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Bryant v. Willison Real Estate Co.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
350 S.E.2d 748 (W. Va. 1986)


Facts

Bryant (plaintiff) contracted to purchase a building from Willison Real Estate Co. (defendant) on January 4, 1980. On that day, Bryant made a $10,000 down payment. The balance was to be paid upon the delivery of the deed. On February 18, before the deed was delivered, a water line in the building broke, causing damage to that building and to two adjacent buildings. Willison paid to repair the damage to the adjacent buildings. The damage would delay Bryant’s planned use of the building for over a month. Bryant asked Willison Real Estate to agree to rescind the contract. Willison Real Estate denied the request, and sold the building to another purchaser in July. Bryant then filed suit seeking rescission of the contract and return of his down payment. The trial court, applying the doctrine of equitable conversion, held that Bryant must bear the risk of loss due to the water damage as well as the costs of damage to the adjacent buildings. Bryant appealed, arguing that the trial court had improperly disregarded provisions in the contract of sale regarding risk of loss.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Miller, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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