Friday, December 27, 2013

McCallister v. Patton case brief

McCallister v. Patton case brief summary
215 S.W.2d 701 (1948)

Plaintiff appealed a judgment of the Craighead Chancery Court, Western District (Arkansas), which sustained a demurrer to his complaint seeking specific performance of a sales contract.

Plaintiff sought specific performance for breach of a contract to purchase an automobile, arguing that damages in an action at law would be inadequate, because automobiles were very scarce, and he would not be able to use damages obtained to buy another one. Defendant argued that plaintiff's complaint did not state facts sufficient to entitle him to specific performance.


  • The court agreed, noting that automobiles, though scarce, were not in the category of "unique chattel" such that damages in an action at law for breach of contract would be inadequate relief. 
  • The court found that the complaint did not allege that the particular car in question had special or peculiar qualities that made it practically impossible to replace, and that complaint set forth no harm or inconvenience that could not be compensated by a damage award.

The court affirmed the judgment, holding that specific performance was not appropriate because plaintiff had not shown that the automobile he had contracted to purchase was so unique that any remedy at law would be inadequate.

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