In a valid contract for 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. A decision by a trial court to allow amendment of a complaint is within its discretion, and will not be disturbed unless there is a showing of an abuse of that discretion.
John Giannini, d/b/a J. G. Sewer Contractors (Giannini), executed an agreement to purchase a condominium unit in the Castilian Courts Condominium Complex to be constructed in Glenview and paid $ 62,330 in earnest money on the property. Although the building in which his unit was located was subsequently constructed, it was never formally declared a condominium, and as a result, the terms of the agreement were never fulfilled. Giannini accordingly filed a complaint against First National Bank and other defendants requesting specific performance and money damages. The trial court dismissed the complaint for specific performance and denied Giannini the opportunity to amend his complaint. An appeal followed.
Were the trial court’s denial of specific performance and denial of the opportunity to amend the complaint proper?
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. In considering whether to grant a motion to amend, a trial court should consider such factors as whether the proposed amendment would cure the defective pleading; whether other parties would sustain prejudice or surprise by virtue of the proposed amendment; whether the proposed amendment is timely, and whether previous opportunities to amend can be identified. A trial court's power to allow amendment should be fully exercised in order that litigants may completely present their causes of action, and doubts should be decided in favor of allowance of the amendment. The decision whether to permit an amendment to a complaint lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, and its decision will not be disturbed on review absent a showing of an abuse of that discretion.