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East Ridgelawn Cemetery v. Winne

Decided: May 14, 1952.

EAST RIDGELAWN CEMETERY, A CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
WALTER G. WINNE AND TOBY FURST, SUBSTITUTED TRUSTEES, ETC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS, AND ADAM FRANK AS EXECUTOR, ETC., H. JEROME SISSELMAN, ET ALS., CERTIFICATE HOLDERS, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS AND CROSS-APPELLANTS, AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND VIVIAN D. BELL, ET AL. AND MABEL L. SMITH, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



McGeehan, Jayne and Goldmann. The opinion of the court was delivered by McGeehan, S.j.a.d.

Mcgeehan

East Ridgelawn Cemetery, a rural cemetery association, instituted this suit in 1947. Among the prayers for relief was a prayer that "the nature and extent of any obligation of the complainant as a result of the conveyance to it of its cemetery lands may be ascertained and determined; and that it may be ascertained and determined whether any claim or claims arising from such obligation have been barred by laches and the operation of the statute of limitations applicable to such claim or claims."

The lands in question, consisting of approximately 121 acres, were conveyed to East Ridgelawn Cemetery on January 3, 1907, by the Passaic Trust & Safe Deposit Company, the trustee for holders of certificates of interest in East Ridgelawn Cemetery. Payment for the lands was to be made as follows: East Ridgelawn Cemetery was to issue 13,500 certificates of shares to the trustee and from the proceeds of sale of each cemetery lot East Ridgelawn was to deduct not less than six cents per square foot for a perpetual care fund and then pay to the trustee one-half of the balance, to be used by the trustee as a dividend fund for the certificate holders; of the 13,500 shares, East Ridgelawn was to receive 2,000 shares and use the proceeds of the sale thereof solely for improvements to the cemetery. The 13,500 shares were issued and 2,000 thereof were turned over to East Ridgelawn without the payment of any consideration. Later, the promoters donated 500 shares to East Ridgelawn. The payments, which were to be made to the trustee from the proceeds of the sales of lots, were not made.

In 1944, Walter G. Winne and Toby Furst were appointed by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey as substituted trustees for the certificate holders, in place of the Passaic National Bank & Trust Company (the

successor to Passaic Trust & Safe Deposit Company, the original trustee).

The basic factual background is set forth in the opinion filed by the trial judge in this case and reported in 11 N.J. Super. 555 (Ch. Div. 1951).

The part of the judgment, entered in the Chancery Division of the Superior Court, which is involved in the present appeals and cross appeals, provides:

"ADJUDGED that the plaintiff, East Ridgelawn Cemetery, received a conveyance on the 3rd day of January, 1907, of the lands more particularly described in the complaint on file herein, without paying therefor the fair value of the land as land to be used for cemetery purposes, and it is further

ADJUDGED that the formula for computing the fair value of the lands conveyed as aforesaid, is the equity in the lands plus a reasonable allowance for the services of the promoter and their value to the cemetery, and it is further

ADJUDGED that the reasonable allowance for the services of the promoters who created the cemetery project is the sum of $65,130, and it is further

ADJUDGED that the fair value of the land described in the complaint for cemetery purposes is the sum of $73,380 plus the aforesaid sum of $65,130, making a total of $138,510, payable by the plaintiff to Walter G. Winne and Toby Furst, substituted trustees for the benefit of the certificate holders, and it further

ADJUDGED that there is payable by the plaintiff to the said substituted trustees for the benefit of the certificate holders, the sum of $41,005, being the amount realized by the plaintiff cemetery association from the sale of the land purchase shares delivered to the plaintiff by the promoters of the said cemetery together with the further sum of $9500.00 being the proceeds of the sale of certificates or land purchase shares delivered to the plaintiff by the promoters of the cemetery to avert receivership proceedings by a creditor of the plaintiff, making a total of $50,505 realized by the cemetery from the proceeds of sales of certificates or land ...


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