Property Keyed to French
Red Hill Outing Club v. Hammond
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In 1956, the Hammonds (Defendants) purchased land in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. They developed the land for use as a ski slope, and were involved in forming Red Hill Outing Club (Plaintiff), which was devoted to operating the ski slope. Plaintiff leased the slope from 1969 through 1979. It operated a rope tow and provided free ski lessons for its members and residents of the town. In 1979, Defendants conveyed the land to Plaintiff for nominal consideration. The deed contained the condition that Defendants could reenter and take possession of the land if, for two consecutive years, Plaintiff did not maintain the property as a ski slope and make it available to Moultonboro residents as a ski slope. Plaintiff stopped providing free ski lessons after 1989, and did not operate the rope tow for the winters of 1992-93 and 1993-94. The ski slope was completely closed during the second winter. Defendants filed a notice of reentry in October 1994, on the ground that Plaintiff had breached the condition by failing to operate skiing facilities for two consecutive years. Plaintiff then sought a declaratory judgment against Defendants. The trial court held that the condition subsequent in the deed should be strictly construed. Therefore, the trial court held, the only condition was that Plaintiff “maintain and make available the premises . . . as a ski slope.” Accordingly, Plaintiff had not breached during the winter of 1992-93, and the closure during the winter of 1993-94 was not long enough to give Defendants a right of reentry. The trial court held that Plaintiff retained title to the property. Defendants then appealed.
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