Jim Whitney Economics 495 Case brief Recorder name: Case name: Citation; Date: Court: Sarah Kushner Sanborn vs. McLean 233 Mich. 227; 206 N.W. 496; 1925 Mich. LEXIS 747; 60 A.L.R. 1212 December 22, 1925 Supreme Court of Michigan Name (if specified) and description of litigants at the original trial court level Plaintiff: Jessie L. Sanborn is a member of the Green Lawn subdivision community. Defendant: Christina and John A. McLean are owners of lot 86 of the Green Lawn subdivision. Facts of the case: Christina and John A. McLean owned a single property on Collingwood Avenue, a residential street in Detroit, MI. An alley runs behind the McLean’s property, so in 1925, they proposed to open a gasoline station at the rear of their lot. Members of the community argued that the proposed station would be a nuisance to the neighborhood. Furthermore, they noted that the McLean’s were subject to a negative easement, which effectively prevented them from undertaking an activity on their property that might be perceived as detrimental to the enjoyment of their neighbors. A total of 91 lots, all of which were planned strictly for residential purposes in 1891, front Collingwood Avenue. This land, once belonging to a common owner, is bound by a clause specified by the original owner that restricts non-residential development on the lots fronting Collingwood Avenue. This clause, however, is not included in the McLean’s own deed and they therefore claim to be unaware of property restrictions. Procedural history (remedy sought, prior rulings, grounds for appeal, etc., as available): The circuit court ruled that the work done on the gas station building should be torn down at the expense of the McLean’s. Court opinion (key issues and arguments): The court notes that the McLean’s property was, in fact, burdened with a reciprocal negative easement. Although the court recognizes that this clause was not explicitly conveyed to the McLean’s in their specific title, they argue that the McLean’s should have asked one of their neighbors for clarification regarding property restrictions. As a result, the court mandates that the work completed on the building be torn down and that the McLean’s must pay for the associated costs. Dissenting opinion, if any (key issues and arguments): None Disposition of case: Affirmed the decree in the circuit court and ruled that the McLean’s were responsible for covering any associated costs. ANALYSIS OF THE CASE 1. Course topic of the case: Exercising property rights 2. How does the case relate to the course topic? This case illustrates the binding nature of a reciprocal negative easement, which is tied to the land regardless of the owner having notice of it or not. Thus, in this case, Jessie L. Sanborn exercises her property rights by bringing this reciprocal negative easement to the attention of the McLean’s. 3. Which previously assigned cases, if any, are related to this case, and how does this one differ? None 4. How does the case affect economic incentives and efficiency? This case helps us understand the economic importance of keeping residential areas residential. Namely, it raises property values.