Pierce v. Roberts

Decision Date20 July 1888
Citation17 A. 275,57 Conn. 31
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesPIERCE et al. v. ROBERTS et al.

Appeal from superior court, New Haven county; ANDREWS, Judge.

Action by Edward N. Pierce and others against Jennie A. Roberts and others.

Judgment was given for plaintiffs, and defendants appeal.

L. N. Blydenburgh, for appellants. E. H. Rogers, for appellees.

LOOMIS, J. The three defendants Jennie A., Orlistus L., and M. Josephine Roberts, in June, 1882, and before that time, were the owners in fee of a piece of land called "Sachem's Head," a favorite summer resort on Long Island sound, in the town of Guilford; and to induce summer visitors to purchase the same, and erect cottages thereon, they caused all the land to be surveyed and laid out into cottage lots, so that each lot on one side bounded on the waters of the sound, and on the interior side on a circular driveway or road 16 feet wide, which left a piece of land in the center resembling an ellipse in shape, containing half an acre. There were 22 of these lots laid out, numbered consecutively from 1 to 22. A map of the lay-out Was carefully prepared under the direction of the defendants by Charles Griswold, a surveyor, which clearly exhibited all the lots with their numbers, and their exterior lines abutting on the water, and their interior lines abutting on the circular driveway, with the elliptical piece in the center, which was marked "Park," and the roadway also marked as such. This map was designed to be shown to the purchasers of lots, and to be filed in the town clerk's office in Guilford as a permanent description of the lots and their surroundings. During the month of June, 1882, each of the plaintiffs, or those under whom they claim, purchased of the defendants one or more of the lots, and during the negotiations resulting in the purchases the defendants called the particular attention of the plaintiffs to the map, and to the arrangement of the lots, and to the road, and the reserved space inside the road, which the defendants asserted was not to be sold, but to be kept open for the benefit of all the persons who might own the lots; and it is found that these representations were made by the defendants for the purpose of inducing the plaintiffs to purchase their respective lots, and that they did so purchase solely on the strength of such representations, and paid for their several lots a greater price on that account. Each of the plaintiffs has erected a cottage on the lot so purchased by him or her, and it is further found that, if the park should be in closed and built upon, it would lessen the value of the plaintiffs' lots from 20 to 30 per cent. The defendants Jennie A., Orlistus L., and M. Josephine Roberts, on the 20th day of June, 1882, made, executed, and delivered warranty deeds,—one to the plaintiff Pierce, of lots numbered 4 and 5; one to the plaintiff Carter, of lot No. 6; one to Joel H. Root, then in life, but since deceased, of lot No. 7, which lot is now owned by the plaintiff Catherine R. Root; and one to George and Theodore D. Merriman, of lot No. 8, which lot is now owned solely by the plaintiff George Merriman. Each of the deeds contained a description of the land conveyed by bounds, courses, and distances, and concluded with a reference to "a map of the premises made out and surveyed by Charles Griswold, which map is to be placed on file in the town clerk's office of said town of Guilford." Soon after the delivery of the several deeds the map was placed on file in the town clerk's office, where it has since remained. The park has always been kept open and unobstructed, and used as a public park, until the defendants Jennie A., Orlistus L., and M. Josephine Roberts made, executed, and delivered a deed of the same to the other defendant, Lawson J. Wooding, to hold as his absolute property, who had at the time and previously full knowledge of the agreements made by the other defendants with the several plaintiffs, and who now threatens to erect buildings on the land, and destroy its use as a park. Upon complaint of the plaintiffs the superior court, after hearing the parties and finding the facts substantially as stated, granted the injunction prayed for, restraining the defendants, and each of them, from erecting or placing any building or structure of any kind on the park, and from selling, conveying, or leasing the same, or any part, and from interfering with or destroying the use of the land as a public park. The defendants by their appeal to this court seek to set aside this judgment on account of certain alleged errors in receiving or rejecting evidence.

