Monday, April 29, 2013

Brokaw v. Fairchild case brief

Brokaw v. Fairchild case brief summary
135 Misc. 70

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff life tenant brought a declaratory action against defendant adjoining life tenants, seeking permission to demolish a mansion, and to replace it with an apartment building.

FACTS: Testator bequeathed life tenancies to the parties in adjoining mansions located in New York City near Central Park. Plaintiff sought leave to demolish his residence, and replace it with a 13-story apartment building. He provided evidence that the mansion was expensive to maintain, but that an apartment building would produce an income.

The court held in favor of defendants because the project would constitute waste even though the value of the property would be enhanced by the alteration.

The court found that the life tenancy restricted plaintiff to mere use of the property, and this right did not include making permanent alterations without the express permission of the testator. Reviewing the will, the court found it clear that the testator intended for plaintiff to enjoy use of the mansion instead of an unfettered right to use the land for other purposes.

CONCLUSION: The court held in favor of defendants and against plaintiff, finding that the proposed construction project constituted waste.

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