January 14, 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has vacated a District Court decision regarding the interpretation of restrictive covenants in Petrello v. White, 10-2744-cv. The case involved the meaning of a restrictive covenant that required two properties to be held by “a common owner of record.” The District Court had found that the covenant required 100% identical ownership for both properties, but the appellants argued that the covenant only required at least one common owner, but did not preclude additional non-common owners.  The Court of Appeals analyzed New York’s rules governing the interpretation of restrictive covenants, found the appellants’ proposed interpretation to be plausible, and remanded the case back to the District Court for further consideration in light of extrinsic evidence.