Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cohen v. Kranz case brief

Cohen v. Kranz case brief summary
189 N.E.2d 473 (1963)

Appellant sought review of an order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department (New York), which reversed the trial court's judgment and rendered judgment in appellees' favor in an action involving a real estate transaction.

Appellant contracted to purchase appellees' residence. Appellant paid a deposit on the contract, the balance being due upon delivery of the deed, and a closing was set. No indication was ever given that title would be rejected. Subsequently, appellant's attorney sent appellees' attorney a letter stating that, pursuant to an investigation, the present structure of the premises was not legal and thus its title was unmarketable; as such, the law office required a check within five days, or suit would commence. Appellant's attorney appeared at the office of appellees' attorney and demanded return of the deposit, which was refused. Neither party was then able to perform and neither made any tender. Appellant thereafter commenced an action for return of the deposit plus the costs of searching title; appellees cross-claimed for breach of contract damages.

The court found that appellant's actions made appellees' performance impossible, and thus appellees' nonperformance was excused.

The court affirmed judgment for appellees and found that defects of title were curable but, because curing of title was made impossible by appellant's acts, appellees' inability to cure the minor defects was excused.

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