Property Law Keyed to Cribbet
Gallagher v. Bell
A covenant was made between the Defendant, who purchased a tenant house on one half-acre from the Sisters of Mercy, and the Plaintiff, who bought the remainder of the tract (34 and one-half acres) and they intended to develop the tract with a subdivision. The covenant provided that, in exchange for a right of way, the Defendants agreed “for themselves, their heirs and assigns, that they will dedicate one-half of the streets bounding their property and shall share pro-rata the cost of installation of said streets and the utilities by the Plaintiffs.” This covenant was entered into by the parties on June 16, 1961. Then, in October of 1979, Defendant sold the half-acre property and tenant house to Deborah Camelier. Camelier became aware of the covenant between the Plaintiff and Defendant and insisted on an indemnity agreement from the Defendant. In July of 1983, Plaintiff initiated construction on the roads around the Camelier property and demanded $18,000 from Camelier based on the covenant. Camelier refused payment based on the indemnity agreement with Defendant, which caused the Plaintiff to make demand upon the Defendant for the $18,000, which Defendant refused to pay. This lawsuit was then filed. The Defendant argued that the 1961 covenant was a covenant running with the land, which terminated when the property was sold to Camelier in 1980. The Defendant also argued that if there was any continuing liability on the covenant then it would attach to Camelier or Sindelar, who purchased the property from Camelier in December 1983. The lower court found the question of the nature of the covenant to be a question of fact and submitted the case to a jury, who returned a $7,000 verdict for Plaintiff. The Defendant appealed on the basis that the issue of the nature of the covenant was a question of law, and should not have been submitted to the jury. Also the Defendant contended that the covenant was such that it ran with the land, and that the Defendant’s liabil ity ended when they sold the property to Camelier.
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