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Transatlantic Financing Corporation v. United States

Law Dictionary
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Contracts Keyed to Farnsworth

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 363 F.2d 312, 124 U.S. App. D.C. 183; 1966 U.S. App. 6004, 3 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. (Callaghan) 401

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Transatlantic Financing Corporation (Plaintiff), sued the Defendant, the United States (Defendant), in quantum meruit after it was forced to take the longer route from Texas to Iran around the Cape of Good Hope rather than the shorter route through the Suez Canal.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A legal impossibility, which renders a contract voidable, is defined as a thing that is not practicable or in other words, only done at an excessive and unreasonable cost.


Facts. The Plaintiff contracted with the Defendant to ship wheat from Texas to Iran. The contract specified the destination, but not the route. The ordinary route would take the Plaintiff through the Suez Canal. However, due to armed conflict, the Suez Canal had been blocked by Egypt. The Plaintiff therefore proceeded along the route around the Cape of Good Hope. The Plaintiff then sued to recover the additional costs of taking the longer route.

Issue. Were the Plaintiff’s duties impossible to perform, thereby permitting rescission of the agreement?
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