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For purposes of contract law, a condition is considered as accomplished when the debtor, bound under that condition, has prevented its accomplishment. Former La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2040. It is clear, then, the law does not permit the party whose obligation depends on a condition, to allege the non-performance of that condition in defense, where it was through his fault it was not performed. It is a trite and perfectly well established principle of jurisprudence, that no man can take advantage of his own wrong, and the law has been careful to make a special application of this maxim to cases where conditions form part of the contract.
Plaintiff, George W. Garig Transfer, Inc., a Louisiana corporation, and defendant, J. Dolan Harris, d/b/a Magnolia Express, a resident of Mississippi, entered into an agreement whereby the defendant was to sell the certificate to operate a common carrier to plaintiff, in exchange of $4,000. At the time of the execution of the agreement, a joint petition to carry out the transfer had been filed with the Public Service Commission. The Commission did not consider the matter until its meeting of August 23, 1950. In the meantime, on August 9, the defendant had filed a written motion stating his desire to withdraw from the joint petition and seeking to have the matter dismissed. The PSC ruled that the transfer would have been approved, but that it was without power to prevent the business owner's withdrawal. The plaintiff thereupon instituted the present proceedings, seizing the contract of sale of the certificate and the sum on deposit with the escrow agent, by way of garnishment under a writ of attachment. The district court first held that it had jurisdiction of the res, i.e., the certificate in question, and declared that the plaintiff was the owner of the certificate. The district court, however, held that the plaintiff failed to show that it was entitled to damages. Both parties appealed.
The Court first held that the district court had jurisdiction because the defendant filed a responsive pleading with the trial court. The Court also rejected the defendant’s argument that the sale was contingent on approval of the transfer by the PSC, and since the PSC never gave its approval, there was no sale. According to the Court, by withdrawing from the joint petition, the defendant caused the failure to receive PSC approval. This conclusion was bolstered by the PSC's ruling that but for the withdrawal of the business owner, the transfer would have been approved. Regarding damages, the Court concluded that the plaintiff failed to show the actual amount of additional business it would have obtained if it had obtained the certificate when promised.