Howard v. Shaw

In Howard v. Shaw, 10 Wash. 151, 38 P. 746 (1894), the appellant claimed he was entitled to rely on county records which demonstrated that a third party was the owner of a mortgage, and he therefore assumed that she was the owner even though she had assigned it; the respondent asserted that the law did not require or permit the assignment of the mortgage to be recorded. The Court found that assignments of mortgages are not within the recording acts unless there are express provisions to that effect. Id. at 155. Although courts in other jurisdictions have held that assignments of mortgages were impliedly included among the instruments to be recorded, this court declined to follow their lead: "Our statutes are too bare of any suggestion concerning assignments of this kind for us to make a judicial interpretation of them in favor of the appellant." Id. at 156. The Court went on to say: Gen. Stat. 1439 requires deeds and mortgages to be recorded, and makes the record constructive notice. Among the duties of the auditor, it is prescribed that he shall record "deeds, grants, transfers, and mortgages of real estate, releases of mortgages, etc.," and "such other writings as are required or permitted by law to be recorded." Id. 199. And this is all there is upon the subject. The auditor is, by Id. 200, required to index "every instrument concerning or affecting real estate," but that, of course, means every instrument which he is legally authorized or required to record. Id.