U.S. Supreme Court COCHRAN v. CUMMINGS, 4 U.S. 250 (1802)
4 U.S. 250 (Dall.)
Cochran et al.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
December Term, 1802
CASE, for goods sold and delivered. There was a special defence, that the defendant had sold, and conveyed to the plaintiffs, a quantity of land in the county of Northumberland, in satisfaction of their demand; and the deed of conveyance, dated in June 1799, was produced. But the plaintiffs insisted, 1st. That they took the conveyance only as a collateral security: and, 2dly. That they were imposed upon by the defendant, as to the quality of the land.
On the first point, the evidence was contradictory; and the COURT left it, implicitly, to be decided by the jury.
On the second point, it was proved, that the defendant had represented the land as very valuable; saying, that it was such as would sell, in two or three years, for a price, from two to six dollars an acre: but, in fact, the land was a part of a mountain, commonly called 'Jack's Second Mountain;' so rude, that it could not be cultivated; and so steep, that it was inaccessible, even to take off the wood, without incalculable expense and labour. In the charge of the COURT, on this point, it was said,
By SHIPPEN, Chief Justice:
Wherever there is a gross misrepresentation of facts, relating to the subject of a contract, the contract is fraudulent and void. If, therefore, the jury shall be of opinion, that such a misrepresentation was made, in the present instance; they should consider the conveyance as no payment, although the plaintiffs agreed, under the deception, to accept it in satisfection; and the verdict must be for damages to the whole amount of the demand.
Verdict, accordingly, for the plaintiffs' whole demand.
Ingersoll, and Heatly, for the plaintiffs.
M. Levy, and Porter, for the defendant.