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MacFadden v. Walker

California Supreme Court
488 P.2d 1353 (1971)


Facts

In 1950, Claudia Walker (defendant) entered a contract to buy land from Ellsworth MacFadden (plaintiff), and Walker took possession of the land. The parties agreed to an installment contract in which Walker would make $20 monthly payments, representing both principal and interest. The contract provided that, if Walker defaulted on the payments, then MacFadden could take back the land and keep what Walker had already paid as payment for Walker’s use of the land prior to defaulting. Walker made the monthly payments for 10 years, but then she stopped paying when an unknown person took timber from the land. Walker still owed about $1,000 at that time. MacFadden tried to notify Walker that he was taking back the land because she was in default, but Walker claimed she never got the notice. MacFadden sued Walker to quiet title to the property by having the court declare that MacFadden owned the property. Walker offered to pay the amount she owed plus interest, but MacFadden said no. Walker then sued MacFadden, asking the court to require MacFadden to accept Walker’s payment in exchange for the land. The trial court ruled for Walker on the basis that her breach was not willful. MacFadden appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wright, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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