Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rick v. West case brief

Rick v. West case brief summary
228 N.Y.S.2d 195 (1962)

Motion for declaratory relief by plaintiff owners of land, in plaintiff's action seeking to have restrictive covenants be declared no longer enforceable or to award the defendant landowner pecuniary damages for any violations of the restrictions pursuant to N.Y. Real. Prop. Law § 346.

Plaintiffs owned a substantial tract of land that had some restrictive covenants that limited the land to residential use.  The Defendant owned a small parcel of land on the tract which was conveyed to her by the plaintiffs' predecessor in title.  The Defendant objected to plaintiffs' proposed sale of some of their land for use that was non-residential . Plaintiffs filed suit, seeking a declaratory judgment that the restrictions were no longer enforceable and to declare defendant be limited to pecuniary damages, if any, for violations of the restrictions.


  • The trial court had denied the plaintiffs' motion for declaratory relief, because it determined that the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proving significant changes had occurred in the subdivision that would merit invalidating the restrictions over defendant's protests. 
  • The court also reasoned that a new york statute provided no basis for awarding pecuniary damages when the restriction was not outmoded.

The Plaintiffs' motion for declaratory relief and an award of pecuniary damage to (D) for damages from violations of the restrictive covenants denied, because (Ps) failed to prove a change in the subdivision were great enough to have the covenants deemed unenforceable, and no pecuniary damages were available where covenants not outmoded.

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