Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Harms v. Sprague

Supreme Court of Illinois
473 N.E.2d 930 (1984)


William Harms (plaintiff) and his brother, John Harms, owned property as joint tenants. Sprague (defendant) purchased property nearby from the Simmonses. John allowed Sprague to use his joint tenancy interest as collateral for the balance due on the mortgage for that purchase. John then died, leaving his entire estate to Sprague. William sued to quiet title in the property formerly owned jointly by him and his brother. Sprague filed a counterclaim, alleging that he actually owned the property as a tenancy in common with William, subject to a mortgage lien on his interest. The trial court held that the joint tenancy was terminated when John conveyed the mortgage interest to the Simmonses; that the mortgage survived John’s death; and that, therefore, Sprague prevailed on his counterclaim. The appellate court reversed, holding that the mortgage did not shatter the joint tenancy, and that William therefore owned the property free and clear. Sprague and the Simmonses appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Moran, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 202,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.