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Cumbest v. Harris

Mississippi Supreme Court
363 So.2d 294 (1978)


Cumbest (plaintiff) and Harris (defendant) entered into a contract whereby Cumbest agreed to sell Harris a stereo system. At the same time, the parties also entered into an option agreement, whereby Cumbest could repurchase the system on or before a specified date. On that date, Cumbest attempted several times to exercise the option by trying to give Harris money for the system. Harris avoided meeting with Cumbest and Cumbest finally left the money with Harris’s landlord on the evening of the specified date. The system at issue was made up of several different components that Cumbest had spent 15 years acquiring. All of the components had been meticulously matched and could not function alone. Many of the system’s components could no longer be replaced. Cumbest designed and built some components himself, including the speakers, for which he did considerable research. Many of the items that could have been replaced would have needed to be specially ordered, which would have resulted in a waiting period to receive them. The system had sentimental value to Cumbest due to the time and effort it took to acquire it. Cumbest brought suit in the chancery court, seeking specific performance of the option agreement. The chancery court found that the system was not sufficiently unique and dismissed Cumbest’s complaint. Cumbest appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi.

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