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Osborne v. Bullins

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Willie Bullins (Bullins), who was uneducated, owned a lot and food mart in Greenwood, Mississippi.  Cassie Osborne, Jr., Ph.D. (Osborne), approached Bullins and contracted to buy his lot, but then refused to close. 

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Specific performance has traditionally been regarded as a remedy for breach of contract that is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion.  One consideration is the adequacy of damages to protect the expectation interest of the injured party.

    Facts.

    Osborne contracted to buy the lot and improvements for $85,000 within 60 days.  Bullins tendered adequate performance of his obligations, but Osborne refused to close, contending he was unable to secure financing.

    The Chancery Court rendered a judgment for the seller in the amount of the purchase price, secured by a vendor’s lien; and directed Bullins to convey the premises to Osborne and deposit the deed with the clerk of the court, to be released to Osborne once he paid the judgment.  

    Issue.

    Did the Chancery Court act properly in the remedy it provided to the seller?

    Held.

    Yes.  Affirmed.

    ·         Although labeled specific performance, the remedy granted below was more legal than equitable.  Osborne was not ordered to specifically perform anything.  Rather, he had a very appropriate money judgment entered against him. 

    The court sensibly gave Bullins what he bargained for

    Dissent.

    None

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    The non-breaching seller in this case was entitled to a money judgment from the buyer.  This remedy fit the facts and circumstances of the case very well.


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