Graffam v. Burgess,
117 U.S. 180 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Graffam v. Burgess, 117 U.S. 180 (1886)

Graffam v. Burgess

Argued December 3, 1885

Decided March 1, 1886

117 U.S. 180


A judicial sale of real estate will not be set aside for inadequacy of price unless the inadequacy be so great as to shock the conscience or unless there be additional circumstances against its fairness.

Great inadequacy of price at a judicial sale of real estate requires only slight circumstances of unfairness in the conduct of the party benefited by the sale to raise a presumption of fraud.

If the inadequacy of price paid for the purchase of real estate at a sale on an

Page 117 U. S. 181

execution be so gross as to shock the conscience, or if in addition to gross inadequacy the purchaser has been guilty of unfairness or has taken any undue advantage, or if the owner of the property or the party interested in it has been for any other reason misled or surprised, then the sale will be regarded as fraudulent and void, and the party injured will be permitted to redeem the property sold.

Looking at the whole facts in this case, the Court finds traces of design on the part of plaintiff in error to mislead defendant in error, to lull her into security and thus prevent her from redeeming her property sold on execution within the period allowed by the statute of the state, and the Court sustains the action of the court below in making a decree allowing redemption of the same after the expiration of that period.

After hearing of the proofs, a bill in equity may be amended so as to put in issue matters in dispute and in proof but not sufficiently put in issue by the original bill.

This was a bill to redeem from a sale of real estate in Massachusetts under an execution issued from one of the state courts. The suit was commenced after the expiration of the period allowed by the statutes of that state for redeeming from such a sale. The facts which make the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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