One of the leading real estate books is Gruen v. Gruen, a decision of the New York Court of Appeal from 1986. In this case, Victor Gruen owned a valuable painting by Gustav Klimt, “Schloss Kammer am Attersee II”. Victor instilled an interest in the painting for his son, although Victor would keep the painting throughout his life. After Victor’s death, his wife Kemija Gruen refused to give the painting to their stepson Michael. Kemija argued that the transmission was an invalid will. Michael, who was a lawyer, tried the case pro se and got his way. The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the father’s submission was a valid gift of a future interest in the painting.
Castle Kammer am Attersee II
And so Michael Gruen secured his place in the canon of property law. But he did much, much more.
Gruen helped draft the landmark conservation laws upheld by the Supreme Court in Penn Central Transportation Co. v New York City (1978). And he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the petitioner in the Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corporation v. Erwin Griswold.
One person was at the center of three prominent property cases. And his side won all three cases!