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Laura v. Christian

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.88 N.M. 127, 537 P.2d 1389 (1975)

Brief Fact Summary. Laura, owner as tenant in common of three-fourths of a property called Fireside Lodge, paid money to prevent foreclosure on the property by the mortgagee, and Christian, owner as tenant in common of one-fourth of the Fireside Lodge, contributed nothing to the payment.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. As a general rule a cotenant who pays more than his share of an indebtedness secured by mortgage or other lien is entitled to reimbursement or contribution from the other cotenants to the extent to which he paid their share of the debt.

Facts. Christian claims an one-fourth interest in Fireside Lodge. Laura claims a three-fourth interest. The two are tenants in common. When Laura and Christian obtained their interests the property was subject to a mortgage lien. One payment was made in which the cotenants contributed their pro-rata share of the debt. Thereafter, the payments were not made and the mortgagee instituted foreclosure proceedings on August 31, 1971. A judgment of foreclosure was obtained and the sale was ordered for April 11, 1972. On April 10, 1972, Laura paid the sum of $17,288.40, which was the amount of the judgment, interests and expenses owing to the mortgagee. Christian paid nothing at that time, but it was shown that he had knowledge of the threat of foreclosure as early as July 1971. Then the property value of the Fireside Lodge was greatly enhanced by the execution of an option in March of 1972 which was exercised in July 1972. That was when Christian began to show an interest in paying Laura hi
s share of the indebtedness she paid on April 10, 1972. On January 9, 1973, when this suit was instituted, Christian agreed to pay his pro-rata share of the indebtedness previously paid by Laura and to have a lien imposed on his one-fourth share of the property to secure payment of the amount. Laura instituted this suit to quiet title to the entirety of Fireside Lodge in herself. The lower court found for Laura and quieted title in her, and Christian appealed.

Issue. Did Christian offer to pay his share of the indebtedness paid by Laura within a reasonable time under the rules of contribution by cotenants?

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