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King v. Greene

Supreme Court of New Jersey
153 A.2d 49 (1959)


Facts

In 1913, Marie King (plaintiff) acquired title to three lots of property. In 1931, her husband Phillip King sued her. The court found that Marie owed Phillip $1,225. The court also ordered that Marie convey the three lots of property to herself and Phillip as tenants by the entirety. In 1932, the property was sold at an execution sale to satisfy the 1931 money judgment. At the execution sale, John Crowell purchased Marie’s share of the tenancy by the entirety. A sheriff’s deed was issued to convey Marie’s interest to Crowell. In 1933, Phillip conveyed his interest in the property to Martin Smock. Crowell similarly sold Marie’s interest in the property to Smock. Phillip died in 1938. In 1946, Smock conveyed his interests to Joseph and Mabel Greene (defendants). In 1957, Marie sued the Greenes for possession, arguing that she was the sole owner of the property. Marie argued that the 1932 sheriff’s deed conveyed one-half the rents, issues, and profits of the property during the joint lives of Marie and Phillip, but the sheriff’s deed did not convey Marie’s right of survivorship. This would mean the sheriff’s deed conveyed essentially half of a joint life estate. Marie argued that once Phillip died, this joint life estate terminated, and the property went to Marie as the surviving party. The trial court agreed and declared Marie had fee-simple ownership in the property. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Burling, J.)

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Dissent (Weintraub, C.J.)

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