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the one injured, some privity, by contract or otherwise, by reason of which the former owes some duty to the latter, and the rule applies with full force to acts of an attorney in framing an opinion of title. A third party, therefore, who may have acted upon the opinion would be without remedy against the attorney unless something in the circumstances of the case should take it out of the general rule. Malice, fraud, collusion or other tortious act would be sufficient to create a responsibility without reference to any question of privity between the tort feasor and the injured party, but where these elements are wanting no recovery can be had by a third party, and a contract between two persons will not be held to inure to the benefit of a third person from the mere fact that its breach, or the negligent discharge of the duties involved in it, has resulted in injury to another. 9
SECTION 41. PERUSING AN ABSTRACT.
It is difficult to lay down hard and fast rules for any matter that depends to a great extent on the habits and mental methods of the individual. This is strictly true of the perusal of an abstract. The writer suggests, that whether the abstract be long or short, or whether the title be simple or complicated, a general perusal, in order to obtain a preliminary view should first be made. This perusal is only to establish the fact of an apparent chain of title from its source, the government, or from some person proposed in whom the title is assumed to have been vested. To assist in arriving at a correct estimate, an analysis of the abstract must always be made in intricate cases, and such a course will be found * Savings Bank vs. Ward, 100 U. as Buckley vs. Gray, 110 Cal., 339.
S., 195; Buckley vs. Gray, 110
helpful in every case. Having established the fact of apparent title extending in unbroken sequence from the initial point to the person in whom it is last asserted, a critical review of every remove must then be made to determine its effect and validity. All defects, whether of form or substance, are noted on the analysis just mentioned, together with notes of discrepancies, objections, and requisitions for further information. Each step must be examined technically and critically, and its own sufficiency or insufficiency passed upon. This task is the most arduous part of the examination, for the sufficiency of every instrument and proceeding must be investigated not only with respect to itself but frequently with reference to numerous other instruments in the chain and sometimes in connection with matters not disclosed in the abstract.o7
Any matter that is not in itself or the context sufficiently self explanatory must be made the subject of a requisition for further information. Thus, where a descent is suggested by the abstract, as where a deed is shown purporting to be executed by the "heirs at law” of the person last seized, a call should be made for further inquiry or evidence touching the legitimacy of the claim of title thus asserted. So, too, of a partition among heirs, by the mutual interchange of deeds, in which a minor's rights may be involved.
Frequently a death is suggested inferentially, as where a man and wife convey, and on a subsequent revesture of title the man alone executes a deed. In the same way a marriage may be suggested, and in every case, where an individual conveys with no words en For want of a better name, each
seriatim from the beginning, link in the chain, whether by
and referred to by number deed, will, mortgage, lease, etc.,
whenever occasion calls for is called a "remove," and the
descriptive of the person, inquiry should be made in regard to marriage.
Much trouble is frequently had with judgments against the person, where the judgment debtors have names the same as those mentioned as grantors or grantees in the abstract. Great care, therefore, should be observed in these matters. If the names are identical with those of the persons who now own the land under investigation, or who at some former period have held title or possessed equities capable of being reached by execution, then any doubts that may arise should be resolved by a requisition. Affidavits of identity and disclaimer are about the best available means for determining this point. A certificate by plaintiff's attorney, when such can be procured, will also serve to remove doubts concerning the identity of persons bearing the same name.
SECTION 42. CONCLUSION. In the foregoing brief and necessarily fragmentary sketch, an attempt has been made to present a succinct statement of the methods now generally observed in the preparation of abstracts of title in the United States. In some respects the compilation of abstracts has not yet passed the experimental stage, but the essentials are now fairly agreed upon by lawyers and conveyancers and the substance of this agreement may be found in the foregoing pages. To those who may desire a larger knowledge or more intimate acquaintance with the subject, the perusal of Mr. Warvelle's exhaustive treatise is recommended. This is particularly true with respect to the technical details of compilation, the keeping of abstract indices, and the forms employed in writing up the history of title.