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Ferguson v. Caspar

District of Columbia Court of Appeals
359 A.2d 17 (1976)


Ida Caspar (defendant) contracted to sell her home to the Fergusons (plaintiffs) on November 18, 1972. In the contract was a provision guaranteeing that the residence would not be in violation of any municipal codes on the closing date. Furthermore, it was agreed that on the closing date, the price of the residence would be paid for in cash. Prior to contracting, Ms. Caspar received a notice from the District of Columbia, stating that she was in violation of several municipal housing codes. The Fergusons became aware of this and obtained an estimate to determine how much it would cost to make the necessary repairs to the residence. This estimate was obtained without Ms. Caspar’s knowledge. The Fergusons made no mention of the violations to Ms. Caspar. On the closing date, the parties met to complete the sale. Ms. Caspar delivered title of the residence to an escrow agent, to be held until the Fergusons completed their requirements under the contract. The Fergusons then delivered a check for the purchase price to the escrow agent. As the parties were about to part ways, the Fergusons delivered instructions to the escrow agent, stating that out of the money they transferred, a portion should be held in the amount of the estimate they received in order to cover repairs. The instructions further stated that this money was not to be paid out until Ms. Caspar made the necessary repairs. The escrow agent then refused to deliver title to the Fergusons. The Fergusons brought suit against Ms. Caspar, demanding specific performance of the sales contract. The trial court ruled in favor of Ms. Caspar, stating that the Fergusons did not complete their requirement of tendering the purchase price in cash. The Fergusons appealed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Reilly, C.J.)

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