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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
SHEN et al. v. BRUCE.
41916.
Action on contract, etc. Hall Superior Court. Before Judge Kenyon.
JORDAN, Judge.
The plaintiffs' petition stated a cause of action and the trial court erred in sustaining the defendant's general and special demurrers.
This is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court sustaining the defendant's general and special demurrers to the plaintiffs' petition and dismissing same. The petition which was brought in two counts alleged that on July 2, 1962, the defendant entered into a written option contract with the plaintiffs, the contract, a copy of which was attached to the petition as follows: "That For And In Consideration Of The Sum Of One Hundred Fifty and no/100 ($150.00) Dollars, the party of the first part conveys to the party of the second part an option to buy the following described property for the sum of $1,677.00 Dollars, to-wit: [description omitted]. Time is the essence of this contract, and should party of the second part decide to exercise this option to buy, the sum of $1,377.00 of the purchase money must be paid in cash and three (3) postdated Bank checks in the sum of $50.00 each dated October 1st, 1962, and due and payable on the 1st day of November and December, 1962, and January 1st, 1963, payable to J. H. Bruce, by Noon on October 1st, 1962. In the event the parties of the second part fail to exercise this option by noon, October 1st, 1962, said second parties forfeit said $150.00 paid herein and party of the first part shall have and own said $150.00 as liquidated damages. Should parties of the second part exercise this option then the said $150.00 paid herein shall be credited to the purchase price of said lands." The petition further alleged that the plaintiffs on August 29, 1962, through their attorney, exercised the above option and notified the defendant by letter that they were ready to complete the purchase of the subject land and would pay the balance of the purchase price upon the execution and delivery of a warranty deed conveying the described property; that by letter of August 31, 1962, the defendant through his attorney notified the plaintiffs that the defendant was willing and able to convey the property to plaintiffs, but that the consideration would be $2,174 rather than the consideration set out in the option contract; that on September 11, 1962, the plaintiffs notified the defendant by letter that they were ready to complete the sale on the basis of the written option, but that if the defendant did not want to comply with this contract, to please refund the $150 down payment; and that again on September 14, 1962, the plaintiffs by letter asked the defendant to notify them whether he was ready to proceed under the terms of the written contract or to refund the $150 paid (copies of all of these letters being attached to the petition as exhibits). It was further alleged that the defendant failed and refused to carry out his written contract or to refund the $150 paid for the option, that the land which is the subject matter of the option is now worth $2,174; and that the defendant acted in bad faith and caused plaintiffs unnecessary trouble and expense of $300 for counsel fees. The plaintiffs in count 1 of the petition sought to recover damages for breach of contract in the amount of $1,097, plus interest from August 31, 1962, in the amount of $153.58. In count 2 the plaintiffs sought to recover the sum of $150, which the defendant refused to return plus attorneys' fees in the amount of $300.
The defendant demurred generally to the petition as a whole and filed special demurrers to the paragraph of each count of the petition in which the plaintiffs sought to recover attorneys' fees for bad faith on the ground that the allegations of the petition did not show that the plaintiffs were entitled to recover attorneys' fees.
1. It is contended by the defendant that the trial court properly sustained the general demurrer to the petition since the facts alleged therein did not show that the plaintiffs had made an unconditional tender of the purchase price in cash and by three post-dated checks as provided in the option contract. This contention is without merit.
Count 1 set forth a cause of action to recover damages for breach of contract and count 2 set forth a cause of action to recover damages for money had and received and the trial court erred in sustaining the general demurrer to the petition. Pritchett v. Dodd, 112 Ga. App. 453, supra; Woodruff v. Camp, 101 Ga. App. 124 (1) (112 SE2d 831).
2. The trial court also erred in sustaining the special demurrers to the petition. The allegations of the petition which disclosed that the defendant not only breached the terms of the written option contract by demanding more money for the subject property, but that he also refused to return the $150 paid to him as consideration for the option contract, were in our opinion sufficient to authorize the conclusion that the defendant was guilty of bad faith and presented a question for the jury on the issue of the recovery of attorneys' fees. Code 20-1404; Chambers & Co. v. Harper, 83 Ga. 382 (2) (9 SE 717); Williams v. Harris, 207 Ga. 576 (3) (63 SE2d 386); Bowman v. Poole, 212 Ga. 261 (3) (91 SE2d 770); Whitaker v. Creedon, 97 Ga. App. 320, 329 (103 SE2d 175).
Judgment reversed. Bell, P. J., and Eberhardt, J., concur.
Reed & Dunn, Robert J. Reed, for appellee.
Hammond Johnson, Jr., for appellant.
SUBMITTED APRIL 4, 1966 -- DECIDED APRIL 13, 1966.
Friday May 22 20:28 EDT


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