Friday, September 21, 2012

Vanadium Corp. v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. case brief

Vanadium Corp. v. Fidelity & Deposit Co
Heading: 159 F.2d 105

-Plaintiff vendee and defendant vendor entered into a contract for the assignment of defendant’s interests in two leases. Plaintiff made an advance payment and defendant surety provided a bond securing performance of the contract by defendant.
-A condition of the contract was approval of the assignment of defendant leaseholder’s interests by the Secretary of Interior. When it became clear this approval would not be given, plaintiff brought an action to recover his advance payment.
-Under the terms of the contract, plaintiff was entitled to his payment unless his acts justified defendants’ refusal to make the refund.

Procedural History:
-Plaintiff vendee sought review of a judgment of the United States District Court (the case having been removed from the Supreme Court of the State of New York because of diverse citizenship).
-The district court entered judgment for defendants, vendor and surety, in an action by plaintiff to recover its advance payment under contract for the sale of mining leases.
-Court affirmed judgment for defendants because plaintiff had breached the condition precedent requiring him to cooperate in obtaining the Secretary’s approval.
-The court held that documents produced by the Department of the Interior, which proved plaintiff’s failure to so cooperate came within the official records exception to hearsay and concerned matters to which the officers could have testified.

-Whenever the cooperation of one of the contracting parties is necessary for the performance of the contract, there is a condition implied that the cooperation will be given.
-You can’t work against the very people you contracted with, you have to try to fulfill the condition to the extent that it’s in your control you have to make sure they occur.

-In a contract, wherever the cooperation of the promisee is necessary for the performance of the promise, there is a condition implied in the fact that the cooperation will be given.

-Court affirmed the judgment for defendants vendor and surety, in an action by plaintiff vendee under contract for purchase of lease interests for return of his advance payment because plaintiff failed to cooperate, which was a condition precedent for defendant’s contractual duty.

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