Some 500 frontage owners in a certain described residential district entered into mutual covenants which stipulated against the sale to, or occupation of, such land by negroes. In an action to enjoin a breach of one of these covenants the defense was asserted that a condition precedent requiring ninety-five per cent of the frontage owners to sign the agreement had not been performed. On a trial of the merits it was found that only about fifty-four per cent of the frontage owners had actually signed. However, in a prior action, an owner, on behalf of herself and other like property owners, had sought successfully to enjoin a similar breach regarding other land within the described area. The parties there had stipulated that the conditions of the agreement were fully performed, the controversy having been whether the agreement should be unenforceable due to changed conditions. The Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the ruling of the circuit court that the issue of performance of the condition precedent was res judicata due to this previous class suit. Held, because the defendants in the prior action were not designated as representing a class and because the interests of the plaintiff there were so conflicting with the interests of the defendant in this action, the former ad judication could not bind defendant. Hansberry v. Lee, (U.S. 1940) 61 S. Ct. 115.
Gerald M. Lively,
PARTIES - REPRESENTATIVE SUITS AS RES JUDICATA- REJECTION OF DOCTRINE OF CLASS SUITS IN SUCCESSIVE ACTIONS TO ENFORCE MUTUAL COVENANTS IN LAND,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol39/iss5/16