Clark v. Elza
Maryland Court of Appeals
286 Md. 208, 406 A.2d 922 (1979)
Floyd L. and Myrtle E. Elza (plaintiffs) sued Swannie B. Clark and Linda Sue Woodward (defendants), seeking damages for injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Before the case went to trial, the parties reached a verbal settlement, with the Elzas agreeing to release their claim upon receipt of $9,500. Clark and Woodward forwarded a release, an order of satisfaction, and a settlement draft to the Elzas’ attorney. However, the Elzas changed their minds about settlement and returned the documents unexecuted. The Elzas then proceeded with their suit. Clark and Woodward filed a motion to enforce settlement. The trial court found that the parties had intended only to create an executory accord and reasoned that such an accord could be enforced only upon satisfaction. Because the promised exchange of funds for release of the tort claim was never performed, the accord was not enforceable. The trial court allowed the Elzas to proceed with their tort action. Clark and Woodward appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which denied their appeal as premature because the trial court had not yet issued a final judgment on the merits. However, the Maryland Court of Appeals granted review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Eldridge, J.)
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