Benjamin Patterson (plaintiff) agreed to sell four properties to Anna Meyerhofer (defendant). Meyerhofer knew that Patterson did not yet own the properties but intended to purchase them at an upcoming foreclosure sale. Later, however, Meyerhofer told Patterson that she would not uphold her end of the bargain. Instead, Meyerhofer attended the foreclosure sale and outbid Patterson on all four properties. Meyerhofer paid $620 less than the total contract price. Meyerhofer also purchased a fifth house, which Patterson alleged was the subject of a parol agreement. According to Patterson, if he was able to buy all five properties, he and Meyerhofer agreed he would keep the fifth for himself. Patterson sued for $620 in damages and demanded that Meyerhofer convey the fifth house to him. The trial judge concluded that there was “no relation of trust” between the parties and that Meyerhofer was free to buy the properties at the sale. The judge also found no parol agreement. The Appellate Division affirmed. Patterson appealed to the Court of Appeals of New York.