Price v. Van Lint
Supreme Court of New Mexico, 1941.
46 N.M. 58, 120 P.2d 611.

Facts:

Price wanted to buy a small piece of land and start a business. Van Lint agreed to loan him $1,500, and as security, Price would give him a mortgage on the land.

  • Both parties were aware that there would be a delay before the deed could be delivered, because it had to go through the Netherlands first.
  • Van Lint backed out, and Price sued.

History:

The trial court ruled in favor of Price.

Issue:

Whether Price’s promise to give the mortgage and Van Lint’s promise to make the loan were dependent or independent.

Holding:

Independent. Ruling in favor of Price, although the trial court erred in measuring damages.

Reasoning:

  • The general rule now is that promises are construed to be dependent, UNLESS the surrounding circumstances say otherwise.
  • Here, that was the case:
    • As mentioned, both parties were aware of the impending delay, and by Van Lint not going through with the loan, Price suffered by having the completion date of his new business pushed back.