Dorsey v. Packwood
53 U.S. 126 (1851)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Dorsey v. Packwood, 53 U.S. 12 How. 126 126 (1851)

Dorsey v. Packwood

53 U.S. (12 How.) 126

Syllabus

An agreement whereby the purchaser of a plantation

"bound himself to transfer to his son-in-law one-half of the plantation, slaves, cattle, and stock as soon as the son-in-law should pay for one-half of the cost of said property, either with his own private means, or with one-half of the profits of the plantation"

was deficient in mutuality. The son-in-law was not bound to render any services nor pay any money. It was a nude pact.

It was not in alternative obligation upon the son-in-law, because the election to pay his half out of the profits would have been merely paying with another man's money.

Even if the agreement possessed mutuality, there was no performance, or offer of performance by the son-in-law for twenty-seven years.

Moreover, fifteen years after the agreement, when the plantation was likely to prove a ruinous purchase, the son-in-law abandoned and released all his claim.

This was an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The leading facts in the case are stated in the opinion of the Court, to which the reader is referred.

Upon the hearing in the circuit court, the bill was dismissed, and Dorsey appealed to this Court.

Page 53 U. S. 134

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