Mark Bloome v. Jackson L. Haverly

Court Of Appeals Of Washington, Division 1, Docket Number: 62974-3, January 11, 2010

Regarding a private restrictive covenant, evidence of a party’s unilateral or subjective intent as to the meaning of a covenant word or term is inadmissible. One of the parties submitted a declaration concerning the parties’ personal beliefs as to the scope and meaning of a view covenant. The court said, “Our primary objective in interpreting a restrictive covenant is to ‘determine the intent or purpose of the covenant.’ [citations omitted] To this end, we apply the ‘context rule’… [citations omitted] That is, ‘when the meaning [of the covenant] is unclear,’ we must consider ‘the surrounding circumstances that tend to reflect the intent of the drafter and the purpose of a covenant.’ [citations omitted] … However … admissible extrinsic evidence does not include: Evidence of a party’s unilateral or subjective intent as to the meaning of a covenant word or term; Evidence that would show an intention independent of the instrument; or Evidence that would vary, contradict or modify the written word. [citation omitted] ‘Extrinsic evidence is to be used to illuminate what was written, not what was intended to be written.’ [citations omitted]”

Decision text is available at http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/index.cfm?fa=opinions.showOpinion&filename=629743MAJ

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