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Burns v. McCormick

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.233 N.Y. 230, 135 N.E. 273 (1922)

Brief Fact Summary. In June 1918, James Halsey, lived alone in his home. Plaintiffs claim that Halsey promised that the land would be theirs upon his death if they boarded and cared for him during his life. However, at the time of his death, there was nothing to evidence this agreement.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Not every act of part performance will move a court of equity, though legal remedies are inadequate, to enforce an oral agreement affecting rights in land. There must be performance unequivocally referable to the agreement.


Facts. In June 1918, James Halsey, an old man without family or housekeeper, lived alone in his home. He allegedly told the Plaintiffs that if they gave up their business in another town and boarded and cared for him during his life, the house and lot would be theirs upon his death. The Plaintiffs did as Halsey asked, boarding and caring for him until he died about five months after the agreement. However, no deed, will, or memorandum by Halsey exists to authenticate the promise. The Plaintiffs asked for specific performance, and Defendant asserts the defense of the statute of frauds.

Issue. Are the Plaintiffs entitled to specific performance?

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