by: Patrick A. Randolph, Jr.
Professor of Law
UMKC School of Law
DEED; CONSTRUCTION; RESERVED INTERESTS; DEEDS: Where grantor deed contains provision stating "Oil and Mineral rights have been leased before we came into possession of property title is not herein conveyed," there is no reservation of mineral rights but mere protection of warranty and all minerals owned by grantor pass to grantee.
Peoples Bank v. Nettleton Fox Hunting, 672 So.2d 1235 (Miss. 1996).
The grantor attempted to argue that the description of the prior leasing activity was merely an explanation of the reason for the exception, and not a modification of the exception itself.
It relied upon the notion that reservations in deeds must be strictly construed. Further, it pointed to the fact that the language was drafted by the president of the grantor, a bank, and consequently any ambiguity should operate against it.
Comment: The case is correct. At best, the language is ambiguous, and susceptible of the construction that it stated an exception to what would otherwise be a general warranty of title.
It is not clear whether the refused to consider extrinsic evidence, or whether there simply was no such evidence. The editor would have viewed extrinsic evidence of the parties' intent as appropriate here, but the court relied entirely upon the language of the instrument.
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