VAUGHAN v. BLANCHARD, 4 U.S. 124 (1792)

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U.S. Supreme Court

VAUGHAN v. BLANCHARD, 4 U.S. 124 (1792)

4 U.S. 124 (Dall.)

Vaughan et al. Assignees of Nancarrow
Blanchard et al.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

September Term, 1792

DEBT, for rent. The facts were these: Nancarrow advertised to let the room and front cellar of a house, which he rented from Pemberton; and the defendants agreed to take them at 130l. per annum, commencing the 27th of July 1784, and continuing till the end of Nancarrow's term in the house. A lease in writing was drawn, but never executed, though the defendants entered into possession of the premises, made some repairs, and paid a part of the rent. Soon, however, after the defendants had taken possession of the room and cellar, it was again advertised to be let, with directions to apply to them for particulars; and, accordingly, they let the premises to one Dixon; Dixon, again let them to Fox, the agent of a merchant of the name of Leuffer; and Leuffer deposited a considerable quantity of merchandize in the cellar. Nancarrow now claimed a right to pass through the front cellar, into the back cellar; Leuffer objected to it; but, upon Nancorrow's persevering, he took another house, at the end of Dixon's time ( 6 or 9 months) to which he removed his goods. Leuffer's agent offered to pay his rent to Nancarrow, but Nancarrow refused to accept it, unless the receipt was taken, as from Blanchard. Under these circumstances, the present action was brought to recover a half year's rent, on a demise (as stated in the declaration) to hold from the 27th of July 1784, until the expiration of Nancarrow's term in the premises, with an averment that Nancarrow had a lease from Pemberton. Blanchard, then, instituted an action against Fox, to whom the premises were under-let for Leuffer; but declaring that he would only prosecute his claim, if he was compelled to pay the plaintiffs, in the present suit.

Page 4 U.S. 124, 125

1st. Sergeant and Ingersoll, for the defendants, moved to nonsuit the plaintiffs, because there was no proof of a lease from Pemberton to Nancarrow, as the declaration averred. The only ground of recovery in this action, is either, that the defendants actually occupied the premises; or that the plaintiffs, in pursuance of the bargain, had vested them with a right of occupancy. Now, the lease of the defendants was made dependent upon the lease of Pemberton; and non constat that such a lease existed, as it has not been produced, or any regular account given of it. Doug. 642, 3.

But, by the COURT:

Whether it is necessary, or not, in this action, to prove the existence of a lease from Pemberton, there is no ground for a nonsuit. The plaintiffs have offered some evidence to show, that Nancarrow possessed a term in the house; and of the operation and effect of that evidence, however it applies to the issue, the jury must judge and decide.

2d. In the charge to the jury, it was stated by the COURT, that the cause depends upon a single fact, whether Nancarrow had a right of passage through the front, into the back, cellar? The affirmative, it was incumbent on the plaintiffs to prove; but they had not proved it, either by written, or parol, evidence. Then, the law declares, that such an interruption, in the enjoyment of the premises, demised, will suspend the rent.

Verdict for the defendants.

Full Text of Opinion

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