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Sunday, January 10, 2016

LISA B. FREEDMAN AND JEFFREY C. ENDA VS. MURRAY N. SUFRIN AND ELLEN L. SUFRIN, ET AL. A-4942-13T1


LISA B. FREEDMAN AND JEFFREY C. ENDA VS. MURRAY N. SUFRIN AND ELLEN L. SUFRIN, ET AL.
A-4942-13T1
Plaintiffs commenced this quiet-title action in response to defendants' assertion that a restrictive covenant, which they imposed years earlier on a former owner of plaintiffs' property, required that "as many trees . . . as possible" be retained on plaintiffs' property. In applying the long-standing rule of strict construction of restrictive covenants of this nature, the court found numerous ambiguities in the language employed by the covenant's drafter that suggested, among other things, that the tree-removal restriction was likely intended to apply only during the construction of a residence on plaintiffs' property that occurred many years earlier. Because the strict- construction rule barred enforcement of the covenant in light of these ambiguities, the court affirmed the summary judgment entered in favor of plaintiffs.