Levine v. Blumenthal – Case Brief Summary
Summary of Levine v. Blumenthal, 186 A. 457 (NJSup.1936).
Blumenthal (D) obtained a two year lease for commercial space from Levine (P) for $2100 the first year and $2400 for the second. Blumenthal told Levine before the end of the first year that it would be impossible for him to pay the increased rate and Levine allowed him to continue to lease the space at the lower rate until business improved. Blumenthal vacated the space before the end of the second year.
Levine brought this lawsuit to recover the last month’s rent and back rent due for the second year at the higher second year rate. At trial, the court entered judgment for Levine and found that the agreement had been modified but was not enforceable because it was not supported by consideration. Blumenthal appealed.
Is a promise to fulfill an obligation that a promissor is already legally bound to fulfill valid consideration?
Holding and Rule
No. Partial performance is not regarded in law as satisfaction of complete performance unless such an agreement is supported by valid consideration. Blumenthal already had an obligation to pay the higher rate of rent for the second year and did not. That the plaintiff agreed to waive part of that payment does not mean that it is not due. An accord and satisfaction requires consideration. The threat of breach is not valuable consideration to make a promise enforceable.
Judgment for Levine affirmed.
See Paradine v. Jane for a law school contracts case brief involving an issue of whether a lessee was obliged to fulfill the terms of a lease after the property was seized an occupied by a third party.