Monday, April 29, 2013

Strain v. Green case brief

Strain v. Green case brief
172 P.2d 216

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff property buyers challenged a decision from the Superior Court for King County (Washington), which, in the buyers' action against defendant sellers for replevin of light fixtures and mirrors, held that those items were not fixtures to the realty, and that the sellers had a right to remove them upon sale of the property.

FACTS: After selling their property, the sellers took several items with them. The trial court held that some items were fixtures and had to be returned but that certain lights and mirrors were not fixtures.

The court reversed in part and held that the seller's secret intent to keep those items was not dispositive of whether they were fixtures; intent was inferred by the circumstances.

The criteria for a fixture was the united application of: (1) Actual annexation to the realty, or something appurtenant thereto, (2) application to the use or purpose to which that part of the realty with which it was connected was appropriated, and (3) the intention of the party making the annexation to make a permanent accession to the freehold. Further, when an owner of property affixed an article to the realty, the presumption was that there was an intent to create a fixture.

Two mirrors, bolted to plywood that was attached to the wall, were fixtures. The replacement of different light fixtures for those removed by the sellers demonstrated an intent that light fixtures were part of the realty and therefore fixtures.

CONCLUSION: Except as to one mirror at issue, the court reversed the remainder of the decision that held the disputed items were not fixtures that were sold with the property.
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