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STEWART V. GRIFFITH, 217 U. S. 323 (1910)

U.S. Supreme Court

Stewart v. Griffith, 217 U.S. 323 (1910)

Stewart v. Griffith

No. 145

Argued April 8, 11, 1910

Decided April 25, 1910

217 U.S. 323


Where, as in this case, a condition of forfeiture in a contract of sale of real estate declaring it to be null and void in case of failure on the part of the vendee to perform is plainly for the benefit of the vendor, the word void means voidable with election to the vendor to waive or to insist upon the condition.

A contract of purchase and sale of real estate, the tenor of which imports mutual undertakings, held in this case to be an absolute contract, and not merely an option to purchase.

In this case, a letter from an executor to a purchaser under an uncompleted contract of sale held not to be a waiver of right to compel specific performance.

The party executing a sealed contract for purchase of real estate as principal cannot avoid specific performance on the ground that he executed as agent for another not mentioned in the instrument.

Under the provisions of § 329, Code of the District of Columbia, an executor who can maintain an action for specific performance in the jurisdiction in which the land lies can maintain it in the District if the defendant there resides.

Under the law of Maryland, an executor may maintain an action for specific performance of a contract made by his testator to convey real estate, and the title conveyed by him is good and valid if he satisfies the Orphans' Court that the entire purchase price is paid, and such condition is a condition subsequent.

A provision giving executors full and complete power over the entire estate, real, personal and mixed, held in this case to imply a devise to the executor of real estate under contract of sale and authority

Page 217 U. S. 324

to convey in order to carry out the contract on receiving the balance due.

As against heirs, real estate under contract of sale made by testator may be treated a personalty and conveyed by the executor safe from any collateral attack upon the will.

31 App.D.C. 29, affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 326

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