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Wood v. Leadbitter

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff purchased a ticket to watch horse races on property owned by Lord Eglintoun (“Eglintoun”). While the race was taking place, Eglintoun’s servant, Defendant, forcibility removed Plaintiff from the property. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant alleging false imprisonment and assault. The jury held for the Defendant.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Unless there is a grant that permits a license holder to remove property from the land, a license to enter the land is revocable. 

    Facts.

    Wood (“Plaintiff”)bought a ticket to attend horse races that were schedule to take place on property owned by Lord Eglintoun (“Eglintoun”). With the ticket,Plaintiff would be permitted to enter Eglintoun’s property and stay there while the races took place. For reasons that are unknown, Eglintoun decided to remove Plaintiff from the property while one of the races were taking place. Lead bitter (“Defendant”), Eglintoun’s servant, forcibly removed Plaintiff from the property. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant alleging assault and false imprisonment. Thereafter, the trial court instructed the jury that Eglintoun was authorized to remove Plaintiff from his property, regardless of Eglintoun’s reason. Also, the trial court instructed the jury that Eglintoun did not have a duty to reimburse Plaintiff with the money Plaintiff paid for the ticket.Plaintiff alleged that his ticket granted him an irrevocable license to remain on Eglintoun’s property while the races took place. The jury held for Defendant.

    Issue.

    Whether a license to enter the land is revocable, unless there is a grant that permits a license holder to remove property from the land.

    Held.

    Yes, a license to enter the land is revocable, unless there is a grant that permits a license holder to remove property from the land.

    Discussion.

    Unless there is a grant that permits a license holder to remove property from the land, a license to enter the land is revocable. Here, Plaintiff’s right to enter Eglintoun’s land is contingent on the type of right Plaintiff has to the land. Licenses are deemed to be revocable because licenses do not transfer a property right, but merely authorize the licensee to lawfully be present on the land. However, a grant is deemed irrevocable because grants authorize an individual to carry property away from land. Moreover, a license is revocable irrespective of whether the license is orally given, in writing, or combined with a “pretended grant” that has not been granted by deed. However, a license joined with a grant becomes irrevocable. Specifically, a written or verbal license to hunt is revocable because it particularly permits the act of hunting. Nonetheless, a license to hunt or remove away deer from property is irrevocable because it authorizes the license holder with a grant to remove deer, property, from the property. Lastly, even if one pays for a license does not automatically create an irrevocable license. Therefore, the trial court properly instructed the jury. 


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