Law School Case Brief
Giannini v. First Nat'l Bank (1985) - 136 Ill. App. 3d 971, 91 Ill. Dec. 438, 483 N.E.2d 924 (1985)
Where the parties have fairly and understandingly entered into a valid contract for the sale of real property, specific performance of the contract is a matter of right and equity will enforce it, absent circumstances of oppression and fraud.
John Giannini, d/b/a J. G. Sewer Contractors and Frank R. Stape Builders, Inc. (“Stape Builders”) executed an agreement for the purchase to buy a condominium that was to be constructed, and Giannini paid a large amount of earnest money on the property. Although the building containing the property was constructed, it was never formally declared a condominium and as a result the terms of the agreement were never fulfilled. Giannini argued that he was entitled to specific performance and money damages and that he should have been allowed to amend his complaint. Unity Savings Association (“Unity”), mortgage holder, argued that it now controlled the property, that specific performance was impossible, and that res judicata prohibited the amendment of Giannini's complaint.
Was specific performance an available remedy in this case?
The court concluded that the unit in question physically existed; Unity had retained control of the property through a foreclosure proceeding; any "non-existence" claimed by Unity was due to its refusal to declare the building a condominium; the condominium was real property; specific performance was an available remedy; and allowing Giannini to amend his complaint did not prejudice Unity.
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