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Grooms v. Williams

Decided: December 6, 1961.

GROOMS ET UX.
v.
WILLIAMS ET UX.



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County; Shure, J.

Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Hammond, Prescott and Sybert, JJ. Hammond, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Hammond

William Henry Grooms and his wife filed a bill praying the

court to reform a contract for the purchase by them of one hundred twenty-one acres of a one hundred twenty-five acre tract of land in Montgomery County from Edward Williams and his wife, the appellees, and to compel specific performance of the contract as reformed. The chancellor sustained a demurrer to the bill because it appeared to him from the bill there had been "no meeting of the minds with respect to the subject real estate," and the Groomses appealed.

The Groomses earlier had filed a bill for specific performance of the contract as written, and a demurrer to that bill was sustained without leave to amend, on the ground that the contract was too indefinite to justify the court in compelling its consummation. No request for amendment was made and no appeal taken. The details of the first suit and its outcome are set forth by the Groomses in their bill for reformation, and in this Court the parties have briefed and argued whether the rules as to election of remedies and res judicata, or either, bar the second suit. The demurrer to the bill for reformation does not mention either defense and so fails to comply with Maryland Rule 345 b (in that it does not "state in detail the question of law or insufficiency of substance upon which the demurrer is founded"), made applicable to equity by Rule 373 b. Under the rules mentioned and Rule 885 the contentions as to election of remedies and res judicata are not properly before us on appeal and will not be passed on. Baltimore County v. Glendale Corp., 219 Md. 465.

We shall assume without deciding that the first suit was not a bar to the second since, in our view, the contract, if reformed as the Groomses ask, would not meet the standards necessary for specific enforcement.

The contract of sale was on a printed form. Its pertinent provisions (the italicized portions being the typewritten insertions) are: a $10 deposit on purchase of "121 acres on Route 118 near Darnstown, Md." for $65,000, of which $12,000 cash was to be paid at the date of conveyance, and:

"The purchaser is to place, a first deed of trust secured on the premises of a minimum of $21,000.00 * * * bearing interest at the rate of 6% per cent per

annum, payable approximately $250.00 per month due and payable in four years.

The balance of deferred purchase money is to be secured by a Second Deed of Trust on said property, to be paid in monthly installments of $397.50 or more including interest at the rate of 6% per annum, said payments to begin when the property is improved with dwelling houses, and said houses are sold * * *.

20 acres of said land are subordinated to the purchasers for immediate improvement, and such other tracts shall be subordinated ...


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