Legal Memorandum: Provision of Abstract Services

Issue: Should a court deem that the provision of abstracting services provides a public service?

Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Keywords: Abstract services; Public service
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 326 N.W.2d 920; 383 P.2d 441; 32 Cal. Rptr. 33; 60 Cal. 2d 92
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2007

In the case of an abstracter who provides title examination services to the general public, several, if not arguably all of the factors from Turkl v. Regents of the University of California, 60 Cal. 2d 92, 98, 383 P.2d 441, 444, 32 Cal. Rptr. 33, 36 (1953), adopted by the court in Schlobohm v. Spa Petite, 326 N.W.2d 920 (Minn. 1982), apply. 

·         Abstracters are publicly regulated;

·         Title searches are of great importance to the public and practically necessary to many in order to properly conduct business in property;

·         Title companies hold themselves out as willing to perform these services for the public;

·         Title companies have a position of bargaining strength;

·         Title companies generally do not allow the public to negotiate costs for contract services; and

·         The customer is under the title company’s control and is subject to risk due to the carelessness of the title company’s employees.

The provision of abstracting services is not within the list of public services provided in the case law.  However, the services of an abstracter are regulated by the state.  One must be licensed in order to provide abstract services.  The statute specifically provides an abstracter with the ability to check the documents in possession of a county recorder that are not yet part of the public record.  The service they provide to the public […]

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