City of Palm Springs v. Living Desert Reserve Case Brief

Summary of City of Palm Springs v. Living Desert Reserve (1999)

Parties: Palm Springs is the plaintiff, Living Desert Reserve the defendant.

Cause of action/remedy sought: PL sought to termination the clause in the deed which would then allow them to build a golf course instead of using the land for an Equestrian Center.

Procedural History: Decision for defendants.

Facts: Deed left land to the City of Palm Springs, with the proviso they use the land for an Equestrian Center. Instead, PL wanted to build a golf course and sued to try and remove the proviso from the deed, claiming the power of termination was not compensable. City argued the possibility of not meeting the condition was too remote.

Issue(s): Under CA property law, may City of Palm Springs move to condemn the reverting party from holding its rightful claim to the land when the City wants to build a golf course on land which was earmarked for an equestrian center in the decedent’s will?

Holding: When the condemnor owns the present possessory interest in the land, the action of condemnation itself makes violation of the condition imminent.

Court’s Rationale/Reasoning: If the court allowed Palm Springs to do what they wanted they could simply make their land a fee simple unrestricted and have paid nothing for it. There is something about notions of degrees of fairness, justice and virtue that should characterize public entities. Living Desert was entitled to be compensated 100% of the value of the unrestricted fee in the land.

Rule: Restatement 53 only applies when a paramount authority condemns property and ousts the possessor.

Did court avoid issues?: N/A.

Dicta: N/A.

Dissents: N/A.

Concurrences: N/A.




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