debbas then deeded the property over to the forger, Singley, without consideration. Singley transferred the deed to Jack W. McDonald and Patricia L. McDonald (plaintiffs). Upon discovering the fraud, the McDonalds sued Singley and Plumb for damages. A judge held that the property still belonged to Esterline, free of any claims from Singley and the McDonalds. The judge also ordered Singley to pay the McDonalds $21,063.51, plus $254.88 in costs. However, the judge denied relief against Plumb, ruling that the notary’s false acknowledgement was not an actionable cause of the McDonalds’ harm. The McDonalds appealed.