563 A.2d 382 (Md. 1989), Walton v. Jaskiewicz

Citation563 A.2d 382, 317 Md. 264
Opinion Judge[10] Murphy
Party NameSamuel A. WALTON et al. v. Edmund JASKIEWICZ et al. 133
Attorney[7] Martin J. Shuham and William E. Knight (Knight, Manzi, Brennan, Ostrom & Ham, all on brief), all of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for petitioners.
Case DateSeptember 11, 1989
CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland

Page 382

563 A.2d 382 (Md. 1989)

317 Md. 264

Samuel A. WALTON et al.

v.

Edmund JASKIEWICZ et al.

133

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

September 11, 1989

[317 Md. 265] Argued before MURPHY, C.J., and ELDRIDGE, COLE, RODOWSKY, McAULIFFE, ADKINS and BLACKWELL, JJ.

MURPHY, Chief Judge.

The question presented is whether a majority of property owners in a residential subdivision may amend a Declaration of Covenants to exempt one lot from a restriction against further subdivision or whether the amendment is invalid because it does not apply uniformly to all lots burdened by the restrictive covenants.

I.

The parties in this case are lot owners and residents of the Brock Hall subdivision, located in the Marlboro District of Prince George's County. Plats 1 and 2 of the subdivision consist of forty-five "estate lots" ranging in size from three to seven acres each, all of which are subject to a Declaration of Covenants dated March 18, 1953, recorded among the Land Records of Prince George's County. The introductory paragraphs of the Declaration set forth several purposes for the covenants. They include to protect the lot purchasers from depreciation in value of their lots, to assure them of uniformity of development of the surrounding property, to facilitate the sale of the lots by the original owner, and "to make certain that said restrictions shall apply uniformly to all the lots in said subdivision to the mutual advantage of the present owner of said lots and to all who may in the future claim title through said present owner." The Declaration's subsequent paragraphs provide in relevant part:

13. RESUBDIVISION. There shall be no further subdivision of lots in this tract.

14. TERM. These covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them for a period of twenty-five years from the date these covenants are recorded, after which time said covenants shall be automatically extended for successive [317 Md. 266] periods of ten years unless an instrument signed by a majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part.

Page 383

Samuel and Helen Walton own and reside on lot 26 of Plat 2 of the subdivision. Their lot, containing approximately four acres, is the smallest lot in Plat 2. A ravine runs through the center of the lot, causing a natural separation into two parcels of land, containing approximately two acres each. The Waltons sought to subdivide their lot along the ravine. They obtained the signatures of a majority of the lot owners in the subdivision on an instrument entitled "Amended Declaration of Covenants" which purported to amend paragraph 13 of the original Declaration to read:

Paragraph 13. RESUBDIVISON. Except for Lot 26, Plat Two as shown on the Plat of Subdivision, there shall be no further subdivision of lots in this tract. Lot 26, Plat Two shall not be resubdivided into more than two lots.

The Waltons recorded this instrument, which was dated June 6, 1985, among the Land Records of Prince George's County.

Subsequently, Edmund Jaskiewicz and other lot owners in the subdivision, filed a declaratory judgment action in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County; they sought a declaration that the amendment to paragraph 13 was void and an injunction prohibiting the Waltons from pursuing a resubdivision of lot 26. The circuit court (Ahalt, J.), in a written opinion and order, declared that the amendment was in conformity with the prescribed procedure for amending the Declaration of Covenants. It said that the "Amended Declaration which authorizes a resubdivision as to Lot 26 is valid under Paragraph 14 of the original Declaration which authorizes an amendment to a part of the Declaration." (Emphasis in original.) Accordingly, the court entered a declaratory judgment in favor of the Waltons. [317 Md. 267]

Jaskiewicz appealed to the Court of Special Appeals which reversed the judgment. Jaskiewicz v. Walton, 77 Md.App. 170, 549 A.2d 774 (1988). The intermediate appellate court, citing authority from other jurisdictions, concluded that "any amendments to the covenants in this case, adopted pursuant to paragraph 14 of the Declaration...

