Hepburn and Dundas' Heirs v. Dunlop & Co.,
14 U.S. 179 (1816)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hepburn and Dundas' Heirs v. Dunlop & Co., 14 U.S. 179 (1816)

Hepburn and Dundas' Heirs v. Dunlop & Company

14 U.S. 179


A court of equity will in general decree a specific performance of an agreement for the sale of lands if the vendor is able to make a good title at any time before the decree is pronounced, but the dismission of a bill brought by the vendor to enforce a specific performance, on account of a defect in the title, is a perpetual bar to a new bill brought for the same object, unless perhaps in a case where an original bill in the nature of a bill of review might be entertained.

The inability of the vendor to make a good title at the time the decree is pronounced, though it forms a sufficient ground for refusing a specific performance, will not authorize a court of equity to rescind the agreement in a case where the parties have an adequate remedy at law for its breach.

The alienage of the vendee is an insufficient ground to entitle the vendor to a decree fair rescinding a contract for the sale of lands, though it may afford a reason for refusing a specific performance as against the vendee.

But if the parties have not an adequate remedy at law, the vendor may be considered as a trustee for whoever may become purchasers under a sale by order of the court, for the benefit of the vendee.

Where the vendor is indebted to the vendee and the sale is made in order to pay the debt, the vendor must pay interest from the time the debt is liquidated until he makes a good title, and the vendee is accountable for the rents and profits from the time the title is perfected until the contract is specifically performed.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court, and the controversy is the

Page 14 U. S. 180

same as in the suits between the same parties reported in 5 U. S. 1 Cranch 321, and 9 U. S. 5 Cranch 262.

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