Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rouse v. United States case brief

Rouse v. United States case brief summary
215 F.2d 872 (1954)

Defendant appealed summary judgment in favor of plaintiff entered by the District Court (District of Columbia), after that court struck two asserted defenses in action by plaintiff, who guaranteed a note, to collect debt from defendant.

Defendant purchased a home and, in the contract of sale, agreed to assume a debt for a heating plant. The contract did not mention the promissory note that the seller had given to pay for installation of the plant, and which was guaranteed by plaintiff Federal Housing Administration. The seller defaulted on the note. Plaintiff paid the creditor, then sued defendant to recover its payment.


  • Summary judgment in plaintiff's favor was reversed. 
  • First, it was court noted that defendant never signed the note and thus was not liable on it. 
  • Next, the appellate court held the trial court had erred in striking defendant's alleged defense that the seller had fraudulently misrepresented the condition of the heating plant. 
  • Defendant was entitled to assert against the seller's creditor any defense that defendant could have asserted against the seller herself. 
  • Defendant could not, however, assert a defense arising out the installer's work.

Summary judgment reversed, as trial court had erred in concluding defendant was not entitled to assert defense against plaintiff that the home seller, whose debt defendant assumed, had engaged in fraudulent misrepresentation.

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