notice, a principle of Colorado law that has been repeatedly upheld and reaffirmed by our courts.
The legislative intent that the record title be relied upon will be frustrated if priority of interests
depends on whether or not a junior lienholder's agent (the title company) failed to identify a
recorded interest. If the decision is not reversed, then from now on the record will control
priority where there was no negligence by a title company, and priorities of liens and interests
will be rearranged in cases where a title company didn't find a properly recorded document.
Under Colorado law, a judgment creditor is treated as a good faith purchaser or
encumbrancer for value. Sky Harbor, Inc. v. Jenner, 164 Colo. 470, 475-476, 435 P.2d 894,
896-97 (1968.) In Wedman v. Carpenter, 65 Colo. 63, 173 P. 57 (1918), the Colorado Supreme
Court said, "As between the negligent encumbrancer and an innocent purchaser for value, the
former must suffer." Id., 65 Colo. at 66, 173 P. at 59. In this case, then, Hicks is the "good faith
purchaser for value" and Chase Manhattan is the "negligent encumbrancer." But for the
negligent search of the public records by Chase Manhattan or its title agent, the lien in favor of
Hicks would have been found.
The case of Mooring v. Brown, 82-A-2251, 1983 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19365 (D.Colo.
Feb.9, 1983), aff’d, 763 F. 2d. 386 (10th Cir. 1985) involved the application of another equitable
principle, the "good faith improver doctrine" in another situation where a recorded judgment lien
was missed by a title company. The Moorings bought land subject to a recorded judgment lien
that they didn't know about, and built a house. They argued that under the good faith improver
doctrine they should be entitled to an equitable lien for the value of the improvements, and that
their lien should be superior to the judgment lien. The court, applying Colorado law, said that
they could not invoke the "good faith improver" doctrine because the judgment lien was