Quiz 50: Real Property and Landlord-Tenant Relationships
The Supreme Court reviewed the case to determine how broad the definition of public use could be regarding government takings of private property. The Supreme Court agreed with the Supreme Court of Connecticut. Bot courts found that the government can take private land for economic development because the benefit to the local economy can be considered a public use.
Person M has previously sold a tract of land to Person R using a quitclaim deed. At that time he was not sure regarding whether he had the full title to that property or not. Later on, when Person M came to know that he had full title to the land, he sold the land to Person L by warranty deed. Person L was also aware of the previous deal; however she purchased the land and then sued to evict Person R from the land. It needs to be decided that whether Person L would get the title to the land. Quitclaim deed provides the least protection to a person against any defects in the title. In case, the grantor has no interest in a land, then the grantee would not receive any interest. Contrary to this, a warranty deed provides the greatest protection to a person by providing him the greatest number of warranties. In this case, Person R would probably be the winner. Although a quitclaim deed is the least protective deed, it covers the seller's entire interest. In this case, Person M's interest included the entire piece of property. Thus, Person R would receive the entire parcel of land. On the other hand, Person L had knowledge of the previous sale of land to Person R, but she chose to ignore it when transacting with Person R. Thus, she was not a bona fide purchaser like Person R. Since, Person R is a bona fide purchaser and his deed was recorded, the court would probably find for Person R.
There could be an argument that this decision allows the federal government to use any rational reason of possible benefit to the public to take private land. Here, there was no actual evidence that taking the private land would actually result in benefit to the economy. Regardless how attenuated the benefit might have been, the government still justified the taking. There is a slippery-slope argument that the government's discretion in taking private lands for public use is far too broad.