Property II, Pages 739–742

National Packaging Corporation v. Belmont

Supreme Court of Idaho, 1988

Facts:

Plaintiff sued Bolan and obtained a judgment for $3,331.76, but spelled Bolan's name as "Bolen" when certifying the judgment. Defendant, Bolan's ex-wife, brought a foreclosure agreement against one of Bolan's pieces of property to collect overdue child-support payments. The property was sold to defendants, and because plaintiff's judgment was filed under an incorrect spelling, it did not receive notice of the sheriff's sale and was not able to protect its interest. Defendants then sold the property to the DeCamps, at which point plaintiff brought its own foreclosure agreement, asserting the certified judgment.

Procedural History:

Trial court entered summary judgment for the defendants.

Issue:

Does a certified judgment under a similar sounding but misspelled name give rise to a valid lien and provide constructive notice to title searchers?

Rule:

The doctrine of idem sonans states that where a name's sound is substantially preserve, bad spelling will not invalidate its effect.

Reasoning:

While idem sonans was useful when the country was new and more multilingual, it would take too much work for people to continue to search titles under all misspellings as well. There are a lot of ways that one can misspell someone's name.

Rule/Holding:

The doctrine of idem sonans does not apply to the judgment-lien indexes.

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