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Leach v. Gunnarson

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.290 Or. 31, 619 P.2d 263 (1980)

Brief Fact Summary. In this case, the Plaintiffs’ neighbors have an irrevocable license to use a spring that is on the Plaintiffs’ land. The Plaintiffs’ predecessor in title granted the irrevocable license to the neighbors. The Plaintiffs have sued their predecessors in title, the Defendants, who granted the neighbors the irrevocable license to use the spring by oral agreement when the Defendants owned the property.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The grantee is entitled to protection by warranty against encumbrances existing at the time of conveyance, even though the grantee, as here, knew about the encumbrance at the time of conveyance.


Facts. In this case, the Plaintiffs’ neighbors have an irrevocable license to use a spring that is on Plaintiffs’ land. The irrevocable license was granted the neighbors by the Plaintiffs’ predecessor in title. The Plaintiffs have sued their predecessors in title, the Defendants, who granted the neighbors the irrevocable license to use the spring by oral agreement when the Defendants owned the property. The Plaintiffs neighbors had built a concrete dam and a 370 gallon storage tank along with a pipe to carry the water from the spring to the neighbors’ property. Plaintiffs bought their 20 acre property from the Defendants in 1975. The conveyance was by warranty deed, which stated that the grantors “covenant to and with the grantees that [the parcel] is free and clear of all encumbrances, and that grantors will warrant and defend the same against all persons who may lawfully claim same.” The trial court, by jury, found for the Defendants based on the trial court’s instruction that if t
he jury found the license to be open, notorious and visible physical encumbrance, then there was no breach of the covenant against encumbrances by the grantor Defendants. The intermediate appellate court affirmed the trial court and the Plaintiffs appealed.

Issue. Does the neighbors’ use of the spring constitute an encumbrance on the Plaintiffs’ title, which the Defendants are obligated to defend against?
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