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Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Defendant payor entered into a contract with plaintiff payee and promised to pay a sum of money, on demand, in gold coin. When the payee demanded payment, the payor refused to pay in gold coin, but tendered United States notes. The payee sought recovery and the District Court for the City and County of San Francisco (California) awarded the payee judgment, to be paid in gold coin. The payor sought review.

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Overview

The payor claimed that, because Acts of Congress made United States notes lawful money in the payment of private debts were the paramount law, such currency was adequate for the discharge of all debts that were to be satisfied by the payment of money. The payee claimed that the Specific Contract Law, Cal. Laws of 1863, p. 687, did not conflict with those Acts of Congress, but governed and required the payment of this debt in gold coin. The court found that the Specific Contract Law provided that, in an action on a contract for the payment of money that was made payable in a specified kind of money, the judgment should be made payable in the kind of money specified in the contract. The court held that Congress did not intend to interfere with and to prevent people from contracting for a particular kind of money when it made United States notes lawful money. The court also found that the Specific Contract Law permitted the specific enforcement of contracts and did not conflict with those Acts of Congress that made United States notes lawful money. Thus, the court affirmed the judgment that payment of the debt must follow the language of the contract and be made in gold coin.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment that specifically enforced the parties’ contract that called for payment of the debt in gold coin

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