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Law School Case Brief

Hill v. Jones - 118 Conn. 12, 170 A. 154 (1934)

Rule:

When two or more persons shall hold estate as joint tenants, tenants in common or coparceners, if one of them shall occupy, receive, use or take the benefit of such estate in greater proportion than the amount of his interest in the principal estate, any other party and his executors or administrators may bring an action for an accounting as for use and occupation against such person and recover such sum or value as shall be in excess of his proportion.

Facts:

Certain property was leased to a company for a number of years. During that time the property was owned by different parties but was always managed by the same owner. The non-managing owners filed two actions against the managing owner seeking an accounting and other relief for the periods in which they shared ownership with the managing owner. The trial court appointed a committee to investigate and a determination was made that one of the non-managing owners was entitled to a certain amount and the other, because there was a deficit during the time he was a co-owner, was entitled to nothing. The committee also filed alternative figures, apparently based upon the reasonable rental value of the premises as opposed the actual rental received. The court gave a judgment based on the original figures and both non-managing owners appealed.

Issue:

Was the judgment of the trial court proper?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. On appeal, the court held that the judgment was correct because in the absence of evidence of an adverse or tortious holding, the non-managing owners could not require an accounting for the fair rental value of the property and must accept an accounting based upon the actual rental received.

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