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Ludington & Northern Railway v. Epworth Assembly

Court of Appeals of Michigan
468 N.W.2d 884 (1991)


Facts

Epworth Assembly (Epworth) (defendant) is a Michigan corporation comprised of owners of resort cottages. In 1916, to Epworth conveyed four strips of land to Ludington & Northern Railway (Ludington) (plaintiff) to build railroad track through Epworth’s property. Three of the four deeds stated the conveyances were “for railroad purposes only.” The remaining deed stated if the property ceased to be used for railroad purposes “for one year or longer,” the property reverted to Epworth. Over the years, the railroad business declined. Ludington has not run trains on the property since 1981. However, Ludington continued to maintain the track. Over the next few years, Epworth made several alterations to the contested land pursuant to Epworth’s belief the property had reverted back to Epworth one year after trains had ceased running. In 1988, Ludington commenced this action seeking a declaration of the parties’ interest in the land. The trial court ruled Ludington held a fee interest and that any possibility of reverter Epworth had was extinguished under Michigan law.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Maher, 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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