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Beecher v. Conradt

Citation. 13 N.Y. 108 (Court of Appeals of New York, 1855)
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Brief Fact Summary.

The Plaintiff had been validly assigned a contract under which he covenanted to execute and deliver a deed conveying land to Defendant, and Defendant covenanted to make five equal annual payments.  

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

.  A right of action accrues as the installments in a contract become payable.  Waiting until after all installments are due unites them into a single cause of action. 


The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant had neglected to make the installment payments, and sought recovery of the full amount under the contract. 

The Defendant moved to nonsuit the Plaintiff on the ground that the action was brought to recover the whole amount of money after all of the installments had become due, and the Plaintiff could not recover without proving that he tendered a conveyance of the land, or offered to before the commencement of the action.

The trial court refused to nonsuit the Plaintiff and awarded the Plaintiff the whole amount of the purchase money under the contract.  The Supreme Court Affirmed.


Was Plaintiff entitled to recover the full amount of the installments?


Reversed and a new trial ordered.

·         Plaintiff had a right to sue on each installment separately as they became due, but he waived that right by suing for the whole purchase money without attempting to distinguish between installments. 

There is but a single, indivisible cause of action, and Plaintiff must establish his right to the entire consideration, or he cannot recover anything






By waiting until after all installments had become due, the Plaintiff gave up his right to recover partial payments from separate installments, and would only recover if he could prove that the Defendant owed him the entire amount.  

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