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Law School Case Brief

Charlotte Park & Recreation Com. v. Barringer - 242 N.C. 311, 88 S.E.2d 114 (1955)

Rule:

A donor may limit a gift to a particular purpose, and render it so conditioned and dependent upon an expected state of facts that, failing that state of facts, the gift should fail with it. Right to alienate is an inherent element of ownership of property which donor may withhold in gift of property.

Facts:

The Negro citizens presented a petition to the plaintiff city park commission and argued that they were denied the right to use the golf course in violation of their constitutional rights and demanded that they be permitted to use it. The commission filed an action against defendants to obtain a judicial determination of the effect of allowing Negroes to use the golf course because of the reverter provisions and the restrictions in the deeds. The grantors gave the city certain lands for park and playground purposes upon condition that white persons only used the property. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant challenged the ruling.

Issue:

Is the reverted provision in a contract of donation valid?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court modified and affirmed. If Negroes used the golf course, a holding that the fee did not revert back to the individual grantor by virtue of his deed restriction would have deprived him of his property without adequate compensation and due process. The reverter provision in the deed from the business grantor did not require a reverter to it if Negroes used the lands.

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