18 D.C. 1 (D.C.D.C. 1888), 10,329, Cox v. Cox

Docket Nº:In Equity. 10,329.
Citation:18 D.C. 1
Opinion Judge:Mr. Chief Justice BINGHAM:
Party Name:JOHN COX v. CATHARINE COX ET AL.
Attorney:Messrs. CARUSI and MILLER for purchaser. Messrs. RALSTON and THOMAS for the trustees.
Case Date:November 05, 1888
Court:Supreme Court of District of Columbia
 
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18 D.C. 1 (D.C.D.C. 1888)

JOHN COX

v.

CATHARINE COX ET AL.

In Equity. No. 10,329.

Supreme Court, District of Columbia.

November 5, 1888

1. A purchaser at a judicial sale has no right to question the regularity of the proceedings prior to a decree of sale.

2. But such a purchaser will not be required to take a doubtful title, however derived or acquired.

3. A title by adverse possession, when that possession has continued for such period as is required by the Statute of Limitations to bar an action, is as good a title as any.

4. Where a perfect title by more than forty years' adverse possession has been shown beyond a reasonable doubt the court will require the purchaser to comply with the terms of sale.

APPEAL by a purchaser at a judicial sale from an order requiring him to comply with the terms of sale.

THE FACTS are stated in the opinion.

Adverse possession of lands for such a length of time as will bar an action for their recovery constitutes a good title thereto, which a purchaser at a judicial sale will be compelled to take.

Messrs. CARUSI and MILLER for purchaser.

It is true that a trustee appointed by a court of equity is the agent of the court to sell, and the sale made by him is a transaction between the court and the purchaser; and it may be claimed by the complainant and defendants that the doctrine of caveat emptor applies. Yet, if before payment of money and notification of sale, the purchaser discovers a defect of title, at a proper time he may be relieved from his purchase by asking the court a rescission of the same. Bolgiano vs. Cooke et al. , 19 Md. 375; Ridgely vs. McLaughlin, 3 H. & McH., 221, 222; Glenn Morton vs. Clapp, 11 Gill 10.

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Again, it is well settled in equity, that a specific performance of a contract of purchase will not be decreed at the instance of vendor unless his ability to make a title is unquestionable.

If no incumbrance be communicated to the purchaser, or known to him to exist, he must suppose himself to purchase an unincumbered estate, and therefore his objection to taking it need not be confined to cases of doubtful title , but may even extend to encumbrances of any description, which may embarrass him in the full enjoyment of his purchase. Garnett vs. Brooks, 2 Call (Va.), 308.

Also a court of equity ought not compel a purchaser to take an estate which it cannot warrant to him. It has, therefore, become a settled rule that a purchaser should not be compelled to accept a doubtful title. Craig vs. Shatto, 9 Watts & Sergt., 83, 84.

Again, it is settled, a court of equity will not compel a purchaser to take a doubtful title , if there is such an uncertainty about the title as to affect its marketable value , and even though a court might consider it good, still the contract may not be specifically enforced. Vreeland vs. Blimvelt, 23 N. J. (Eq.), 485.

It is settled that " when parties enter...

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