Friday, December 27, 2013

Lenawee County Board of Health v. Messerly case brief

Lenawee County Board of Health v. Messerly case brief summary
331 N.W.2d 203 (1982)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The Court of Appeals (Michigan) entered judgment in favor of plaintiff buyers in their action initiated against defendant sellers that sought to rescind the parties' land sale contract.

CASE FACTS
A landowner constructed an apartment building on his property and installed a septic system without a permit and in violation of the health code. The landowner conveyed title to the property to the sellers. Pursuant to a land sale contract, the buyers purchased the property from the sellers. The county health board then obtained a permanent injunction prohibiting human habitation of the property due to the defective sewage system. The buyers initiated an action against the sellers to rescind the land sale contract on the basis of mutual mistake and failure of consideration. The appellate court entered judgment in favor of the buyers.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court found that the buyers were not entitled to recission. 
  • Both the buyers and the sellers believed that the property was suitable for human habitation when they entered into the land sale contract. 
  • Both parties were blameless because neither the sellers nor the buyers knew of the defective septic system. 
  • The court was faced with two equally innocent parties and concluded that the risk should be allocated to the buyers. 
  • The parties' land sale contract also contained an "as is" provision allocating the risk to the buyers.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the decision because the buyers were not entitled to rescind the parties' land sale contract.

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