McCallister v. Patton – Case Brief

McCallister v. Patton, 214 Ark. 293, 215 S.W.2d 701 (1948).

Facts: McCallister (P) entered into a contract with Patton (D) for the purchase of a Ford car. McCallister was required to pay a $25 deposit and enter a queue to wait for a car to become available. Patton was required to deliver a car as soon as possible to McCallister at Patton’s regular price.

D refused to honor the contract and P sued for specific performance. D demurred on the grounds that the contract was invalid because it lacked mutuality of obligation and certainty of subject matter. The court sustained D’s demurrer and dismissed P’s claim. P appealed.

Issue: Under what circumstances is the remedy of specific performance applicable?

Holding and Rule: The remedy of specific performance may be applied to personal property if it has peculiar, unique, or sentimental value to the buyer not compensable via money damages.

P contended that the court should take judicial notice of the scarcity of new automobiles as a result of the recent war and order specific performance. The court held that in this case it was not alleged that the car ordered had any special or peculiar qualities not commonly possessed by others of the same make so as to make it practically impossible to replace it in the market. The inconvenience of not being able to obtain one because of supply and demand alone is not sufficient to warrant application of specific performance. P’s damages could be compensated via money damages.

Disposition: Affirmed.


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