Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chirichella v. Erwin case brief

Chirichella v. Erwin case brief summary
310 A.2d 555 (1973)

Appellant sellers challenged a decision of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County (Maryland), which entered a decree for specific performance of a contract for the sale of real estate.

The sellers had entered into a contract to sell their home to appellee buyers by a certain time. A provision was inserted into the contract near the anticipated closing date that referenced the settlement of a new home the sellers were building. The sellers found the new home unsatisfactory and refused to sell their home to the buyers. The buyers brought suit to enforce the contract and were awarded specific performance.


  • The court agreed with the lower court that the provision for settlement inserted in the contract was not a condition precedent to performance, but merely a requirement that settlement take place during the month of the anticipated closing date, or within a reasonable time thereafter. 
  • Because more than a reasonable time had elapsed, the buyers were entitled to a decree for specific performance. 
  • The court held that although the amendment had attempted to link one settlement with the other, its only effect was to insure that the time designation not be regarded as of the essence.

The court affirmed the lower court's award of specific performance of the real estate contract.

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