Deeds - Bona Fide Purchaser


Gates v. Ellis, [Ms. 2190775, Mar. 12, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The court (Hanson, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore and Fridy, JJ., concur; Edwards, J., concurs in the result) reverses the Clarke Circuit Court’s judgment declaring the Ellises the owners of a four-acre tract of real property. Before Braswell purported to convey the property to the Ellises, he had conveyed it to Gates, but the conveyance was not recorded prior to the conveyance to the Ellises. Ms. **2-3. The court first notes that “ ‘A deed that is unrecorded is good between the grantor and grantee, but is void against bona fide purchasers for value, mortgagees, and judgment creditors without notice.’ ” Ms. **9-10, quoting Smith v. Arrow Transp. Co., 571 So. 2d 1003, 1006 (Ala. 1990) (emphasis added in Gates v. Ellis). The court reverses because “the evidence is undisputed that the Ellises paid only $10 for the property and that they were, in essence, donees. Such a nominal consideration will not suffice to bring a purchaser under the protection of § 35-4-90. Curtis v. Riddle, 177 Ala. 128, 129, 59 So. 47, 47 (1912) (holding that a deed supported by only nominal consideration did not entitle the grantees to protection under the statutory predecessor to §35-4-90).” Ms. **11-12.

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