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Ink et al. v. City of Canton

    Brief Fact Summary. Property granted to the city was taken by the state in eminent domain proceeding. Grantors would like a portion of the money obtained in the proceeding.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. An eminent domain proceeding against land obtained by grant, resulting in the payment of money does not extinguish, if any, reversionary interest the grantor possesses.

    Facts. The City of Canton was given as a gift a piece of land. The deed to the land provided that the property shall be used and designated “Harry H. Ink Park” and that the property shall revert back to the grantors and their heirs if the property is not used as a park. Later, the state appropriated a substantial part of the property for highway purposes and paid the city for appropriation of the land. The Ink family commenced an action for declaratory relief. The trial court ruled for the city and the Ink family appealed. The appellate court affirmed.

    Issue. Whether eminent domain proceedings or the money received from it affected the condition in the deed of the property.

    Held. Reversed. Any money received by the City of Canton in eminent domain proceedings for the property conferred for highway use could only be kept by the city so long as it used the money for purposes of the park.
    When property is appropriated in eminent domain proceedings, the grantee must use money received from the eminent domain proceeding and the leftover land in continuance of the condition in the deed.
    The grantor will retain rights of reverter in both the land and the money acquired from the eminent domain proceeding.
    If there is a different in value between any use of the land and use of the land as a park, the excess should be given to the grantors.

    Discussion. The court discussed the majority opinion that when the law has made it impossible for the grantee to perform the condition of the deed, it is excused. This rule, said the court, can lead to harsh results as such found when an eminent domain proceeding has given the grantee much more value than he expected and the grantor acquires nothing and loses his reverter inte


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