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12/03/75 DORFMAN v. STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

December 3, 1975

DORFMAN
v.
STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT



Appeal from Oakland, Robert B. Webster, J.

Quinn, P. J., and R. B. Burns and D. E. Holbrook, Jr., JJ. Judge Holbrook Concurring in result only.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Courts -- Circuit Courts -- Court of Claims -- Declaratory Judgment -- Statutes.

The Court of Claims cannot grant declaratory judgments, therefore a circuit court is the proper forum in which to bring an action for declaratory relief (MCLA 600.6419; MSA 27A.6419).

2. Covenants -- Residential Restrictions -- Deeds -- Statutes.

A statute provides that any person for whose benefit a promise is made by way of contract has the same right to enforce the promise that he would have had if the promise had been made directly to him as the promisee; therefore, lot owners and residents of a subdivision may enforce a restrictive covenant executed by other lot owners where the covenant states that it shall run to the benefit of the other landowners in the subdivision (MCLA 600.1405; MSA 27A.1405).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Quinn

Complaint by Stanley Dorfman and Marilyn Dorfman, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, against the Department of State Highways, seeking a declaratory judgment to determine the rights and legal relations of the parties with respect to a restrictive covenant entered into by persons not parties to the action. Judgment for plaintiffs. Defendant appeals.

This class action was brought for declaratory relief pursuant to GCR 1963, 521, to determine the rights and legal relations of the parties with respect to a restrictive covenant entered into by persons not parties to the action. The judgment below was in favor of plaintiffs and defendant appeals.

The named plaintiffs (hereinafter plaintiffs) and the class they represent are lot owners and residents of Huntington Woods Manor, a subdivision located in Huntington Woods. The entire subdivision was originally covered by master deed residential restrictions which expired in 1955. In 1958, 22 lot owners on the south side of Wales Street entered into the restrictive covenant involved and recorded it. Sometime thereafter, defendant acquired the 22 lots through condemnation and purchase preparatory to constructing a superhighway.

Two sections of the 1958 restrictive agreement are pertinent:

"2. All of the parties to this agreement agree to continue to use the lands, the subject matter of this agreement, for single family dwelling purposes.

"4. These covenants shall also run to the benefit of other owners of land in said subdivision provided said lands are used for ...


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