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7 practice notes
  • 558 S.E.2d 31 (Ga.App. 2001), A01A1221, Licker v. Harkleroad
    • United States
    • Georgia United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • November 20, 2001
    ...homes thereon and be immune from the attacks of commercial expansion." Id. at 1007, 238 S.W.2d 346. See also Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 267(II), 563 A.2d 382 (Spec.App.1989) (removal of restrictions must apply to all lots uniformly "absent specific authorization in the dec......
  • 689 N.W.2d 491 (Mich.App. 2004), 248848, Maatta v. Dead River Campers, Inc.
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 21, 2004
    ...contains an extensive survey of how various states have dealt with the question of non-uniform covenant amendments, Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 563 A.2d 382 (1989). Walton involved an attempt by the defendant lot owners to exempt their lot from a restrictive covenant that prohibited ......
  • 534 S.W.3d 558 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2017), 04-16-00063-CV, Teal Trading and Development, LP v. Champee Springs Ranches Property Owners Association
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals of Texas
    • July 5, 2017
    ...it); see also, e.g., Maatta v. Dead River Campers, Inc., 263 Mich.App. 604, 689 N.W.2d 491 (2004); Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 563 A.2d 382 (1989); Ridge Park Home Owners v. Pena, 88 N.M. 563, 544 P.2d 278 (1975); Lakeshore Estates Recreation Area, Inc. v.......
  • Katz v. Riverwood Subdivision Homeowners Association, 070610 MICA, 288624
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • July 6, 2010
    ...restriction. The Court analyzed the law of other jurisdictions and explicitly adopted the reasoning of Walton v Jaskiewicz, 317 Md 264; 563 A.2d 382 (1989). The Court's focus was on the essential mutuality of restrictive covenants. The Court stated that without express language, a majority ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • 558 S.E.2d 31 (Ga.App. 2001), A01A1221, Licker v. Harkleroad
    • United States
    • Georgia United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • November 20, 2001
    ...homes thereon and be immune from the attacks of commercial expansion." Id. at 1007, 238 S.W.2d 346. See also Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 267(II), 563 A.2d 382 (Spec.App.1989) (removal of restrictions must apply to all lots uniformly "absent specific authorization in the dec......
  • 689 N.W.2d 491 (Mich.App. 2004), 248848, Maatta v. Dead River Campers, Inc.
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 21, 2004
    ...contains an extensive survey of how various states have dealt with the question of non-uniform covenant amendments, Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 563 A.2d 382 (1989). Walton involved an attempt by the defendant lot owners to exempt their lot from a restrictive covenant that prohibited ......
  • 534 S.W.3d 558 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2017), 04-16-00063-CV, Teal Trading and Development, LP v. Champee Springs Ranches Property Owners Association
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals of Texas
    • July 5, 2017
    ...it); see also, e.g., Maatta v. Dead River Campers, Inc., 263 Mich.App. 604, 689 N.W.2d 491 (2004); Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 317 Md. 264, 563 A.2d 382 (1989); Ridge Park Home Owners v. Pena, 88 N.M. 563, 544 P.2d 278 (1975); Lakeshore Estates Recreation Area, Inc. v.......
  • Katz v. Riverwood Subdivision Homeowners Association, 070610 MICA, 288624
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • July 6, 2010
    ...restriction. The Court analyzed the law of other jurisdictions and explicitly adopted the reasoning of Walton v Jaskiewicz, 317 Md 264; 563 A.2d 382 (1989). The Court's focus was on the essential mutuality of restrictive covenants. The Court stated that without express language, a majority ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Fractured Markets and Legal Institutions
    • United States
    • Iowa Law Review Nbr. 100-2, January 2015
    • January 1, 2015
    ...consent is required for modifications). 82. See, e.g., Licker v. Harkleroad, 558 S.E.2d 31, 34 (Ga. Ct. App. 2001); Walton v. Jaskiewicz, 563 A.2d 382, 386 (Md. 1989); Maatta v. Dead River Campers, Inc., 689 N.W. 2d 491, 498 (Mich. Ct. App. 2004). 2015] FRACTURED MARKETS AND LEGAL INSTITUTI......