Bennett v. Dove, No. 14759

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtHARSHBARGER
Citation277 S.E.2d 617,166 W.Va. 772
PartiesMerle BENNETT et al. v. Robert DOVE et al.
Decision Date05 May 1981
Docket NumberNo. 14759

Page 617

277 S.E.2d 617
166 W.Va. 772
Merle BENNETT et al.
v.
Robert DOVE et al.
No. 14759.
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
May 5, 1981.

Page 618

Syllabus by the Court

1. "A valid written instrument which expresses the intent of the parties in plain and unambiguous language is not subject to judicial construction or interpretation but will be applied and enforced according to such intent." Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 1.

2. "It is not the right or province of a court to alter, pervert or destroy the clear meaning and intent of the parties as expressed in unambiguous language in their written contract or to make a new or different contract for them." Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 3.

3. "It is the safest and best mode of construction to give words, free from ambiguity, their plain and ordinary meaning." Williams v. South Penn Oil Co., 52 W.Va. 181, 43 S.E. 214 (1902), Syllabus Point 4.

4. A deed clause reserving a "right of first refusal" to a grantor, to purchase the property conveyed if the grantee desires to sell the property, is not violated by the grantee's gift of the property without having first proffered it to the grantor.

[166 W.Va. 773] Geary & Geary and Dennis V. DiBenedetto, Petersburg, for appellants.

Sponaugle & Sponaugle and George I. Sponaugle II, Franklin, for appellees.

HARSHBARGER, Chief Justice:

Merle Bennett, Barbara M. Bennett, and Mabel Bennett brought this action against Robert Dove and others to void a conveyance from Robert Dove to two of his children. There was a "right of first refusal" clause contained in the 1956 deed by which Bennett conveyed the property to Dove, and Bennett also sought specific performance of that right. The trial court ruled that Dove's deed to the children was void because the preemptive right provision had been violated.

The clause was: "It was understood and agreed between the parties hereto that ... in the event the party of the second part (Robert Dove) desires to sell said real estate he shall give to the parties of the first part the first opportunity to purchase same." Robert Dove took possession of the property, built a home and continues to reside there.

The deed to the Dove children had as its declaration of consideration or value, that it was not subject to our state excise tax upon the privilege of transferring real...

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44 practice notes
  • Tolliver v. Kroger Co., No. 23940.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 21 d5 Novembro d5 1997
    ...Point 3, Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962).' Syllabus Point 2, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981)." Moreover, "[t]he mere fact that parties do not agree to the construction of a contract does not render it ambigu......
  • Benson v. Ajr Inc, No. 34748.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 28 d4 Janeiro d4 2010
    ...point 1,] Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962)[.]’ Syllabus point 1, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981).” Syllabus point 6, Dan's Carworld, LLC v. Serian, 223 W.Va. 478, 677 S.E.2d 914 (2009).Niall A. Paul, Eric E. Kinder, Sp......
  • Coleman v. Sopher, No. 23943.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 20 d4 Novembro d4 1997
    ...Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 1. Syl. pt. 1, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981). Elaborating on this general principle, we have explained: "`It is not the right or province of a court to alter, per......
  • State ex rel. Clark v. Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 24625-24627.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 4 d5 Dezembro d5 1998
    ...Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 3." Syllabus Point 2, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981). 510 S.E.2d 788 Syl. pt. 1, Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 69 v. City of Fairmont, 196 W.Va. 97, 468 S.E.2d 712......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
45 cases
  • Coleman v. Sopher, No. 23943.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 20 d4 Novembro d4 1997
    ...Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 1. Syl. pt. 1, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981). Elaborating on this general principle, we have explained: "`It is not the right or province of a court to alter, pervert ......
  • State ex rel. Clark v. Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 24625-24627.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 4 d5 Dezembro d5 1998
    ...Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 3." Syllabus Point 2, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981). 510 S.E.2d 788 Syl. pt. 1, Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 69 v. City of Fairmont, 196 W.Va. 97, 468 S.E.2d 712 (199......
  • New v. Gamestop, Inc., No. 12–1371.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 6 d3 Novembro d3 2013
    ...Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962), Syllabus Point 1.” Syl. pt. 1, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981). 6. “ ‘The doctrine of unconscionability means that, because of an overall and gross imbalance, one-sidedness or lop-side......
  • Benson v. Ajr Inc, No. 34748.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 28 d4 Janeiro d4 2010
    ...point 1,] Cotiga Development Co. v. United Fuel Gas Co., 147 W.Va. 484, 128 S.E.2d 626 (1962)[.]’ Syllabus point 1, Bennett v. Dove, 166 W.Va. 772, 277 S.E.2d 617 (1981).” Syllabus point 6, Dan's Carworld, LLC v. Serian, 223 W.Va. 478, 677 S.E.2d 914 (2009).Niall A. Paul, Eric E. Kinder, Sp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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