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Ward v. Mattuschek

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.1134 Mont. 307, 330 P.2d 971 (1958)

Brief Fact Summary. The Mattusheks, two brothers, (Defendants) owned a 3540 acres ranch, which they agreed to sell by appointing an agent, Red Carnell. Carnell found a buyer, Ward (Plaintiff), who tendered a check for $2,500 toward the purchase, and arranged a meeting with the parties. At the meeting, the Plaintiff and Defendants got into a dispute, which caused the Defendants to refuse to convey.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. When construing a written instrument, the Court will not isolate certain phrases of that instrument in order to garner the intent of the parties, but will grasp the instrument by its four corners and in the light of the entire instrument, ascertain the paramount and guiding intention of the parties.


Facts. The Defendants owned a 3540 acres ranch, which they agreed to sell by appointing an agent, Red Carnell. The appointment of agent was an unqualified and exclusive agreement to permit Carnell, for a period of thirty days, to sell their ranch for $30,000.00 and a commission of $1,000.00, with the terms of the sale stated as “Cash to seller, possession Dec.1-1953, seller retains 5% land owner royalty, seller pays 1953 taxes, seller transfers all lease land to buyer.” The Defendants and no one else signed the appointment of the agent. Carnell then found a buyer, the Plaintiff, who tendered a check for $2,500.00 toward the purchase, and arranged a meeting with the parties at which time Plaintiff and Defendants got into a dispute, which caused the Defendants to refuse to convey. The Plaintiff sued Defendants for specific performance. The lower court found that the Plaintiff failed to furnish any memorandum sufficient under the statute of frauds subscribed by Defendants or their autho
rized agent with respect to the agreement for the sale of property alleged by the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff appealed.

Issue. Is the Plaintiff entitled to specific performance (is the writing sufficient under the statue of frauds)?

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