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Wheelock v. Noonan

New York Court of Appeals
108 N.Y. 179 (1888)


Facts

Michael Noonan (defendant) obtained permission, without consideration and solely on oral agreement, from William Wheelock (plaintiff) to briefly store a few rocks on Wheelock’s unoccupied lots in the City of New York. Wheelock only granted permission for this storage until the following spring. However, Noonan covered the lots with huge quantities of rock, some of which were 10 or 15 feet long and piled to a height of 14 to 18 feet. In the spring, Wheelock discovered this abuse of his permission and told Noonan to remove the rocks. Noonan agreed, but persistently neglected to do so. Wheelock brought suit against Noonan. The trial court found, as a matter of law, that Wheelock’s permission did not extend to this manner or duration of use and that Noonan was a trespasser. The trial court ordered Noonan to remove the rocks by a given date. Noonan appealed, arguing that equitable relief was inappropriate because there was an adequate remedy at law.

Rule of Law

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

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Finch, 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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