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Obering v. Swain-Roach Lumber Co.

Citation. 86 Ind.App. 632 (Appellate Court of Indiana, 1927)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Herman Obering (Appellant) and Swain-Roach Lumber Company (Appellee) formed a contract under which Appellee would purchase a tract of land and then sell the land to the Appellant, reserving the right to remove timber for four years.  However, after Appellee purchased the land, Appellant refused to accept the deed.   

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Less formality of description is required in a contract for the sale of real estate than is necessary in a conveyance, and parol evidence may be used to complete the description and identify the property.


The executor of an estate offered a tract of land for sale which contained valuable timber.  Appellant wanted the land and Appellee wanted the timber, so they contracted accordingly.  The contract described the land as “tract No. 1 containing 170 acres known as the J. Henry Buhner farm to be offered for sale January 20, 1923, by John F. Sunderman, Executor.” 

After the Appellee bought the farm, however, Appellant refused to accept the deed and Appellee brought suit.  The trial court gave judgment for the Plaintiff-Appellee, and ordered specific performance.  The Appellant claimed that the contract sued upon was too indefinite to be enforceable, as the section township and range locating the real estate were not given.


Was the property description too indefinite to be enforceable?


No.  Affirmed. 

The real estate was sufficiently described to bind the parties, the contract having been drawn with reference to the executor’s notice of sale, which gave the correct legal description of the 170 acres and designated it as “Tract No. 1.”

There was also no merit to the contention that the agreement was invalid for want of mutuality.  The moment the Appellee acquired title to the property, it became equally binding upon, and enforceable against, both parties. 






The description required for a contract involving land is less than required for a conveyance, and the Appellant could not get out the contract by alleging it was insufficient.  

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