Recently Donald Trump was successful in his defense of a claim by a woman who claimed that he was guilty of fraud for failing to allow condominium unit purchasers in the Trump Tower to share in the profits of certain amenities as allegedly promised in Trump’s marketing materials.
Mr. Trump has now again defeated a claim by a defaulting purchaser whose earnest money was subject to forfeiture by reason of his failure to pay the balance remaining due under the contract. The defaulting purchaser claimed that the contract lacked mutuality and therefore was unenforceable because under the terms of the contract, if the seller failed to perform, the buyer’s only remedy was a return of the buyer’s earnest money. The buyer claimed that the seller’s obligation was illusory since the seller could merely refuse to complete the contract and offer the property for sale to someone else at a higher price.
The United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held, however, that since there is an implied obligation in every contract in Illinois of good faith and fair dealing, that the seller did have an obligation to provide good title and to consummate the sale, which was sufficient consideration to make the contract enforceable. Therefore the agreement did not lack mutuality. Trump 2, Buyers 0.