Patterson v. Meyerhofer

97 N.E. 472, 204 N.Y. 96 (1912)

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Patterson v. Meyerhofer

New York Court of Appeals
97 N.E. 472, 204 N.Y. 96 (1912)

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Facts

By written contract, Benjamin Patterson (plaintiff) agreed to sell four properties to Anna Meyerhofer (defendant) for $23,000. Meyerhofer knew that Patterson did not yet own the properties but intended to purchase them at an upcoming foreclosure sale. Before the foreclosure sale, 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 a total of $22,380, which was $620 less than she agreed to pay in the contract with Patterson. Meyerhofer also purchased a fifth house, which Patterson alleged was the subject of a parol agreement. According to Patterson, he and Meyerhofer had orally agreed that if Patterson was able to buy all five properties at the foreclosure sale, he would keep the fifth for himself. Patterson filed a breach-of-contract claim for Meyerhofer’s violation of the written contract, seeking $620 in damages. He also brought an equitable claim, seeking an order requiring Meyerhofer to convey the fifth house to him. The trial judge concluded that Meyerhofer was free to buy the properties at the sale and Patterson could not recover damages. The judge also found no parol agreement. The appellate division affirmed, and Patterson appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bartlett, J.)

Dissent (Chase, J.)

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