Chavez v. Bergere,
231 U.S. 482 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chavez v. Bergere, 231 U.S. 482 (1913)

Chavez v. Bergere

No. 5

Submitted October 30, 1913

Decided December 8, 1913

231 U.S. 482


Although containing some words adapted to a present transfer, if the instrument, taken in its entirety, shows that it was a mere contract to convey upon a specified contingency, it will be construed as such, and not as a conveyance. Williams v. Paine, 169 U. S. 55.

Where an alleged Mexican grant was rejected, one who was in possession under a contract to purchase the same if confirmed, and who thereafter acquired portions thereof under the public land laws, was not obliged to surrender such portions in order to recover what he had paid his vendor on account of the contract to purchase the entire tract.

Possession by the vendor under an uncompleted contract to purchase is not adverse to the vendor, nor does it become so until after unequivocal repudiation of the relation created by the contract.

Manifest intention of the parties must be given full effect, and so held that approval by the Surveyor General of a Mexican grant referred to the approval of the grant by the proper authority.

Where a contract to purchase under which the vendee is in possession is terminated by an event which renders it impossible for the vendee to complete, his continued possession thereafter is without right, and if he sets up an adverse right in himself, demand for surrender is not a prerequisite to maintenance of ejectment.

In ejectment, defendants who acquired possession as conditional vendees of the plaintiff are estopped from calling in question the title of the latter.

1 N.M. 352 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of a contract for sale of an unconfirmed Mexican grant and the relative rights of the parties thereto, are stated in the opinion.

Page 231 U. S. 483

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