Preston v. Preston
95 U.S. 200 (1877)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Preston v. Preston, 95 U.S. 200 (1877)

Preston v. Preston

95 U.S. 200

Syllabus

1. A contract for the conveyance of lands which a court of equity will specifically enforce must be certain in its terms, and the certainty required has reference both to the description of the property and the estate to be conveyed. Accordingly, where the property could not be identified, specific performance was denied.

2. Where one having such a contract permitted the other party to execute a deed of trust of the lands to a trustee to secure certain indebtedness, with a power to sell them if necessary for the payment of such indebtedness, held that he had waived his right to the conveyance, or at least had subordinated it to the interest of the trustee and the purchasers under him.

3. The delay of a party in taking proceedings to enforce such a contract for a period which would bar an action at law for the property is, except under special circumstances, such laches as disentitle him to the aid of a court of equity.

This was a suit brought in the court below Jan. 8, 1873, by John Preston, Jr., against Thomas L. Preston, James C. Campbell, Arthur C. Cummings, William Alex. Stuart, and George W. Palmer for the specific performance of an agreement made Aug. 30, 1847, for the conveyance of certain lands.

The facts of the case are fully stated in the opinion of the Court.

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