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Langel v. Betz

Citation. 250 N.Y. 159 (Court of Appeals of New York, 1928)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Langel (Plaintiff) entered into a contract to sell real property and the vendee assigned the contract to Isidor Betz (Defendant).  The assignment did not delegate to Defendant (assignee) any of the assignor’s duties.  The Plaintiff brought this action against the Defendant assignee for specific performance and had a judgment therefor.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Specific performance may not be enforced against the assignor of a contract who assumed none of the assignor’s duties under the contract.


The original date for performance was October 2, 1925.  Defendant requested that it be extended to October 15, 1925 because the title company had not completed its search and report on the title to the property.  The Plaintiff was ready with a deed at the place specified on October 15th, but Defendant refused to appear.  The lower court awarded Plaintiff specific performance. 


Can the vendor obtain specific performance of a contract for the sale of real estate against the assignee of the vendee, where the assignee merely requests and obtains an extension of time in which to close title?


            Judgment reversed and the complaint dismissed.

·         The Defendant did not assume the assignor’s obligations under the contract, and did not assume those obligations by her conduct.

·         The Defendant merely requested an extension of time, and did not demand one as a matter of right.  






.  A judgment requiring the assignee of the vendor to perform at the suit of the vendor would operate as the imposition of a new liability on the assignee which would be an act of oppression and injustice.  

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