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Winter 2015 Bar Question 4

Remedies

  Question
 

Steve owned two adjoining improved tracts of land, Parcels 1 and 2, near a lake.  Parcel
1 bordered the lake; Parcel 2 bordered Parcel 1, and was adjacent to an access road. Steve decided to sell Parcel 1 to Belle.  Belle admired five 100-year-old oak trees on Parcel 1 as well as its lakefront location.

On February 1, Steve and Belle executed a contract for the sale of Parcel 1 at a price of
$400,000.   The contract specified that the conveyance included the five 100-year-old oak trees.  In addition, the contract stated that Belle was to have an easement across Parcel 2 so that she could come and go on the access road.  Although the access road was named Lake Drive, Steve and Belle mistakenly believed that it was named Top Road, which happened to be the name of another road nearby.  The contract referred to the access easement as extending across Parcel 2 to Top Road, which would not have been of any use to Belle.  The contract specified a conveyance date of April 1.

Later in February, Steve was approached by Tim, who offered Steve $550,000 for
Parcel 1.  Steve decided to breach his contract with Belle and agreed to convey Parcel
1 to Tim.  Despite Belle’s insistence that Steve honor his contract, he told her that he was going ahead with the conveyance to Tim in mid-April, and added, “Besides, our contract is no good because the wrong road was named.”

In March, Belle learned that, in April, Steve was going to cut down the five 100-year-old oak trees on Parcel 1 to better the view of the lake from Parcel 2.

1.     What equitable remedies can Belle reasonably seek to obtain Parcel 1?  Discuss.

2.     What legal remedies can Belle reasonably seek if she cannot obtain Parcel 1?
Discuss.

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Answer

Remedies
Question 4, Winter 2015

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