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Law School Case Brief

Marrone v. Wash. Jockey Club - 227 U.S. 633, 33 S. Ct. 401 (1913)

Rule:

A ticket of admission to a race track inclosure is only a revocable license, and the holder's only remedy, where he has been forcibly prevented from entering, or has been forcibly ejected just after he had dropped his ticket into the box, is by an action for damages for the breach of the contract. He cannot maintain an action of trespass.

Facts:

Plaintiff Marrone brought an action of trespass aginst defendant Washington Jockey Club for forcibly preventing Marronefrom entering the Bennings Race Track after he had bought a ticket of admission, and for doing the same thing, or turning him out, on the following day just after he had dropped his ticket into the box. There was also a count charging that the Jockey Club conspired to destroy Marrone's reputation and that they excluded him on the charge of having "doped"or drugged a horse entered by him for a race a few days before, in pursuance of such conspiracy. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia entered a judgment in favor of Defendant, and Marrone appealed.

Issue:

Did the tickets purchased by the plaintiff create a right in rem?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Uunited States Supreme Court held that the tickets did not create a right in rem. According to the Court, the fact that the purchase of the ticket made a contract was not enough. A contract binds the person of the maker but does not create an interest in the property that it may concern, unless it also operates as a conveyance. The ticket was not a conveyance of an interest in the race track, not only because it was not under seal but because by common understanding it did not purport to have that effect. There would be obvious inconveniences if it were construed otherwise. But if it did not create such an interest, that is to say, a right in rem valid against the landowner and third persons, the holder had no right to enforce specific performance by self-help.

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