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Jackson v. O’Connell

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.23 Ill. 2d 52, 177 N.E.2d 194 (1961)

Brief Fact Summary. Neil Duffy conveyed land under his will in 1936 to his three sisters Nellie Duffy, Anna Duffy and Katherine O’Connell as joint tenants. Thereafter Nellie conveyed, prior to her death, her interest to Anna. When Anna died in 1957, she conveyed whatever interest she had in the land to her four nieces, Plaintiffs Beatrice Jackson, Eileen O’Barski, Catherine Young and Margaret Miller.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. When one cotenant in a joint tenancy conveys his part to another cotenant (and there are more than two cotenants) the joint tenancy is only severed as to the portion so conveyed and the original grant which created the joint tenancy remains in force and effect as to the remaining portions which were not conveyed.


Facts. Neil Duffy conveyed land under his will in 1936 to his three sisters Nellie Duffy, Anna Duffy and Katherine O’Connell as joint tenants. Thereafter Nellie conveyed, prior to her death, her interest to Anna. When Anna died in 1957, she conveyed whatever interest she had in the land to her four nieces, Plaintiffs Beatrice Jackson, Eileen O’Barski, Catherine Young and Margaret Miller. When Anna Duffy died the Plaintiffs instituted this suit in order to have the land partitioned. The Plaintiffs contended that Nellie’s quitclaim deed to Anna in 1948 severed the joint tenancy existing between the three sisters in the land and that the result was that Anna became owner of an undivided two-thirds interest in the land and that Defendant Katherine O’Connell had an undivided one-third interest in the land. Further, that Plaintiffs (four nieces of Anna) as successors in interest of Anna Duffy had an undivided one-sixth interest apiece and Defendant an undivided one-third interest as tenant
s in common. [In a tenancy in common simply take the total number of tenants and divide the land equally. In a joint tenancy there is a right of survivorship as between the original grantees.] The Defendant Katherine O’Connell filed a counterclaim against the Plaintiffs and alleged that Nellie’s quitclaim deed to Anna severed the joint tenancy only so far as Nellie’s one-third interest was concerned and that the joint tenancies between Anna Duffy and Katherine O’Connell continued as to their two-thirds of the land. Finally, that upon Anna’s death in 1957, O’Connell succeeded to that two-third interest as surviving tenant and that Plaintiffs are entitled to a one-twelfth interest only which they took as devisees of the one-third interest which passed to Anna Duffy as a result of Nellie’s quitclaim deed. The lower court referred the case to a master who found the conclusions of law as alleged by the Defendant. The partition decree which Plaintiffs appealed from adopted the master’s find
ings.

Issue. What effect on the rights of the parties did Nellie’s quitclaim deed have?

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