BELL v. ANDREWS, 4 U.S. 152 (1796)

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U.S. Supreme Court

BELL v. ANDREWS, 4 U.S. 152 (1796)

4 U.S. 152 (Dall.)


Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

March Term, 1796

THIS was an action on the case, to recover damages, for the breach of an agreement to sell and convey to the plaintiff, in fee simple, a tract of land in Westmoreland county.

The plaintiff offered parol evidence of the agreement, as stated in the declaration; of a payment of the price of the land; of the defendant's subsequent acknowledgment of the sale and payment; and of the defendant's refusal to execute a conveyance.

The defendant objected to any proof of a parol agreement, for the sale of lands in fee simple, as the act for prevention of frauds and perjuries (1 State Laws, 640. Dall. edit.) required, expressly, that all such agreements, to have the full effect, must be put in writing, and be signed by the parties, or their agents.

But, by the COURT:

The payment of the consideration money, may, certainly, be proved by parol evidence. The agreement, being then executed by one of the parties, is not affected by the act of assembly; and it is settled, that the English statute against frauds and perjuries, was never extended to Pennsylvania. The act of assembly does not make a parol agreement, for the sale of lands, void; though it restricts the operation of the agreement, as to the acquisition of an interest in the land, and no title in fee simple can be derived under it. But, certainly, an action will lie to recover damages for the non-performance of such an agreement.

The objection to the evidence over-ruled.

Full Text of Opinion

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