Taylor v. Caldwell (1863)
The plaintiff contracted to rent the defendant’s concert hall. The defendant was unable to convey the hall because it had burned down through no fault of his own. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant breached the contract and brought suit to recover advertising expenses.
Are both parties excused from performance if that which was essential to their performance ceased to exist?
In contracts in which performance depends on the continued existence of a given person or thing, there is an implied condition that impossibility of performance arising from the destruction of the person or thing excuses performance.