Monday, January 6, 2014

Nelson v. Anderson case brief

Nelson v. Anderson case brief summary
676 N.E.2d 735 (1997)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff sellers sought review of the judgment of the Circuit Court of St. Clair County (Illinois), which granted summary judgment to defendant buyers in the sellers' real estate contract action.

CASE FACTS
The sellers argued that the trial court erred in finding that title to the property was not merchantable because of a building line violation and that they complied with the terms of the contract by responding to the buyers' objections to a title insurance commitment in a timely fashion.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the buyers. 
  • The court observed that merchantable title was that which a reasonable person would accept as not subject to doubt or a cloud that would affect its market value and that the issue of whether title was merchantable was a question of law. 
  • The court deemed the title to the sellers' property to be unmerchantable because the title was clouded by the violation of a restrictive covenant such that a reasonable person could fear both the threat of future litigation and an unfavorable effect on the market value of the property. 
  • The court found that the buyers were justified in refusing to close on the contract because they bargained for a merchantable, unencumbered title, but at the time of closing sellers' title still contained the encumbrance, making it unmerchantable.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the buyers in the sellers' real estate contract action.


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