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Bartos v. Czerwinski

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.323 Mich. 87, 34 N.W.2d 566 (1948)

Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiffs made an offer to purchase property from Defendant at the price of $6,300.00. The Plaintiffs’ attorney found that the title abstract showed that a prior series of conveyances made the title unmarketable.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A title may be regarded as unmarketable if a reasonably careful and prudent man, familiar with the facts, would refuse to accept title in the ordinary course of business. It is not necessary that the title be actually bad in order to render it unmarketable. It is sufficient, if there is such a doubt or uncertainty as may reasonably form the basis of litigation.


Facts. Plaintiffs made an offer to purchase property from Defendant at the price of $6,300.00 with the sum of $200.00 down to apply towards the purchase price. This was to be returned should the acceptance be rejected by the vendor, or if there was a prior sale of the property, or should the title be found to be unmarketable. The Plaintiffs’ attorney found that the title abstract showed that a prior series of conveyances made the title unmarketable. In 1922, the property was conveyed to Hickey and Eppinga by warranty deed. In January 1923 the property was conveyed by warranty deed by Hickey and Eppinga to a bank . By quitclaim deed dated December 28, 1927, but not recorded until January 7, 1928, Eppinga quitclaimed his interest to Hickey. A quitclaim deed dated December 29, 1927, but not recorded until January 10, 1928, was from the bank to Hickey and Eppinga. Plaintiffs’ attorney concluded that the title was unmarketable in the sense that Eppinga could make a claim for an undivided
one-half interest in the property. The Defendant’s son tried to get Eppinga to sign a quitclaim deed to clear the potential problem, but Eppinga could not be bothered. The Plaintiffs then sued for specific performance seeking a conveyance of the property, and require Defendants to take affirmative action to remedy the defect in title. The trial court found that the Plaintiffs were not entitled to such relief. Plaintiffs appealed.

Issue. Are the Plaintiffs entitled to specific performance requiring the Defendant to remedy the defect of title?

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