Monday, January 6, 2014

Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. v. Philwold Estates, Inc. case brief

Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. v. Philwold Estates, Inc. case brief summary
418 N.E.2d 1310 (1981)

Plaintiff grantee brought an action in the supreme court against defendant promisee, seeking to extinguish a deed's restrictive covenant effectively rendering the grantee's land useless. The supreme court dismissed the claim. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department (New York) affirmed. The grantee appealed.

A landowner's deed to a grantor contained a restrictive covenant that limited the land's use to a hydroelectric plant. The landowner retained a portion of the land and a right of way onto the grantor's land for hunting and fishing. The grantor conveyed his land to the grantee, a utility company.


  • The court held that the covenant ran with the land because the terms of the original conveyance indicated that that was the original parties' intent. 
  • The court noted that the original deed applied to the grantor and his assigns, and that the landowner retained his right of way, indicating an intent that the grantor's property remain unspoiled. 
  • The covenant touched and concerned the land, as it affected its value. 
  • Because of the city's condemnation, the land was useless to the grantee. 
  • Extinguishment did not affect the value of the promisee's hunting and fishing rights. 
  • Equity, therefore justified extinguishment of the restriction, N.Y. Real Prop. Acts Law § 1951. 
  • The promisee retained his right of way. 
  • Because the promisee failed to offer proof of present or future damages due to the extinguishment, he could not have brought any future claims for damages.

The court affirmed the appellate court's order, as modified. The court modified the order to bar the promisee from bringing a future claim for damages.

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