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Urquhart v. Teller

Montana Supreme Court 
958 P.2d 714 (1998)


Facts

In 1971, Teller (defendant) sold 270 of his 280 acres to Urquhart (plaintiff). The parties agreed that when Teller died or if and when he wanted to sell his remaining ten acres, Urquhart would have the option to buy that land for $12,000. In 1982, Urquhart transferred the 270 acres to the Urquhart Living Trust, which sold the property to Spring Creek Investments. Urquhart assigned the option but also agreed to exercise the option on Spring Creek’s behalf if the option was unassignable. In 1993, Teller donated his ten acres to Cinnabar, a non-profit organization. The ten acres had become worth nearly $400,000. Urquhart then sued to enforce the option. The district court held that the option, a preemptive right of first refusal, was an unreasonable restraint on alienation and that it would be inequitable to enforce the terms of the right of first refusal. Urquhart appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Leaphart, 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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