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Williams v. Briggs

October 27, 1972

WILLIAMS, APPELLANT,
v.
BRIGGS ET AL, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from Circuit Court, Lane County. Douglas R. Spencer, Judge.

Jack A. Gardner, Eugene, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the briefs were Jaqua, Wheatley & Gardner, Eugene.

William Frye, Eugene, argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Husband, Johnson & Frye, Eugene.

Tongue, Justice. O'Connell, Chief Justice, and McAllister, Holman, Howell and Bryson, Justices.

Tongue

This is a suit to quiet title, brought by the record owner of real property in Lane county against persons in the record chain of title, including Sandra Briggs, a minor, whose parents had her name included in the deed when they purchased the property which was later sold to plaintiff's grantor.

Although the parents disclaim any interest in the property for themselves, the mother of the minor, as her subsequently appointed guardian, seeks by countersuit to assert her daughter's claim to an undivided onehalf interest in the property and to cancel the deed by which her daughter joined in the sale of the property, insofar as that deed relates to her.

Plaintiff, in reply, contends that Sandra Briggs is barred from making such a claim because of an election of remedies made by her mother, as her guardian, in a previous lawsuit involving the same property and because of estoppel and ratification arising from that same conduct. Plaintiff also contends that there was an equitable conversion of Sandra's interest in the property into personal property and that plaintiff was a bona fide purchaser of such property.

The trial court denied the affirmative relief sought by both parties, but found that Sandra Briggs is a minor and has "an interest" in the property, and that she retains the right to either affirm or disaffirm the deed conveying the property to plaintiff's vendor. Both plaintiff's complaint and defendants' countersuit were dismissed. Plaintiff appeals from that decree. We affirm.

This is a most unfortunate case in which the interest of purchasers of real property to reasonable

certainty in real property transactions conflicts with the interest of minors who have an interest in real property to the proper protection of such interests. In the consideration of this case it is necessary to consider the interest of Sandra Briggs as a minor, and as completely distinct from the interest and conduct of her parents, who were largely responsible for the problems presented for decision in this case.

On September 27, 1966, Sandra's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Briggs, entered into a transaction involving an exchange of real property with Jack S. Morgan and wife. The Briggses, in turn, entered into a contract to sell to one Richards the property acquired by them from the Morgans. At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Briggs, the name of their daughter, Sandra, was included as one of the grantees in the deed from the Morgans as "a single person," and was also included as such as one of the vendors in the contract of sale to Richards.

On March 14, 1967, Mr. and Mrs. Briggs (but not Sandra) entered into a new land sale contract with Richards to "supplement and supersede" the previous contract, to which Sandra was a named vendor. On the same date Mr. and Mrs. Briggs and Sandra, as "a single person," all executed a warranty deed back to the Morgans for a 22-acre portion of the tract originally owned by the Morgans, apparently for the price of $12,000.

One week later, on March 21, 1967, Sandra, as "a single person," executed a bargain and sale deed conveying the entire original tract to her parents. The record does not show the disposition of the $12,000, insofar as Sandra is concerned. Up to this point no guardian had been appointed for her.

Meanwhile, on March 18, 1968, the Morgans executed a "special warranty deed" conveying 10 of these 22 acres to plaintiffs, with a warranty limited to "incumbrances created or suffered thereon by grantor" and against the ...


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