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Mahrenholz v. County Board of School Trustees

Illinois Appellate Court
417 N.E.2d 138 (1981)


Facts

In March 1941, the Huttons executed a deed transferring 1.5 acres of their 40-acre plot to the Trustees of School District No. 1. The deed provided that the land “was to be used for school purposes only; otherwise to revert to Grantors herein.” The Hutton School was built on the land, and classes were taught there through 1973. In 1973, classes were moved to another location, and the Hutton land was used as a storage facility by the school district. In July 1941, the Huttons purported to convey the reversionary interest in the school land to the Jacqmains. In 1959, the Jacqmains purported to convey their interest in the Hutton School land to the Mahrenholzes (plaintiffs). Mr. Hutton died intestate in 1951; Mrs. Hutton died intestate in 1969. Their only heir was Harry Hutton. The Mahrenholzes filed a complaint seeking to quiet title to the Hutton School land in them. The trial court held that the 1941 deed (from the Huttons to the school district) reserved for the Huttons a “fee simple subject to a condition subsequent followed by the right of entry for condition broken.” Because the Huttons could not legally convey this right to another during their lifetimes, the right passed to their only heir, Harry, upon their deaths (Mr. Hutton died in 1951, and Mrs. Hutton died in 1969). In May, 1977, Harry purported to convey to the Mahrenholzes his interest in the Hutton School land, but the trial court held that Harryhad not successfully regained title of the land because he had not moved to retake the land in 1973 when the land was no longer used as a school, and thus could not have passed title on to the Mahrenholzes. Thus, the trial court dismissed the Mahrenholzes’ complaint seeking to quiet title. The Mahrenholzes appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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