ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, January 9, 2012

ScarJo's Mother and Express Conditions

ScarlettI will be teaching express conditions in a few weeks and found a case that I hope will liven up discussion a bit.  The casebook I use relies in part on Luttinger v. Rosen to illustrate the condition precedent concept.  In Luttinger, the plaintiff buyers sought the return of their deposit on a home purchase.  The sale contract was “conditional upon the buyers obtaining…mortgage financing…for a term not less than twenty years and at an interest rate which does not exceed 8 ½ %.”  Because the Buyers could not obtain a mortgage on those terms (the closest they got was 8 ¾ %), they successfully argued that the condition was not satisfied.  In the modern TMZ-worthy version of this kind of dispute, the Luttingers are “played by” Scarlett Johannson’s mother, Melanie Sloan, who is seeking return of her $130,000 deposit on a Manhattan apartment purchase.  Ms. Sloan, like the Luttingers, argues that her inability to obtain financing (allegedly due to her daughter’s recent firing of her as her agent) amounts to the non-occurrence of a condition precedent.  As a result, the now financially-strapped Ms. Sloan believes she no longer is obligated to purchase the apartment.  Unnamed and unreal sources claim that she plans to buy a zoo instead. 

[Heidi R. Anderson]

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