April 15, 2014 Leave a comment
From years ago in a contract or property class in law school I vaguely remember a professor describing a situation where a swimming pool was accidentally built at the wrong house. Maybe it was supposed to be built at 101 Jones Street and instead it was built at 102 Jones Street. If I remember correctly, the general rule of whether the owner of the pool had to compensate the pool builder for building the pool hinged on whether or not the landowner had knowledge of the pool construction and failed take action to notify the pool builder. I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that.
In any event the only thing I could think of while the professor was lecturing away on the concept was “what kind of moron builds a pool in the wrong backyard?” I really didn’t think it was possible and figured it was just something the professor made up to illustrate a point.
Fast forward to 2009. Residential Advantage Development (RAD) acquires a piece of property in Jackson and decides to build a home on the lot. Unfortunately, RAD builds a home on Lot 20 instead of Lot 21. Lot 20 is owned by the Ross Family. Sometime around completion of the construction, RAD decides to finally get around to a survey and figures out their nice new home is on the wrong land.
RAD then filed suit against the Ross family seeking to have the court force the Ross family to sell the land to RAD for the cost of the unimproved lot (the cost of the land before the house was mistakenly built). In a decision sure to assist in teaching property and contract lawyers of the future, both the trial court and the Mississippi Court of Appeals turned down RAD’s legal theories.
There is no dispute that RAD will suffer financial loss based on the chancery court’s decision; however, based on our standard of review, the evidence in the record, and the relevant case law, we cannot find that the chancery court abused its discretion in granting the Ross family’s request for injunctive relief and denying RAD’s motion to alter or amend the judgment.
Long story short…….RAD has incurred the cost of building a home and their attorney’s fees for a trial in Chancery Court and an appeal to the Court of Appeals. Now they get to pay the costs of tearing down the home and repairing the lot to its undisturbed condition. That isn’t so RAD, but I suspect some law professors will find it humorous.