Gordon v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, No. 18-15243 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of the Chapter 7 Trustee's request to use his powers under the bankruptcy code to avoid Wells Fargo's security interest in debtor's real property. The court rejected the Trustee's argument that, under Georgia law, security deeds in land were required to be attested at least by two witnesses. Rather, the court stated that the deed (1) must be attested by or acknowledged before an officer and (2) must also be attested or acknowledged by one additional witness. The court explained that the use of the word "or" in "attested or acknowledged" plainly contemplates these two acts as alternative methods of authenticating a security deed.
In this case, where the language of the statute is plain and unambiguous, the court stated that judicial construction was not only unnecessary but forbidden. Furthermore, this common-sense reading of the statute was reflected in Supreme Court of Georgia precedent.