The defendants contend that, notwithstanding the defendant Wooding had knowledge of the agreement between the other defendants and the plaintiffs, yet he took a good title under his deed, because he had a right to assume that the plaintiffs had no other title than their deeds gave them, and by those deeds no right or title whatever to the park was conveyed, and that the plaintiffs' rights under their deeds did not extend beyond the roadway which separated their respective lots from the piece on the other side designated as a "Park;" and upon this foundation the defendants objected to all parol evidence of representations made by the defendants to the plaintiffs to induce the purchase of the lots, invoking in this connection the legal principle that when an agreement is reduced to writing all previous negotiations resting in parol are resolved into and extinguished by the writing. They also claimed that the agreement and declarations of the defendants relative to the reservation of the land in question for a park were improperly received to show a dedication of the land for a park, because the complaint did not allege a dedication. This summarizes the principal questions which the appeal brings before this court for review. We think every position here taken, and the argument in its support, wholly untenable, being either unsound in principle or erroneous in application. In the first place, the word "Park" on the map cannot be eliminated from the deeds, but is, on the contrary, an inseparable part of those deeds, and thereby the grantors are estopped from appropriating the land in question to a use inconsistent with such designation. The same argument that would give no force and effect to the plan and designation "Park" on the map referred to, would also virtually nullify the effect of the plan and designation of the "Road." It would, however, doubtless be conceded that as to the latter the deed alone, in connection with the map, would constitute an irrevocable dedication of that space to public use, although there is no grant or covenant in the deed to that effect. Why not give like effect to the plan and designation of the "Park?" That surely is a prominent and attractive feature of the plot, and indeed...

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31 cases
  • McBurney v. Cirillo
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • January 24, 2006
    ...easement. See id., at 295, 56 A. 559 (holding that Baker plan created implied easement in favor of rear lot owners); Pierce v. Roberts, 57 Conn. 31, 37, 17 A. 275 (1889) (construing map, in which open area was designated as "[p]ark," to create implied easement); see also Aunt Hack Ridge Est......
  • Ramstad v. Carr
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • June 29, 1915
    ... ... N.W. 237; Ruch v. Rock Island, 5 Biss. 95, Fed. Cas ... No. 12,105; Avondale Land Co. v. Avondale, 111 Ala ... 523, 21 So. 318; Roberts v. Mathews, 137 Ala. 523, ... 97 Am. St. Rep. 56, 34 So. 624; East Birmingham Realty ... Co. v. Birmingham Mach. & Foundry Co. 160 Ala. 461, 49 ... 395; San Leandro v. Le Breton, 72 Cal. 170, 13 P ... 405; Archer v. Salinas City, 93 Cal. 43, 16 L.R.A ... 145, 28 P. 839; Pierce v. Roberts, 57 Conn. 31, 17 ... A. 275; Florida East Coast R. Co. v. Worley, 49 Fla ... 297, 38 So. 618; Smith v. Heath, 102 Ill. 130; ... ...
  • Murphy v. Eapwjp Llc., No. 31257.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • August 17, 2010
    ...Ley, 76 Conn. 295, 56 A. 559 (1903) ] (holding that Baker plan created implied easement in favor of rear lot owners); Pierce v. Roberts, 57 Conn. 31, 37, 17 A. 275 [1888] (construing map, in which open area was designated as [p]ark, to create implied easement); see also Aunt Hack Ridge Esta......
  • Aunt Hack Ridge Estates, Inc. v. Planning Commission of City of Danbury
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1970
    ...the conveyance is made acquires a private right or easement in a park or other open area delineated on the map or plot. Pierce v. Roberts, 57 Conn. 31, 37, 17 A. 275; Fisk v. Ley, 76 Conn. 295, 300, 56 A. 559; see also Park Construction Co. v. Planning & Zoning Board of Appeals,142 Conn. 30......
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