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Peckham v. Milroy

Court of Appeals of Washington
17 P.3d 1256 (2001)


A restrictive covenant in the neighborhood of Spokane Terrace Addition (STA) prohibited the operation of home businesses. The STA covered 41 blocks, and each block contained 38 to 40 lots. At least four home businesses operated in violation of the covenant. Thomas Milroy’s (defendant) mother owned a home in the STA. Milroy and his family moved into the home in 1994 and began to remodel the home in August 1995. Gordon Peckham (plaintiff) also owned property in the STA. Peckham complained to the county about the Milroys’ reconstruction. The reconstruction was completed in December 1995, and Mrs. Milroy began to operate a daycare business from the Milroy home. Peckham was unhappy with the noise made by the children attending the daycare and the children’s parents’ practice of parking near his home and walking across his yard. In July 1996, Milroy inherited the home from his mother, and Peckham informed Mrs. Milroy that she was violating the covenant prohibiting home businesses. In November 1997, Peckham sued to enjoin the daycare’s operation. The trial court found that Peckham had an equitable right to enforce the covenant and granted the injunction. On appeal, Milroy claimed that: (1) the covenant had been abandoned due to violations by other home businesses, (2) the defenses of laches and estoppel applied to Peckham, and (3) the covenant violated public policy by restricting home daycare.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Sweeney, J.)

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