Baker v. Smith & Gottlieb, Inc.

Decision Date30 November 1942
Docket NumberNo. 8059.,8059.
Citation132 F.2d 18,76 US App. DC 403
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

Mr. John F. Lillard, of Hyattsville, Md., with whom Mr. N. Meyer Baker, of Washington, D. C., was on the brief, for appellant.

Messrs. Samuel F. Beach and James Gill, both of Washington, D. C., for appellee.

Before GRONER, Chief Justice, and MILLER and EDGERTON, Associate Justices.


Appellant in July, 1939, entered into a written contract to purchase from appellee a certain piece of improved real property located in Takoma Park, Maryland, within the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia. The contract was written on what is described as a District of Columbia form, the last paragraph of which was as follows:

"The property is sold free of encumbrance except as aforesaid; * * *

"Rents, taxes, water rent, insurance and interest on existing encumbrances, if any, and operating charges are to be adjusted to the date of the transfer. Taxes, general and special, are to be adjusted according to the certificate of taxes issued by the Collector of Taxes of the District of Columbia, except that assessments for improvements completed prior to the date hereof, whether assessment therefor has been levied or not, shall be paid by the seller or allowance made therefor at the time of transfer."

After payment of the purchase money and delivery of the deed appellant received notice that the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission had levied an annual front foot benefit charge of $15.68 for a period of fifty years, dischargeable at once upon the payment of $367.78. The levy was for the cost of sewer and water improvements completed prior to the date of the contract, which had been authorized by appellee and of which appellant had no notice until after delivery of the property to him.

Appellant, claiming that the levy for the improvements was a lien upon the property, brought this action to recover on the ground that appellee had breached the contract by failure to deliver the property free of encumbrances. The trial court held for the defendant on the theory that plaintiff had not maintained the burden of proof.

We are of opinion that the lower court was in error. The Maryland statute1 makes the cost of construction of water mains and sewers such as we are concerned with here subject to a per front foot benefit charge and makes this charge a lien upon the...

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6 cases
  • Flack v. Laster
    • United States
    • D.C. Court of Appeals
    • June 13, 1980
    ...(1902); McReynolds v. Mortgage & Acceptance Corp., 56 App.D.C. 342, 343, 13 F.2d 313, 314 (1926). See also Baker v. Gottlieb, 76 U.S.App.D.C. 403, 404, 132 F.2d 18, 19 (1942); Deuel v. McCollum, 1 Ariz.App. 188, 190-91, 400 P.2d 859, 861-62 (1965); 3 Corbin, Contracts § 548; Restatement of ......
  • Manor Real Estate Co. v. Jos. M. Zamoiski Co.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • October 11, 1968
    ...86 L.Ed. 1555 (1942); District Title Ins. Co. v. United States, 83 U.S.App.D.C. 335, 169 F.2d 308 (1948); Baker v. Smith & Gottlieb, Inc., 76 U.S.App.D.C. 403, 132 F.2d 18 (1942); Ahrens v. Broyhill, 117 A.2d 452 (D.C.Mun.App.1955); Union Realty Co., Inc. v. Ahern, 93 A.2d 84 (D.C.Mun.App.1......
  • Smith & Gottlieb Inc. v. Cheatham.
    • United States
    • D.C. Court of Appeals
    • December 21, 1942 the cost of this improvement is imposed upon the property as a benefit charge and constitutes a lien thereon. Baker v. Smith & Gottlieb, Inc., App.D.C., 132 F.2d 18 decided November 30, 1942. It could have been discharged in the present instance (at the time of the transfer) by a paymen......
  • Yuen v. Durham
    • United States
    • D.C. Court of Appeals
    • March 5, 1985
    ...the plaintiff was entitled to recover an amount sufficient to indemnify him for future installments. Citing Baker v. Smith & Gottlieb, 76 U.S. App.D.C. 403, 132 F.2d 18 (1942), and quoting Mr. Chief Justice Holmes in Walton v. Ruggles, 180 Mass. 24, 61 N.E. 267 (1901), the court further The......
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