Lawson v. Floyd
124 U.S. 108 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lawson v. Floyd, 124 U.S. 108 (1888)

Lawson v. Floyd

Argued December 22, 1887

Decided January 9, 1888

124 U.S. 108

Syllabus

In 1857, F. and L. entered into an agreement whereby F. was to convey to L. two tracts of land at an assumed value of $26,000, on which was an indebtedness estimated at about $18,000. L. was to assume and pay that indebtedness, and was to convey to F. "five town lots" and "about 1,000 acres of land," "being all the lands owned by said L." at that place, all valued at $10,000, and F. was to pay to L. what might be found due on these assumed values after adjusting the indebtedness. Each party took possession of the lands acquired by the exchange. F. conveyed to L. and L. assumed and paid the indebtedness. L. retained title of the lands to be conveyed to F. until F. should pay the difference. In 1871, the amount being unpaid, L. brought suit against F. and J., to whom F. had conveyed a portion of the land. This suit was compromised by a further agreement in which the tract was described as land "sold by said L. to said F. estimated to contain 1,000 acres." On a survey had after that compromise, it was found that the tract in question fell much short of 1,000 acres. F. filed this bill in 1877 seeking, among other things, to prevent the collection of the difference found due to L. in the original exchange on the ground that the contract was for a conveyance of 1,000 acres and that the representations of L. in this respect had been false and fraudulent.

Held:

(1) That taken in connection with all the facts proved, L.'s representation could not be regarded as fraudulently made.

(2) That the governing element in the transaction being that it was an exchange of several tracts of land between the parties, the contract was not to be construed by the strict rule which might govern its interpretation if it were an independent purchase to be paid for in money.

(3) That, thus construed, it was not an agreement by L. that the tract contained 1,000 acres which bound him to make good the difference between 1,000 acres and the quantity found within the boundaries by actual survey.

Bill in equity. Decree for the complainant. Respondent

appealed. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 124 U. S. 109

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