Brief Fact Summary. Patterson (Plaintiff) and Meyerhofer (Defendant) entered into a contract in which Plaintiff agreed to sell and the Defendant agreed to buy four parcels of land. Plaintiff appeals from a judgment of the Special Term and Appellate Division holding that the parties were free to act on their own interests.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In every contract, there is an implied undertaking on each party that they will not intentionally and purposely do anything to prevent the other party from carrying out the agreement.
Issue. Whether a party who acquires the subject of a contract from means other than those, which the contract provides, remains liable to the other party to the contract?
Held. Yes. Judgment reversed and a new trial is granted.
In every contract there is an undertaking by each party that they will not intentionally and purposely do anything to prevent the other party from carrying out the contract. A party who causes the breach may not recover damages for non-performance on the contract.
By entering into a contract to purchase from the Plaintiff property, which she knew he would have to buy at a foreclosure sale in order to convey it to her, the Defendant agreed that she would do nothing to prevent Plaintiff from acquiring the property at such sale. There is no finding of a parole agreement between the parties with regard to the fifth house. Defendant violated the agreement by bidding for and buying the premises for himself. Even though it was the intention of the contract that the Defendant receive the parcels of land, the contract said that the Plaintiff should receive them first and then sell them to the Defendant.
Therefore, Defendant breached the contract and Plaintiff is entitled to recover $620.00 in damages, which represents the amount the he would have received from received.
That if a party brings an equitable action, even though the same Court administers both systems of law and equity, the party must maintain his equitable action upon equitable grounds or fail, even though he may prove a good cause of action at law on the trial.View Full Point of Law