Mayor and City Council of Ocean City v. Taber

Court of Appeals of Maryland, 1977.

279 Md. 115, 367 A.2d 1233.

Johnson, pp. 140-146


Facts: Stephen Taber established the town of Ocean City by grant.  The trustees of the town granted a bit of land to the United States as a lifeguard station (or maybe coast guard outpost) until “the United States shall fail to use” the land for that purpose.  Nearly a century later, the United States sold the land to Ocean City.  The heirs of Taber went to court to try to get the land back.  The trial court found in their favor.






Analysis: The court finds that when the United States got title to the property, it got a fee simple determinable.  Furthermore, the estate so granted ended exactly when the United States sold the land, because at that point the United States stopped using the land for a lifeguard station.


Conclusion: The trial court is upheld and the heirs get the land.


Back to The Defeasible Fees

Back to Casebook Notes