Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rego v. Decker case brief

Rego v. Decker case brief summary
482 P.2d 834 (1971)

Appellant landlords sought review of a judgment of the superior court (Alaska), which granted appellee tenant damages and specific performance in his action against the landlords and their grantees for breach of an option contract for the sale of the premises to him. The landlords claimed that specific performance should not have been granted without conditioning such performance on the tenant's providing security for his performance.

The landlords failed to convey the leased premises to the tenant after notification that he exercised his option to purchase the property, and they sold the property to someone else. The tenant brought an action for specific performance, which was granted by the trial court. The tenant was also awarded damages.


  • In the landlords' appeal, the court affirmed the judgment below in part and remanded it in part, concluding that specific performance, while proper, should have been conditioned on payment of the full purchase price or on adequate security for the landlords. 
  • There also was no evidence supporting the damages. 
  • Security for the landlords may have been within the parties' contemplation in signing the contract but the contract was silent on the issue and the trial court made no findings on it. 
  • Specific performance, however, was properly granted despite the possible uncertainty because the tenant entered into possession of the premises in part in reliance on the option to purchase. 
  • The court ruled, however, that given the uncertainty of the tenant's performance and the long payout under the option, the decree should have been fashioned to minimize the impact of those factors.
In the contract action, the court affirmed the trial court's grant of specific performance to the tenant against the landlords, ordering them to convey the property to him. The court also remanded the case for the trial court to order payment of the full purchase price immediately or to fashion an appropriate security for the landlords and to take additional evidence on the issue of damages.

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