Right of First Refusal Means What it Says – in recent Law Court win

In Maine, co-owners of real property have the right to have their interests divided in a partition action.  Debbie Mann and Tudor Goldsmith recently won a decision in our highest court, which clarified that the right to partition is trumped by the parties’ prior agreement to a right of first refusal.  (Pew v. Sayler, 2015 ME 120.) Thus, Maine law is now clear that the parties’ agreement to extend to each other rights of first refusal to purchase each other’s interests must be satisfied before anyone may resort to partitioning their interests. This comes as a relief to those of us who practice in the real estate area, since a different result could have had a dramatic impact on a whole universe of rights of first refusal that are now in effect throughout the state.