Dobbs v. Dobbs, S99A0227.

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Citation270 Ga. 887,515 S.E.2d 384
Docket NumberNo. S99A0227.,S99A0227.
PartiesDOBBS v. DOBBS.
Decision Date12 April 1999

515 S.E.2d 384
270 Ga. 887

DOBBS
v.
DOBBS

No. S99A0227.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

April 12, 1999.


Jack F. Witcher, Bremen, for Larry Dobbs.

Hopkins & Taylor, Philip P. Taylor, Carrollton, for Gary Dobbs.

THOMPSON, Justice.

The issues for decision in this appeal are whether the trial court erred in ordering specific performance of an oral contract for the sale of land, and concluding that appellant had not acquired a prescriptive easement in the driveway of the property. We find no error and affirm.

Appellant Larry Dobbs and appellee Gary Dobbs are brothers who entered into an oral contract in 1973 for Larry to sell and Gary to purchase a house and one acre of land. The brothers agreed that Gary would assume the mortgage, and take possession of and maintain the property. They further agreed that

515 S.E.2d 385
title to the property would remain in Larry's name until Gary satisfied the outstanding 30-year mortgage. Gary made mortgage payments directly to Larry, occasionally made payments directly to the mortgage company, and sometimes performed services for or made loans to Larry as a set-off against mortgage payments. Gary occupied the premises continuously since 1973, except for a brief period in 1991 during his divorce, and made extensive improvements to the house and land. Larry owned and occupied an adjacent parcel and the driveway in question was jointly used and maintained by the parties, although Larry also had other means of ingress and egress

In 1994, Gary sought to have Larry convey the land to him, but Larry refused, contending that Gary had not satisfied his obligations under the oral agreement. Reaching an impasse regarding title to the land, Gary filed suit for specific performance.

The trial court ordered specific performance of the oral contract, citing the provisions in OCGA § 23-2-131,1 but required Gary to pay tax and mortgage arrearages to fully satisfy the obligations of the agreement. The trial court ruled that Gary's possession and partial [270 Ga. 888] payment, as well as his possession with valuable improvements, satisfied the requirements for an order of specific performance. The trial court also held that Larry did not meet his burden of proof in establishing a prescriptive easement in the driveway because he failed to give notice that his use had changed from permissive to prescriptive.

1. Larry does not contest the trial court's application of OCGA § 23-2-131, but asserts that Gary's indebtedness to him amounted to misconduct which should have prevented the award of equitable relief pursuant to OCGA § 23-1-10. OCGA § 23-1-10 states that "[h]e who would have equity must do equity and must give effect to all equitable rights of the other party respecting the subject matter of the action." This equitable maxim embodies both the "unclean hands" doctrine and the concept that "one will not be permitted to take advantage of...

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12 cases
  • SJ Props. Suites v. Specialty Fin. Grp., LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • March 30, 2012
    ...and must give effect to all equitable rights of the other party respecting the subject matter of the action.” See Dobbs v. Dobbs, 270 Ga. 887, 888, 515 S.E.2d 384 [Ga.1999](noting that OCGA § 23–1–10 “embodies both the ‘unclean hands' doctrine and the concept that ‘one will not be permitted......
  • Nvision Global Tech. Solutions, Inc. v. Cardinal Health 5, LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia
    • August 14, 2012
    ...and must give effect to all equitable rights of the other party respecting the subject matter of the action.” See Dobbs v. Dobbs, 270 Ga. 887, 888, 515 S.E.2d 384 (1999) (noting that OCGA § 23–1–10 “embodies both the ‘unclean hands' doctrine and the concept that ‘one will not be permitted t......
  • SJ Props. Suites v. Specialty Fin. Grp., LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • March 30, 2012
    ...and must give effect to all equitable rights of the other party respecting the subject matter of the action." See Dobbs v. Dobbs, 270 Ga. 887, 888, 515 S.E.2d 384 [Ga. 1999](noting that OCGA § 23-1-10 "embodies both the 'unclean hands' doctrine and the concept that 'one will not be permitte......
  • Robertson v. Robertson
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • September 23, 2015
    ...them where it finds them. The rule is otherwise if the fault of one decidedly overbalances that of the other.”); Dobbs v. Dobbs,270 Ga. 887, 888, 515 S.E.2d 384 (1999)(holding that one brother's indebtedness to another did not support an unclean-hands defense when the brother loaning the mo......
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