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Kajo Church Square, Inc. v. Walker

Court of Appeals of Texas
2003 WL 1848555


Facts

Don and Patsy Walker and Joe and Miriam Eakin (plaintiffs) transferred ownership of two parcels of land to a church. Part of the transfer was a gift and part of it was a sale. The deed contained no language suggesting that the grantors retained a life estate. After the transfer, the church leased one of the parcels back to the Walkers and the Eakins, for a lease term lasting “until the date of death of the last of the Lessees to die.” Four years later, the church sold the parcels to Kajo Church Square, Inc. and its affiliates (Kajo) (defendants). Kajo terminated the lease one week after its purchase. The Walkers and the Eakins sought a declaratory judgment that they had retained a life estate in the parcels or, in the alternative, that they had a leasehold interest for life. The Walkers and the Eakins also argued that if their interest was indeed a leasehold, then Kajo’s termination of the lease was a breach of contract, because the contract provided that their leasehold was for life. Both parties filed for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Walkers and the Eakins, and Kajo appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Griffith, J.)

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