Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Priest v. Ernest W. Ball & Associates, Inc.

Supreme Court of Alabama
62 So. 3d 1013 (2010)


Facts

In 2003, William Buxton and Judy Buxton (plaintiffs) purchased property from Thomas F. Loppnow and Ronna L. Loppnow in Alabama. The law firm of Ernest W. Ball & Associates, Inc. (Ball) (defendant) prepared the deed for the purchase. In part, the deed described the property and transferred it to the Buxtons “for and during their life and upon their death, then to their heirs in fee simple, together with every contingent remainder and right of reversion.” Although the deed’s granting clause used life-estate language, it also included references to fee-simple language. In addition, the deed’s warranty clause referred to the Buxtons’ “heirs, executors and assigns,” which is inappropriate language for a life estate transfer. In 2008, the Buxtons sued, seeking a declaratory judgment that language in the deed was ambiguous and, therefore, that it gave them a fee simple with a right of survivorship instead of a life estate. If deed language is ambiguous, then, to protect purchasers, the greater of the two possible estates is transferred to the purchaser. Here, that would mean if the deed was ambiguous about whether it transferred a fee simple with a right of survivorship or a life estate, then the fee simple with a right of survivorship governs, because it is the greater estate. The trial court agreed with the Buxtons that the deed was ambiguous and, therefore, ruled that the deed transferred a fee simple with right of survivorship to the Buxtons. Ball appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Bolin, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.